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The Van Rysel RC 500 Women's Windproof Cycling Gilet weighs next to nothing, scrunches down to the size of an orange, and does a great job of keeping the chill off your chest – all while looking good and costing next to nothing.
This Van Rysel (Decathlon's new in-house performance brand) is a superb piece of kit, and will stand you in good stead from spring through to autumn – plus its miniscule size and weight mean you can stuff it in a jersey pocket and barely know it's there.
Construction is very good indeed – the windproof front panels are made of a ripstop-style fabric, while the back panel is very fine mesh with additional perforations for excellent breathability.
The side panels are super-stretchy to give a close yet comfortable fit, with elasticated armholes underneath, and the body is a decent length with an elasticated drop hem lined with silicone gripper to keep it firmly in place. This all combines to give a flattering yet functional fit that keeps the wind out well.
I especially like the tall, snug collar, lined with a super-soft contrasting fabric, and the zip garage means there's no chance of snagging your neck when zipping up.
A very handy feature is the 7in-wide slot across the rear, just below the mesh back, which lets you reach through to access your jersey pockets. It's designed so as to be invisible and doesn't gape at all.
Reflective logos and strips beside the zip, plus a thick stripe at the rear, add welcome visibility.
This gilet looks and feels like it should cost far more than a paltry £20, especially considering most cycling gilets are far more than this. It's quite similar to the Endura Pakagilet II (reviewed here) but the Endura is £36 RRP, almost double. The bargain price combined with its features and fit make the Van Rysel outstanding value for money.
The Van Rysel RC 500 is only available in black but comes in six sizes from XXS to XL, plus it has a two-year warranty, which indicates that Decathlon has faith in the construction quality. I highly recommend it.
Smart looking, well fitting and performing ultra-lightweight windproof gilet at a knockdown price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel RC 500 Women's Windproof Cycling Gilet
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says: "Cycling in windy weather will be a breeze in this lightweight, windproof Van Rysel cycling gilet. Specially designed for chilly morning rides and hill descents, this ultra-light gilet offers superb protection from the wind as it's made from a windproof fabric that has exceptional thermal qualities."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra lightweight and windproof fabric
Back mesh panel
Elasticated armholes and hem
Jersey pocket access flap
Main fabric: 100% Polyamide
Underarm fabric: 84% Polyester (PES), 16% Elasthane
Back fabric: 100% Polyamide
2XS - XL sizes
Two year warranty
Armholes feel slightly tight on me.
Fantastic except being aware of lower armholes.
It is very similar to the Endura Pakagilet II, but the Endura is £36 RRP, almost double, making this one even better value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash at 30°C. Synthetic programme. It washed well and dries super-fast.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed – great close fit keeps wind off your front without making your back sweaty.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, light weight and price.
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?
Very well – there aren't many other gilets below £30 – and one of those is Decathlon's B'Twin brand gilet, also £19.99.
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
There's barely anything to fault this gilet, especially at the bargain price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Whyte T-130 RS
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax