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The ashmei Men's Cycle Gilet is a very lightweight yet high performing piece of clothing. It's at the upper end of the pricing scale, but the fabric is brilliant, along with the cut and fit of the gilet.
For the gilet, ashmei has used a microfibre ultra-stretch fabric that is very thin yet offers great windstopping properties. It's very soft too, which means you don't get that plasticky feel like you do from a lot of lightweight gilets.
ashmei gives it an optimal temperature range of 6°C to 15°C and that is about right. I've been wearing it over the top of a summer jersey and baselayer on rides of 8°C on average, up to around 14°C.
The weather has been steadily improving, but for what has seemed like weeks the wind has been pretty keen. Not a problem though – the gilet just blocks it all from the front, while allowing plenty of air out through the mesh back panel so breathability never becomes an issue.
The material also has a durable water repellent (DWR) coating which sees light drizzle and rain bead off to keep you dry. It works pretty well, only getting overwhelmed when the rain is heavy or persistent. The gilet has been through the wash eight times so far with no noticeable drop in performance.
The fit is slightly relaxed. It's still cut close enough to the body to reduce material flapping around in the wind, but not figure hugging or race orientated. It still manages to look like a performance piece of clothing, though.
Other neat touches are the long dropped tail for plenty of rear coverage, and the neck is high enough to stop the majority of draughts.
There is plenty of room at the arm holes too, so that your movement is never restricted.
At the rear you get two horizontal zips which give you access to your jersey pockets. They are plenty wide enough to allow you to get things out without having to fight them out through the hole.
The gilet is very packable and will easily fit into a jersey pocket but ashmei has put a small mesh bag inside for you to fold it up into. There is probably a method to get it in there neatly but I couldn't find it and soon got bored off faffing about so didn't bother.
If you're a fan of reflectives then you'll be pleased to see that ashmei has included some: on the shoulders, all around the hem and the large breather holes running down the back of the gilet. It might not look much but the layout is quite eye-catching.
With a price of £108 the ashmei isn't cheap, but considering how well it performs and the quality – it's really impressive, with the stitching being very neat throughout – it sits well against the opposition.
I was a fan of the PEdAL ED Odyssey gilet when I tested it last year. That costs £105 but I'd say the ashmei is more comfortable to wear and performs better too.
Another gilet that offers similar properties of windproofing and water resistance is the Assos Mille GT Spring/Fall Airblock – that'll set you back £130.
You can spend a lot less though – Lusso's Aqua Challenge is £64.99, though it's not as packable.
Overall, the ashmei is a bit of an investment, but it really does perform very well, especially considering how lightweight the fabric is.
Very lightweight gilet that performs brilliantly against the wind and light rain, and excellent quality too
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road.cc test report
Make and model: ashmei Men's Cycling Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
ashmei says, "Our versatile packable, lightweight and windproof Gilet is ideal for cycling when the temperature starts to drop."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly windproof, water-resistant front fabric
Water-resistant, breathable, ultra-stretch, laser perforated rear fabric
Reflective shoulder seam tape and rear stripe for high visibility
Reflective hem binding with silicon gripper
Access to jersey stuff pockets
Alcantara zip guard
Packable into stuff pouch
Highly technical microfibre ultra stretch fabric
Super lightweight, high performance – 113g
Durable Water Repellent outer finish, PFC-free
YKK® Reverse Coil #3 Zipper with enlarged ashmei zip pull
Sizing is in line with ashmei's chart.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A 30 degree wash is all that is required to keep it clean, with no issues to report.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is a very warm and comfortable gilet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The stuff pocket is too small.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap, but we do see quite a few gilets over the £100 mark from brands like Rapha, PEdAL ED and Assos.
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 may be one of the more expensive gilets on the market but the ashmei makes up for it by delivering on quality and overall performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!