The Proviz Sportive Convertible Men's Cycling Jacket/Gilet is a clever convertible softshell garment. Its weatherproofing is very good, breathability less so when the temperature rises; it's resisted some steady deluges for 90 minutes or so, but couldn't keep pace with my own tempo when the mercury wandered beyond 9°C, and especially when wearing polyamide/polyester baselayers.
Proviz claims the Sportive is usable year-round, but I'd say three seasons – although it could work in gilet guise on late summer evenings. It's a softshell design, boasting a breathability figure of 15,000gm/24hr, typical of three-layer technical shells such as dhb's Flashlight Force, and waterproofing of 7,000mm.
Given these figures, I wasn't surprised by the material's ability to withstand persistent rainfall. I had wondered if rain might find a way inside, via the zippered shoulders, but to date this has proved unfounded. Everything connects and converts reassuringly well.
The joins seem to overlap very convincingly, preventing sleet, and some surprisingly persistent rain from entering the via the neck area. I think this may be helped by the posture assumed cruising on the hoods or wider flared drops, one that encourages water to roll away, rather than sneak in.
Really heavy showers only began to tax the fabric after about 70 minutes, and although the outer was quite saturated after another 20 minutes, it didn't impact on my comfort.
Moisture transfer in milder conditions (10-12°C) is middling. I would still be feeling rather clammy after 25 minutes of riding at an average speed of 18mph, at which point the fabric started wicking, but even with the sleeves removed, this faint clamminess improved but never completely vanished.
This was particularly apparent when wearing polyamide and more basic polyester baselayers. Dropping the front zip a little helps – something I'm pleased to report is relatively faff-free in thinner, full-finger gloves (adding a black cable tie improved it further).
Its performance with merino layers is much better, although that familiar trace dampness around shoulders, chest and armpits never completely disappears.
In cooler temperatures (3-8°C) I welcomed the additional warmth and didn't feel 'boiled in the bag' after 30 minutes at 100rpm, riding my fixed gear bike, though temperature tolerance is very personal. With the mercury at 8°C and upwards, I felt perfectly ambient in gilet mode and with a middleweight baselayer beneath.
Detailing is pretty good throughout. There's retro-reflective piping and logos in the gilet section, and the detachable sleeves also feature a fluoro yellow stripe, impregnated with retro-reflective chevrons.
There's an aesthetically slick zipper garage at the front, while around the back we have the traditional three pocket 'terrace'. The pockets are generous, providing ample room for bigger smartphones, 750ml bottles, bananas, tubes, and so on, and when belting along unmade roads there's no hint of anything being ejected.
The medium on test graced my 181cm, 70kg frame perfectly, even the torso (I'm proportionately short in the body, compared with most men), with no hint of gathering or bunching when alternating between drops and hoods. (It's not me in the photos.)
Proviz suggests it can be worn atop a mid-layer, which is true provided you're prepared to stick with a short-sleeve jersey over a long-sleeve baselayer. Going the long-sleeve, winter-weight jersey route required that I remove the sleeves, otherwise they would bunch up and gather uncomfortably.
Overall, Proviz has created a useful convertible garment that covers most of the bases. There's some trade-off in terms of breathability, which is less of a problem during colder weather, but could be improved given the year-round design brief.
Generally well-executed convertible jacket-cum-gilet but breathability could be better
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Proviz Sportive Convertible Men's Cycling Jacket/Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Proviz says, "The Proviz Sportive Convertible Jacket is a high-spec softshell jacket that easily converts in to a gilet when the riding conditions demand a change."
No quibble with this description but the fabric's limitations become more apparent when conditions turn milder but too wet to forgo sleeves.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Proviz says, "Made from triple layered, highly breathable (15,000gm/24hr) and waterproof (7,000mm) four-way stretch fabrics."
Generally good, relative to the design brief and claims made.
Washes nicely. Zips are of high quality and fabric has resisted general wear and tear (including brushes with thorny foliage).
Comfortable in the main but sleeves could prove a trickier combination with winter-weight long-sleeve mid-layers.
Medium graced my 181cm, 70kg frame perfectly.
Generally good, especially in temperatures between 3 and 6°C. However, wicking prowess doesn't match waterproofing beyond double figures. This is particularly apparent when paired with synthetic baselayers.
Good, considering you are getting two generally capable garments in one.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy to care for. Responded very well to machine washing at 30/40 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, this jacket-cum-jersey and gilet does both jobs pretty well, though waterproofing is better than breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent quality, easily converted, resists persistent rainfall surprisingly well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wicking prowess wasn't on par with weather resistance.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Competitive, when compared with shell type technical jackets, boasting similar numbers for waterproofing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth a closer look if they wanted a convertible garment.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Meets the design brief and manufacturer claims well, in the main, though breathability doesn't match waterproofing on milder days.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)