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Aimed primarily at commuter cyclists, the Proviz Electroluminescent Hi-Viz jacket may lack the tailored cut of racier garments but even so it doesn't billow like a builder's tarpaulin and protects your back and vital organs particularly well if you are riding a tourer, crosser or similarly upright road bike and thanks to four integrated electroluminescent strips it's highly visble too.
It's made from basic but very serviceable materials consisting of a waterproof outer shell and 'breathable' mesh liner striking a good balance between weather protection and climate control, although hammering along for extended periods can turn the inner climate a bit clammy if you've forgotten to take advantage of the pit zips.
Detailing elsewhere's pretty good too-especially the cavernous pockets that keep keys, wallets and even compact cameras close at hand without encroaching upon rider comfort. Then we have the integrated lighting which that snags driver attention at around 350, nudging 400 yards in flashing. However, this otherwise brilliant technology rules out machine washing and has a finite 4,000 hour lifespan but by then, the garment certainly won't owe you anything.
Although the polyester/nylon material the jacket is made from is not cutting edge by any means it does seem very durable and the generous cut proved ample for my frame (I'm fairly skinny but not as whippet-like as Mat in the picture at the top of the review), providing sufficient room for a couple of technical layers. Zippers and cuffs are easily operated single handed on the fly and in winter gloves-great for tweaking climate control during milder weather, although the same cannot be said for engaging the electricals.
Common to the other Proviz garments the switchgear for the light show lives in a dedicated, internal pouch and can feel a little cumbersome at first since it runs from AAA cells. However, the positive switch avoids unintentional power-ups and acres of Scotchlite provide ample security whether around town or out in the dark beyond the sodium glare. Claimed battery run times seemed faithful indeed the batteries on the test jacket cruised past them. Speaking of which, the soft blue hue is easily distinguishable when clipping through the crowded neon beloved of our increasingly festive town centres. And speaking of neon, well, fluro - the yellow version of this jacket is £3 more, than the black version I've tested here.
Having run last year's version through a steady procession of sleet and snow, it will come as no surprise that heavy downpours and biting winds remain firmly outside thanks to fleece lined collar, adjustable cuffs and draw cords-simple refinements that make all the difference. City grime sticks faster but several weeks negotiating muddy lanes and splashed with spray from processions of 4x4s has only called for a single, twenty minute flannel down using a flannel dipped in luke warm water and soapflakes.
Good, highly visibile commuting/training jacket for riders that want to be seen, although there is some trade off between waterproofing and breathability
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Make and model: Proviz Mens Electroluminescent Waterproof Cycling Jacket
Size tested: Black, Medium
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?
"The PROVIZ high visibility cycling jacket is designed to draw attention to your position on the road during times of poor light or during hours of darkness. The jacket incorporates four (30cm each) of our unique electroluminescent lighting strips that glow in an eye-catching electric blue colour to ensure you are highly visible when it really matters". Does exactly that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· The first electroluminescent, hi vis cycling jacket on the European market
· Includes 4 light-emitting electroluminescent strips (2 front, 2 back)
· Electroluminescent strips powered by a small battery pack (4AAA) housed in the pocket
· Electroluminescent strips are durable and 100% waterproof
· Highly reflective trim on arms, sides, zip, logos and shoulders
· Fleece-lined collar
· 100% waterproof
· Highly breathable
· Waterproof zips
· Arm pit and back vents
· Inside and back pockets
· Lifespan of electroluminescent strips – approximately 4000 hours
· Male and female cuts available
· Available in fluorescent yellow and black
Generally pretty robust, although the electricals have shown potential for snagging but thankfully a non-issue to date.
Should last a few seasons (and the odd tumble) with basic care but I much prefer a machine washable garment.
Generally what I've come to expect from a jacket at this price, although the emphasis is upon water repellence so breathability isn't quite on par with others I've used.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Combining garment and safety aid in one, there's little doubt this jacket meets its commuting design brief, providing excellent protection from the elements and road presence. Climate control is good as opposed to great without the 'boiled in the bag' sensation under sustained effort. On the strength of a rather undignified tarmac tumble in last year's snow (wearing its day-glow sibling) the fabric seems pretty hardy so should withstand the bump n' hustle of daily commuting.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Inbuilt lighting, subtle but extremely effective colour scheme, nice cut and sensible price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
In built technology precludes machine washing, so even with frequent wipeovers, things could turn locker-room fragrant.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Without hesitation, if it was machine washable.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, making them fully aware of the wipe-down only proviso
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
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, mtb,
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)