Neon Velo's Lightweight Gilet is a packable windproof layer that is easy to whip on and off. The wind protection from the front makes it perfect for cold descents, while the back is very breathable, so this is one for the spring and summer. It’s available in black as well as this navy.
- Pros: Very packable, lightweight, breathable rear, windproof front
- Cons: Nothing other than the price, really
Gilets are great, adding a ton of potentially vital protection while still being lightweight and compact. There have been several times in mountainous areas where a gilet has made the difference between being dangerously cold and just being a bit chilly.
Living up to its name, the Lightweight Gilet tips the scales at just 82g. What you also get with that lack of weight is lack of bulk, and this makes the gilet incredibly packable. I found that it only took up half a pocket and stowed easily beside my pump.
Putting it on is very simple, even on the move. The double zipper is large and easy to locate, with the oversized teeth parts joining smoothly. It's the same story for taking it off, so you can remove it as you're approaching a climb.
The gilet is made up of two main materials. The main section that covers your core is very thin but windproof; this material also covers the collar and top section of the back.
Mesh fabric is used on the majority of the back and this effectively aids breathability.
As the mesh is softer, it is used on the inside of the collar. The hems around the shoulders and waist are finished with elastic to keep them close to the body.
That leads me on to the fit. The photos are of the small, but I went for the extra small as I prefer an aero fit to stop the gilet flapping too much on a descent. While there is no stretch in the windproof material, there is in the side panels and back, meaning that even with this tight fit I didn't find my chest restricted. Usually, I'd wear a small so go a size down if you want that aero fit.
The stretch in the lower back means that it's easy to pull the hem up and access jersey pockets underneath. Alternatively, the double zipper gives you the option of undoing the bottom of the gilet to get at pockets. Both methods work well.
The quality is really good here, everything is stitched together perfectly, and all the features work well, with no gimmicks. I really can't see anything that I'd change and it's been brilliant for the early spring rides when the sun hasn't fully committed to being warm just yet.
It needs to be good quality too, because the price is at the higher end of the spectrum. You can go a lot cheaper – dhb's Aeron Lightweight Windslam gilet is just £50, though I'd say the Neon Velo fit is better if you're looking for aero gains. You can easily spend more, though, with options from Poc and Chapeau! coming in over £100.
I'd suggest thinking about what you really want from a gilet. There are thermal options, but for me this Neon Velo is nigh-on perfect: it packs away easily, provides just enough warmth for cold descents and is super-easy to whip on and off. Combine that with very nice styling and I'd say this is very good indeed.
Great fit, easily packable and great windproofing – the only real issue is the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Neon Velo Lightweight Gilet Navy
Size tested: XS
Tell us what the product is for
Neon Velo says: "Designed by our own pro team riders. Lightweight, windproof, packable and Italian made. Our wind resistant gilet is the perfect accessory for those long mountain descents or changeable spring/summer conditions.
"Easy to handle, oversized, low friction, YKK double zipper provides quick access to the rear jersey pockets without the need to unzip the gilet from the top. A lightweight internal zip guard further protects your chest from the elements. A technical and breathable mesh fabric is strategically placed in the rear of the garment allowing us to reduce weight and maximise ventilation without compromising protection from the wind. A must-have item for any cyclist."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Neon Velo:
Fabrics: Windproof front with mesh rear
Temperature range: 4deg – 20deg
Wind resistant, light weight, packable
Technical, breathable rear mesh
YKK zip double zipper with internal zip guard
Made in Italy
Early morning/late evening spring/summer rides
Wind protection on fast alpine descents
About right but you can size down for an aero fit.
It's not cheap, but I think you're getting your money's worth.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. Wash at 30°C and line dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. This was great for popping on before a chilly descent.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The packability makes it easy to take on any ride.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's ok. The price is high, but it's still cheaper than others.
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 overall score
It's very good. I really like the fit and packability. It's easy to put on and take off, with good windproofing for chilly descents.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.