The Kaze Access vest from Japanese brand Pedal ED matches the styling of the Kaido jersey and it fulfils the role of the gilet well – providing excellent protection from the wind and rain for your torso.
The "Access" tag refers to the unusual arrangement at the rear, where there are horizontal slits to give access to the jersey pockets beneath, and a pair of useful sized external mesh pockets.
Pedal ED has used a waterproof laminate material for the whole of this gilet – there's no breathable back panel like on some gilets. The laminate is a similar type of construction to that used in the X-Bionic and Tenn gilets but more substantial than either. It comprises three layers with the light grey woven part on outside, a similar black woven layer on the inside, and transparent membrane between. It feels pretty durable and hardwearing, and folds up to fit fairly easily in a jersey pocket.
Protection from the wind is excellent – on fast descents on a chilly morning, my torso was completely shielded from blasts of icy air. It does a decent job of keeping your chest dry in showers too. Although the fabric is waterproof, the seams aren't taped, but a gilet is only ever going to give partial protection from the rain so this isn't really an issue. The downside of using a waterproof material is that breathability isn't as good as with a softshell material, but again I'd argue that this is less critical than for a jacket.
When using the Access vest on a warmer day, I did find there was some build-up of moisture around my chest, but this could quickly be dissipated by opening the zip. It's a good quality affair, with a rubberised puller and a flap to protect your neck at the top. On cooler days, even when riding at tempo, I didn't have a problem with humidity.
The fit is on the small side. Per the sizing table, I am a medium, but the supplied medium is very close-fitting – such that I could really only fit a single layer beneath it. The fabric has just enough stretch so that it didn't feel constrictive, but it was a little surprising – the other Pedal ED stuff we've tested hasn't exactly been race fit.
Pedal ED chose the name Access to reflect the arrangement of pockets and access slits at the rear, and it works rather well. There are two horizontal openings positioned to allow easy access to your jersey pockets, with small flaps to stop water running into them. Below this are a couple of large external pockets made from mesh. To my mind, this gives you the best of both worlds – things that need to be kept in the dry are still accessible without needing to hoick up the gilet, and the external mesh pockets are ideal for gels or anything you need to stash quickly without stopping, like arm warmers. You could also stick a race number in the mesh pockets, although your jersey wouldn't be visible through the gilet unlike some clear race vests.
On the front there's a zipped pocket similar to that on the Kaido jersey. It's just big enough for my phone (Sony Xperia Z3 Compact) but wouldn't fit larger devices. The zip isn't a waterproof one, so if you need to keep something dry you'd be better using jersey pockets (or a waterproof cover).
As elsewhere in the Pedal ED range, the styling is discreet with very subtle branding. I think it looks quite smart, although I'd probably opt for the black version as I found that the grey outer layer tended to show dirt rather readily. A quick pass through the washing machine on a cool setting was enough to have it looking new again, though.
It has the same tiny reflective details as on the Kaido – the sewn-in label on the rear, and the tiny white square on the breast pocket.
At £72 it's more expensive than a lot of gilets from mainstream manufacturers but on a par with or less than offerings from the higher-end niche brands. You can certainly get a similar level of performance for less, but I like the design of the Access vest and I think it represents reasonable value for money.
One final detail that I found interesting – the label on the inside says "Manufacturered by John Boultbee" and gives an address in Italy. John Boultbee was the founder of the Brooks England company, and the two companies have what Brooks describes as a "capital tie-up agreement". The address is that of Brooks' Italian branch office.
Quality gilet offering great protection from the elements, with good stowage arrangements at the rear
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pedal ED Kaze Access Vest
Size tested: Medium
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?
The Access Vest is made for those riders who like to use their rear jersey pockets. In addition to its own rear pockets, you can "reach through" the Access to 'access' the jersey pockets of a Kaido Longsleeve or any other jersey layered underneath. Made from stretchable waterproof and windproof material, and detailed with a useful chest pocket and reflective details.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windproof & WaterProof Membrane
- Chest Pocket
- Made in Italy
Neatly put together from good quality materials. Clever design combining access to jersey pockets and external mesh pockets.
Laminated material gives total protection from the wind. It's not breathable, which is less of an issue in a gilet than a jacket.
The laminate is a heavier weight than some similar fabrics, and should last well. The pale grey outer layer tends to pick up dirt, but washes out ok.
Per the size chart, I'm a medium, but this medium was an unusually close fit – I could really only fit one layer underneath it. Pedal ED doesn't market this as a race-fit gilet, so this was a bit surprising. Size up unless you like things tight.
It's not a superlight gilet, but neither will it be what's holding you back on the hills.
I relished the total wind blocking on cold mornings, but it would sometimes get slightly clammy when climbing.
For a niche brand, this isn't as expensive as some offerings out there, but you can certainly get a similar level performance from other brands for less.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes up well – I found that the tightly woven outer laminate got grubby in this light grey colour.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does what a gilet should do – keeps your torso warm and dry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent wind proofing. The combination of access to jersey pockets and mesh pockets works really well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A softshell gilet is more breathable – it's not a big deal, unlike with a jacket, but I sometimes found moisture built up inside. Sizing is a little on the small side – some may need to size up.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Impressive protection against wind and showers (for a gilet), and I really liked the pocket/access arrangement at the rear. It's better than merely good (7) but not quite exceptional (9).
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.