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There's a tendency to expect high-vis and reflective outer layers to be all things to all people: windproof, rainproof, breathable, and so on. But by doing away with the requirement for all-weather ability, BTR's High Visibility Reflective Sportswear Cycling Running Jacket – to give it its full name – is a cheap, cheerful, lightweight and fantastically breathable garment that's perfect for dry commuting and late-night training.
Jordan B Peterson might not approve, but I think I might have to go on some sort of unconscious bias training course. Not for my attitude to people, you understand (I am the very model of inclusivity) but in the case of this BTR jacket, I was initially a touch presumptuous. For example, when it dropped through the letter box, my first thought was: 'Oh no, not another over-priced high-vis waterproof.'
However, I was completely wrong. Firstly, this garment doesn't even pretend to be waterproof. The yellow parts of the jacket are made from a lightweight, stretchy polyester that really won't keep you dry in even the mildest drizzle (but as I will explain, even that has its advantages). And secondly, at just £34.99, this is categorically not over-priced.
But if it's not waterproof, what's the point? Well, actually, I think BTR (which stands for 'Bike Train Run') might have hit on a budget masterstroke here. Night-time riding and low visibility don't have to go hand-in-hand with soggy roads. There are times when you might want to make your road presence felt and yet not swelter inside the confines of a weatherproof boil-in-the-bag barrier.
To that end, the BTR HVRSCRJ works an absolute treat. In terms of daylight visibility, the bright yellow polyester is hard to miss, while the grey sections of the jacket are made from a similar kind of material as used in other high-reflective garments, such as Proviz's Reflect360 range. It's supremely effective at harnessing any ambient light and shining it back. In combination, these two ingredients mean you won't be ignored on the road.
But the real ace up the BTR's elasticated cuffs is its on-bike performance. That light, soft, stretchy material might not protect you from the rain, but it doesn't trap your perspiration, either. Hard rides while wearing this high-vis jacket are far more pleasant than you would expect.
Similarly, fit is excellent and, with its mesh lining, the jacket is actually very comfortable. (Rather ironically for a jacket designed to scream your presence, there were times I forgot I even had it on.)
Because of its styling aesthetics, you might not want to walk around in it as a matter of course, but other than that, there's no reason why you'd be eager to take it off.
Practicalities aren't bad, either. There are two lower external pockets, one outside chest pocket, and one small internal pocket built into the chest lining. There's also an air vent at the back which aids breathability further. The zip has a little garage at the top. The cuffs and hem are elasticated. You can machine wash it, and you can even tumble it dry (on low heat, mind).
Finally, there's the price. At £34.99 this jacket seems so reasonable I'd be tempted to think of it as a high-vis/reflective answer to the traditional rain cape, to be worn when you get caught out by dark conditions or just want a simple garment to do the job. And for summer commuters who might have to travel at ungodly hours or habitual night-riders, this could be a new budget favourite.
Excellent lightweight, comfortable and fantastic value jacket that will keep you seen on the road – as long as it doesn't rain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BTR High Visibility Reflective Jacket
Size tested: Extra Large
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?
Lightweight reflective and high-visibility jacket, aimed at summer commuters and possibly late-night trainers.
BTR says: "This jacket lets you add a lightweight layer without choosing between high visibility bright colour and reflection. In the day be seen with the high-vis yellow and at night you will glow with the many reflective silver panels. Wear whatever the light conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
360 visibility - colour and reflective panels cover all of the jacket for maximum visibility
Bright high-visibility yellow for visibility in daylight
Reflective panels for visibility in lower light conditions with a bright reflective ability
Lightweight breathable yellow material
Fully mesh lined
Back air vent for added ventilation
Elasticated cuffs and waist
3 external pockets and 1 mesh internal pocket
Really rather good – certainly stands up to other more expensive options.
Very good visibility/reflectivity, but also impressive breathability.
Good so far – the zips seem particularly good quality.
The manufacturer doesn't say this is waterproof – and it isn't!
Really very good. If riding super-hard, you will notice little moisture – it's one of the best high-vis jackets for breathability that I've ever tested.
Good length in the arms and body. A drop tail would have been nice, but this jacket is also intended for runners.
I tested an XL version and it fitted as I expected.
A very lightweight high-vis/reflective jacket.
Very comfortable. The internal mesh lining helps a lot but the main yellow material is soft anyway.
I think at a penny shy of £35, this is fantastic value.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine washed on a gentle cycle, tumble dried at low heat. Nothing to report, although the care instructions say it can only be washed a maximum of 25 times.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. This doesn't set out to be an all-singing-and-dancing outer layer – it's supposed to be a lightweight outer that helps keep you visible. To that end it's hard to fault.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Probably the fit and breathability. All-round comfort is very impressive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
It's not waterproof at all. Even just a little bit of water resistance – such as some water-repellant surface treatment – would help in damp conditions.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Most high-vis/reflective jackets tend to offer further weather-proofing abilities, so command a higher price. For example, the Nightrider jacket from Proviz is more than double the price, but offers far more functionality.
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
As long as you know this jacket's limitations – ie, it is completely devoid of any kind of waterproofing – you can really enjoy it for what it is. It's a cheap, cheerful and very effective way to make sure you remain visible on the road in poor lighting. But the fact that it has such great breathability means it could well appeal to both leisure, commuters and even hard training cyclists who regularly need to get in some road miles after dark.
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