The PEdAL ED Hikari jacket is a pretty impressive bit of kit, with a good fit and useful features. The excellent after-dark visibility and the pockets are plus points, making it more versatile than other expensive waterproof shells. It's not as packable or quite as breathable as something made out of Gore's Shakedry fabric, so if you're looking for minimum pack size that's still the benchmark, but the Hikari is still one to consider.
This is a proper full-membrane, taped-seam waterproof, but a mix of 15% Elastane in the fabric means there's a fair bit of stretch. That means you can get away with a fairly close fit, but even if you don't the nature of the fabric means it's not noisy in the wind. PEdAL ED rates the material as waterproof to a 10,000mm hydrostatic head, which means it'll cope with some serious weather. I've taken the Hikari jacket out in properly filthy conditions, the sort where you'd only ever bother to leave the house if you had a coat to test. In constant heavy rain for two hours the jacket held up well: around the shoulders the fabric started to saturate a bit but overall I was plenty comfortable.
Breathability is good too. Working hard in the rain gives you two opportunities to get wet, from water penetrating and from sweat being unable to escape. Riding hard in a downpour I didn't stay entirely dry, but the Hikari performed pretty well. If you go down a couple of notches from full gas it copes better; riding at a 75 per cent effort for a long time in wet conditions is about the sweet spot. Given that the jacket has been designed with races like the Transcontinental and the Silk Road Mountain Race in mind, it's perhaps not a surprise that it's best at this kind of sub-maximal pace.
Overall, I wouldn't say it was as breathable as Gore's Shakedry fabric, which is currently the benchmark. It doesn't pack down quite as small as a Shakedry jacket either, but at 265g it's pretty light, and you can roll it up small enough to stuff in a jersey pocket, so it's a good choice on days when the weather is changeable.
The Hikari has been designed to be visible and useful. There's a reflective print across the top half of the jacket front and the lower half of the back, which makes it stand out well in car headlights. The grey jacket I tested doesn't feel that visible on a murky day but there's also a red version which would definitely be my preference.
The jacket has two sizeable mesh pockets on the back. They're big enough for my well-filled Sticky Pod and my phone and few snacks, although if you don't have a waterproof phone (or snacks) you'll probably want to find another place for it as the contents of the pockets are pretty exposed to the elements. Still, it's great to have pockets: I struggle with waterproofs that don't have them, especially on long rides. I would have preferred the pockets to be split into three rather than two, as I find that generally works better, but it wasn't a big issue.
Sizing-wise, I'm 1.89m and 92kg, with an 86cm waist and a 107cm chest. I wore an XL jacket and it fitted me more or less perfectly. That's somewhat at odds with PEdAL ED's own sizing chart, which suggests I'm nearer the bottom end of Large. Anyway, it doesn't size up particularly big, so if you think you're between sizes it's probably best to err on the large side. (It's not me in the photos.)
The sleeves are nice and long with a simple elasticated cuff, and the bottom hem is elasticated too, with a wide silicone gripper. The neck is snug and not too high, with a garage to keep the zip from rubbing on your skin. There's no double zip so you can't unzip from the bottom, which is sometimes useful for venting.
Let's talk about money. Over two hundred quid is a lot of anyone's money. The Hikari is mostly going toe to toe with a range of jackets made from Gore's Shakedry fabric; Gore makes some itself, and also sells it to other manufacturers, Castelli for instance, which uses it for its Idro jacket, and 7Mesh. You can get high quality waterproof shells for a lot less: dhb's Aeron Lab Ultralight Waterproof Jacket is £150 and an excellent performer.
All of those four jackets scored 9/10. The Hikari overall isn't quite up to the same level in terms of the fabric performance, or the small pack size. But it does outstrip them all in regards to all-conditions visibility, especially if you get the red one, and practicality with its pockets. It's a slightly different beast in that regard, and it performs very well as a packable shell for distance riding, especially if you're going to be out after dark.
Practical and packable long-distance waterproof with added visibility
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road.cc test report
Make and model: PEdAL ED Hikari Reflective Shell Jacket
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the jacket 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?
PEdAL ED says:
WHY WE DESIGNED IT
When designing the Hikari Jacket we had two objectives in mind: to make you visible "our way", like no other reflective jacket before and to keep you dry during your winter rides at night or during the day. This is why we developed a new idea, inspired by city lights at night. The all-over reflective print on both sides of the jacket, sticked to the most visible parts of the upper body, is to be seen clearly by car lights. But this wasn't enough for us. This is why we combined the new reflective technology with a totally waterproof rain jacket, with internal taped seams and two big mesh cargo pockets. This jacket was tested in the hardest conditions during the Transcontinental Race and the Silk Road Mountain Race and turned out to be an essential item for any time you need to be seen, either it be in long distance riding, commuting or training.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
From PEdAL ED:
All over reflective print, 10.000 w/c waterproof, Taped seams, Two back cargo pockets
85% Polyamide 15% Elastane , 100% Polyurethane
Sizing doesn't really correspond to the chart on PEdAL ED's website; it sizes up a bit small.
£236 isn't pocket money, for sure. It's up against some really impressive jackets at this price.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes fine, no sign of the reflective print peeling.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a good combination of visibility and practicality.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good protection from the elements, pretty breathable, pockets are useful.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Expensive, not as breathable or packable as a Shakedry jacket.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Gore Shakedry jackets are the obvious competitors, and they're broadly the same price.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? For longer-distance riding where I'd want the after-dark visibility and practicality of pockets, yes.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Not quite as good in terms of raw fabric performance as some of its competitors, but still really good and more versatile thanks to the design.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
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, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.