Made almost entirely from highly effective Reflect360 material, the Proviz Performance jacket is probably the best way to stay visible on your bike without looking like a French economic activist.
I tested the Proviz Reflect360 Performance jacket's more utilitarian sibling – the Nightrider – a few weeks back, and despite it having a quite impressive array of talents, one thing that was missing was a certain 'wow factor'. In use, as an effective commuting jacket it was nigh-on faultless, but it also felt a little bit too much like a traditional high-vis garment.
That's certainly not a charge that can be levelled at the Reflect360 Performance jacket, which – save for areas of black mesh at the top of the back, sides and under the arms – is constructed entirely from the Reflect360 wonder material. This looks like fairly demure grey fabric in daylight conditions – old-school lurid high-vis yellow it ain't – but it reflects like a beacon with just a bit of light at night-time.
In fact, the Reflect360 material seems more brilliant than ever. When Proviz launched its first Reflect360 products some years ago, the technology – minuscule reflective glass beads embedded in the fabric – was a breakthrough and the results were impressive. But it generally required direct light to bounce off it to provide its most remarkable effect. This modern Reflect360 fabric seems to have gone one stage further and can pick up and reflect almost any ambient light – it's quite incredible.
As I've mentioned, the great advantage of Reflect360 fabric is that you can wear this jacket during daylight without looking like a high-vis road warrior. That said, with this 'Performance' version you can't hide the fact that you're a cyclist. It's cut perfectly for road riding or fast commuting, with a nice balance of form fitting, stretch and a deep drop tail. The fitted waist is very effective for keeping it in place and it's very comfortable without being too roomy. Essentially, you can wear it when you want to get somewhere fast without feeling like you're making too much of compromise in the safety-to-speed stakes.
In many ways, Proviz has thought sensibly about who the likely owners of the Reflect360 Performance jacket will be and tailored its talents to suit. It's very light and packable, almost like a rain cape with night-time benefits (if that doesn't sound too seedy). Actually, it's probably more apt to think of it as a nightcape with some modest weatherproofing benefits.
Proviz doesn't overstate these talents – in fact, on its website it doesn't even mentioning any wet weather ability – but in my time with the jacket, I found the Reflect360 material to be very good at protecting against a shower (the black mesh section on the upper back less so!). Meanwhile, it's also a fairly decent windproof barrier, although this is somewhat undermined by the fact that there is no other insulation. In cold weather, you will need to use it as a last layer over proper winter garments. Don't be concerned about moisture build-up, though: because of all that mesh, breathability is excellent.
There's little to moan about in terms of build either. It's all put together sturdily enough without being over-engineered, and there are the expected details, such as a zip garage and soft collar. I slightly criticised the Proviz Nightrider jacket for not feeling like a premium garment (to be fair, at £74.99 the Nightrider's asking price isn't premium territory either). However, the Reflect360 Performance jacket has a much more satisfying sense of quality and specification.
Ironically, part of that might come from the fact that Proviz has kept the spec so simple, with no pockets to be found anywhere. That could appear to be a negative to some cyclists, but I think for the kind of riders this jacket is aimed at – road riders and fast commuters who want to be seen when caught out in the dark – it won't cause undue concern. They'll far more appreciate the benefits of easy storage and light weight.
Because of this nicely directed focus at a specific market and function, the Reflect360 Performance's asking price of £99.99 seems perfectly fair. (The PEdAL ED Hikari jacket is £236.) This is a specialised garment, aimed at a specific target market, and which does its job very well. If you want a lightweight, packable jacket to keep you visible in the dark and which won't hamper your performance, this is an option you can't miss. And thankfully, neither can other road users.
An excellent jacket for roadies and fast commuters who want to be seen when caught out in the dark
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Proviz Reflect360 Men's Performance Cycling 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?
A highly-reflective outer layer aimed at performance cyclists.
Proviz says: "New for the 2018/2019 season, the Reflect360 performance cycling jacket is designed to go over the top of your regular cycling gear when you are out on the roads when it is dark or when the light quality is poor and vehicles have their lights on and you wish to be more easily seen.
"We have positioned our retro-reflective material across the whole of the front of the jacket, the tops of the arms, across the shoulders and the lower back in order to give you a huge amount of surface for headlights to reflect off you. We have built in highly breathable panelling across the main volume of the back and under the arms to allow heat to escape.
"The design of the Reflect360 Performance cycling jacket is for those customers who require a lightweight outer layer to enhance their visibility in addition to normal wet weather gear. We have focused on keeping the design simple and minimalist so that it can be put on as soon as the light fades and you wish to defy the darkness!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Manufactured using Reflect360 material for 360-degree reflectivity
Rear, side and underarm moisture wicking polyester mesh
Zip guard and lock zip
Low-profile rear spray guard
Very nicely made.
Excellent reflectivity, very good breathability, good windproofing and even a bit of rainproofing on arms, chest and lower back.
Looks sturdy without being over-engineered.
Considering Proviz doesn't mention any waterproofing ability, I was surprised at how good it was at keeping arms, chest and even lower back dry. Upper back is a hostage to the elements, though, with a big expanse of mesh.
All that mesh works a treat at preventing moisture build-up.
Snug fit – in a good way.
Fine – I'm an XL normally and this XL fitted me perfectly.
Pretty light, although we weighed it a little heavier than Proviz's website states.
Very good – you hardly know it's even there.
Not super-cheap, but very good value for a fairly specialised garment.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Slightly trickier than some – handwash only and life expectancy of only 25 wash cycles. Look after it!
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well – its reflective abilities are superb and its general practical performance surpassed expectations.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Reflect360 material is obviously impressive, but the comfortable fit was surprisingly pleasing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I needed to use more layers with it than I expected – it isn't too warm.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Pretty fairly. It's more expensive than the £75 Proviz Nightrider Jacket but it also feels more specialised. The PEdAL ED Hikari jacket is £236.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Proviz Reflect360 is excellent at what it sets out to do. It's highly visible at night; it's lightweight and easily packable; and it even offers a little bit of weatherproofing. If it was just a little warmer, it'd be even better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure