The Countdown AS Lady Vest (there's also a male version) is a lightweight gilet designed specifically for cycling and one of the few available in a women's specific cut. Gilets are particularly handy in the UK's challenging climate. It's great to have something along on a ride that's pocket sized that'll bestow a hefty wallop of protection and warmth for its size and weight.
The vast majority of lightweight gilets available are unisex, and as such, often baggy at the waist and tight at the hips. At just 122g the Lady Vest is extremely lightweight, although not quite as light as the absolute lightest gilets available such as Rapha's Women's Gilet at 115g or the insanely light Castelli Leggera at just 69g.
That said, the Countdown AS offers a greater degree of protection from the elements than some. The fabric is Gore's WINDSTOPPER Active Shell with water resistance in addition to its windproofing, as well as being breathable enough to help stop you getting damp on the inside instead. It'll keep your torso dry in a shower, although it won't keep the heaviest rain out forever. But then it doesn't have sleeves anyway! Features are minimal but include a mesh panel in the centre of the back to enhance ventilation, two zipped side pockets, reflective accents, a mesh lining for additional comfort and softly elasticated armholes. The fit is neat and contoured without being over tight. The size small I tried was on the snug side, but I'd normally expect to take a medium anyway. Taller women may find the fit on the short side.
In use, the gilet was comfortable and made a decent difference to core temperature without being overwarm or sweaty. It tucks easily into a jersey pocket and is perfect for the changeable conditions of the great British summertime.
High quality, versatile piece of kit that will very quickly pay back the investment. Good value.
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Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Countdown AS Lady Vest
Size tested: White EU36
Tell us what the product 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?
Aimed at female cyclists looking for warmth and protection.
Just the ticket for changeable days.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% nylon shell with WINDSTOPPER membrane
2 zipped pockets
Mesh back panel
Machine washable at 40
Available in sizes 34-44 (XS-XXL)
4 colour options
Well made from high quality components
Light, protective and very wearable.
Good quality fabric and washable at 40 so should stay smelling sweet for longer.
Not the absolute lightest but a great balance of weight, packsize and protection.
Excellent value considering how often you'll probably use it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed extremely well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cut, fit, just enough features.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
An excellent lightweight gilet with just the right features. Worth the price for how often it'll be used.
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.