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The Lusso Stripes Gilet takes the basic concept of keeping wind at bay and turns it into a technical and performance tour de force, for reasonable money. You'll be doing some pocket-swapping, but what price silence?
Hailing from Manchester, close to the Peak District and not far from the Irish sea, Lusso knows a thing or five about changeable weather. I've previously reviewed a number of Lusso items with a bent towards the damper end of the cycling environmental spectrum, and found them eminently capable. The Stripes gilet picks up that venerable heritage of preparedness, looks outside at scudding clouds over a wavering garden shed barometer and says, 'Let's be having it then'.
At 116g the Stripes gilet isn't the lightest, but then it's packing three full-size back pockets plus a fourth zipped one, a silicone gripper hem, underarm mesh panels, zip garage and a lazer-cut front hem. All that tech adds weight and bulk, so this isn't the scrunch-to-a-squash-ball ultralight you're looking for. What it is, is fit for purpose.
Lusso claims the Stripes Gilet is 'thermal'. I'd argue if it's not fluffy it's not thermal, but your definition may vary. While we can dither over 'thermal' it's certainly utterly impervious to wind, and does a pretty good job against a decent passing shower to boot.
Where the gilet excels for me is in the fit – it's like the proverbial glove on my 74kg frame. With a 38in chest and 33in waist the Medium's sizing is bang on. This means there is zero flap, at any speed. None. Silence. Which is quite some achievement in a class of garment noted for its flappability when made from thin, water-resistant fabrics.
The high neck is again very snug, and the arm elastics are tight but not restrictive on the bike, keeping breezes at bay, while the underarm mesh panels allow a bit of venting. Although the rear isn't a mesh panel, I never felt like autumnal Scottish Highland temperatures couldn't be controlled by use of the zip. This probably isn't the gilet for a warmer day – there are lighter, more vented options around with their own specificity. As the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing – and I'd say you need more than one gilet.
All that snugness and wind-cheatery means if you leave anything beyond a fiver in your jersey pockets you'll notice. The Stripes' pockets mirror those of a high-end jersey, making it less a pop-it-on-pop-it-off garment and more one you'd wear for a few hours at a stretch, regulating temperature using the zip. You're best to transfer the contents of your jersey to the gilet and back again, those pockets being deep enough for an iPhone 5 in a waterproof case on the outside, and a tool roll with tube/mini-pump in the centre. The gilet itself rolls up into a jersey pocket with a bit of attention, but the volume means there's not room for anything else.
The highly contrasted look works for me, being visible, racy and flattering. There's no fewer than six Lusso brandings, but being white-on-black they don't look too out of place and it's good to see Lusso confident enough to step out of what was historically quite muted designs.
I'm rarely stuck for critique of a product, but the Lusso Stripes Gilet has me beat. It's packed with tech, performs faultlessly, looks the business, fits in a pocket and at RRP is mid-range in price for the performance. Plus it's made in the UK, with a heritage stretching back 25 years. The most beautiful cycling products do one job and do it very well, while not suffering in other aspects. You may not find the print quite to your liking, but just close your eyes and listen to the sound of no fabric flapping. Golden.
Packed with tech, a super-snug fit, and looking the business – this gilet is an excellent choice
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Stripes Gillet
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?
It's for people wanting protection from wind and a bit of rain, with no flap and aero performance.
The Lusso Gillet is designed for all the year use, as we can experience four seasons in one day in Manchester the rainy city.
When temperatures drops its windproof, protects the core part of your body. Also, with the membrane fabric it protects against rain but still remains breathable. High neck design featuring a full YKK front zip including chin guard to keep out the chilly wind.
If the temperature rises it will easily fold away and fit in a rear pocket. It has four pockets(including one zipped) for your essential like phone, wallet or keys
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lusso lists these features:
* 4 Rear Pocket (1 zipped)
* Lightweight & Fold away
* Made in UK
* Machine Washable
Feels solid quality.
Early days, but it still looks like new.
It's not the lightest, but features equal weight.
Snug as a bug.
£80 isn't cheap – it's on par with the best, and fortunately the price is justified.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, and still looks like new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit. It's perfect.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
I can't fault it; the price is at or better than similar offerings at the performance point, and it looks snazzy. If it was £20 cheaper it'd be five stars, but don't let that put you off.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling