This Wind Vest is a top quality garment from POC's Fondo range, but it comes at a high price.
Swedish cycle brand POC has become well known for its style in recent years, helped no doubt by Canadian pro Ryder Hesjedal's choice of eyewear. It's a style that has reached the company's Fondo range of clothing, and continues with the Wind Vest.
In this navy blue colour, complete with the reflective POC branding on the tail as well as reflective ribbing around the key pocket on the front left, it's tasteful, sleek, streamlined and goes with any jersey colour underneath.
The front of the Wind Vest is lined with a windproof fabric that performs very well indeed, blocking out wind almost completely. Thanks to it being so thin, you do lose a bit of body heat in simple heat transfer – but this only served to help me regulate my own body heat when riding at tempo.
This regulation is assisted by a full mesh back, which only changes into a full cotton-polyester fabric at the tail, to help protect your backside from splashes. The downside to this is it can be susceptible to snagging at coffee stops and the like when you lean back, but if you take care, as you would to avoid catching your bib shorts, then it's fine. Overall, then, the cooling aspect is very good while protecting you from headwinds.
Weighing in at 113g, this is one of the most lightweight wind vests I've ever come across, and that means its packability is superb. It packs down easily into one jersey pocket when not needed, almost as well as a rain cape, and to be honest I forgot I was wearing it half the time, anyway.
That's also because the cut is extremely comfortable and slim fitting. Like the Fondo Splash Jacket I tested recently, it has great length in the back, doesn't flap about, and has some stretch built into it and the flat seams. This means that even if you're an odd shape, following your usual size almost guarantees a comfortable fit. Incidentally, the windproof fabric is very similar to that used in its Splash jacket, so you do get a spot of water resistance here too.
Hems are well proportioned at the waist and arms – they aren't too tight and elasticated – and the neckline is nicely tapered to stop unwanted draughts down your back. Couple in the aforementioned zip pocket on the front for keys (I certainly couldn't fit a mobile phone in there), and there's even a modicum of practicality integrated too.
It's hard to spot a fault with the Fondo Wind Vest, frankly. The only thing I'd point out is that the main zip doesn't quite feel sturdy enough to safely avoid tangling or jamming. Tugging on it as you ride along doesn't guarantee it'll undo or do up smoothly, and for such a great design in other departments, that's a real shame. It's understandable to keep zips light and small to improve packability, but I do feel POC could have incorporated a better one here. The saving grace is if you take care, this can be overcome – and the fabric on the front does seem resistant to tearing, so if it does become jammed, at least you'll not terminally damage the vest.
It's one dark mark against an otherwise fantastic wind vest, but does mean that the asking price of £100 does pinch. If I'm honest, had the zip been easier to use I'd even consider this, if not good value, at least acceptable considering the performance and style otherwise. Certainly I'm always willing to spend hard earned money on kit that's really great.
That said, if you want a top quality wind vest with only one (relatively) minor drawback, then the POC Fondo Wind Vest is well worth your consideration.
A top quality gilet with only one flaw to speak of – but it comes at a high price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: POC Fondo Wind Vest
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
POC says: "Made from 100% Polyester, the POC Fondo Wind Vest consists of a windproof fabric that's highly breathable and with a reflective logo at the back for improved visibility, makes this product incredibly versatile. The Fondo Wind Vest can be easily stowed in your jersey pocket when the weather can't make its mind up, and with stretchy elastic armholes and elastic hem, a comfortable and close fit is always provided.
"4-way stretch fabric at the back of the vest ensures material doesn't ride up when down on the drops, keeping you as aerodynamic and comfortable as possible. The full-length zipper with Fondo puller is not only stylish, but allows you to maintain a solid body temperature throughout your ride and on those long, gruelling climbs. With an added card pocket at the front with a reflective print, you'll never be left short when you stop off for a slice of cake on the club run, get a puncture on training rides or for just storing your phone."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Windproof and water resistant, four-way stretch front fabric
- Elasticated hems
- Mesh back for extra breathability
- Slim-to-race cut
- Reflective logo on tail
- Small pocket for keys
It's made beautifully - but the lightweight nature does mean it can feel fragile.
One of the best I've ever come across, especially for sheer breathability.
Need to take care to avoid snagging the back on wooden garden furniture due to the lightweight mesh construction. Otherwise, good.
The stretch fabric is great, moulding to your body comfortably without restriction. I love it.
Sizes up as you would expect, if not slightly on the small side - I usually go for a large in tops and this was perfect.
You barely notice you're wearing it.
Four-way stretch fabric and breathability really do their job here.
I can't say £100 is good value, but the performance overall goes some way to justifying that price tag.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
As with its Splash jacket cousin, it comes back nicely so long as you treat it well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, breathability, comfort and style.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The zip. It just doesn't do up or undo with as much ease as I'd like on the move, occasionally snagging.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I would, because, zip aside, it really is a top quality piece of kit.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's rare to come across a garment that I like to ride in as much as this. For that, it rates as 'exceptional' to me.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding