Galibier's Izoard gilet is a cheap and effective way of adding a warm layer to your cycling wardrobe, and its neutral styling means you can wear it off the bike too.
I like an insulated gilet, I do. I have about four. They offer a bit of core warmth without making you too sweaty on cold days. A couple of them are Polartec Alpha ones, of which the dhb Aeron Polartec Alpha Gilet is an absolute staple of mine for hard rides in the cold.
Polartec Alpha is a very expensive fabric, and this Izoard gilet uses a more traditional hollow fibre insulation in a 40g weight: that's enough to take the chill off without being especially bulky. The insulation is used on the front and back sandwiched between a thin nylon ripstop fabric. Ripstop isn't stretchy so Galibier has included Roubaix Lycra side panels to keep the gilet nice and fitted on the bike.
The gilet is reversible, with a black outer and orange inner if you're feeling in need of some extra visibility; after dark there's Scotchlite reflective on the black side.
Both sides have a chest pocket big enough for a phone…
…and the black side has a full-length outer pocket with a zip at both ends. It's probably designed like that to be inconspicuous off the bike but it's not as useful as some proper jersey-style pockets: you're limited for space and everything rattles around across your back.
On the bike it's a comfortable and well-fitted gilet, and it's great at keeping the wind off your organs on a cold start. The insulation is well judged: enough to make a difference without bulking the gilet out too much. You can just about stuff it in a jersey pocket later on, or it won't take up too much space in a frame bag or seatpack.
Synthetic insulation is pretty decent in the wet and the Izoard gilet is still comfortable when it's wet, although it's not shake-dry like the more expensive Alpha gilets are. Breathability isn't as good either: it's okay but if you go hard you can get a bit clammy. I've used the Izoard gilet more for gentler rides as it's better suited to audax pace than pushing hard.
It'd be a good thing to have to hand on a long ride when you're unsure of how much clothing you'll need: it's a serious warmth boost, especially under a waterproof. The styling is neutral enough that it's fine to wear off the bike too, which makes it doubly useful if you're doing a longer multi-day tour.
And then there's the price. Most insulated gilets we've tested are north of £100, so less than £50 is a steal.
Great value padded gilet that's a useful warmth layer on and off the bike
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Galibier Izoard Quilted Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Galibier says, "An insulated gilet delivering serious warmth in a feather-light, stylish package.
"Designed to be the warmest top layer available on the market, since the first generation launch in 2018, it has been used as much off the bike, as on this winter. The Izoard uses a super-soft, high denier fabric similar to fabrics used in mountaineering sleeping bags. The garment remains soft to the touch and very low bulk, so it can be easily packed away until you need it. The side panels are in a high stretch Super-Roubaix® fabric that provides incredible 'fit' accommodation and regulates core temperature. The ActiveSport® utilises 40g/m Synthetic insulation keeps on performing even when it's wet and provides full windproof and showerproof core protection.
"We have 3M reflective highlights on the full, front zip and on the rear sides. The massive, rear pocket is big enough to hold all essentials and can be accessed from both, zippered sides."
Galibier also lists:
Reversible Zinc Orange/ Black.
A dual chest Phone/wallet pocket for your valuables.
Stitched to last. Timeless style and performance
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
20D Micro Ripstop Nylon Shell
40g Active® Sport Insulation
3M Reflective band to the rear.
Rear neat pocket with dual sided access,
4 needle double stitching EVERYWHERE.
Chest Security pocket.
Neat stitching, nice fabrics.
Keeps you warm on and off the bike, excellent under a windproof. A bit clammy if you go hard.
No issues during testing: ripstop is thin but resists snags well.
Lycra side panels give a close but forgiving fit.
Spot on – I'm a Large according to Galibier's chart and the L fitted me just right.
Heavier and bulkier than some but still stowable in a jersey.
Really soft ripstop fabric, no tight spots.
Under £50 is really good value for what's a good quality bit of kit.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Bung it in the machine was with everything else. No issues in testing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cheap, comfy, warm.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rear pocket is a bit meh.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Most insulated gilets we've tested are north of £100, so less than £50 is a steal.
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
Overall performance is probably more like an 8, but it's only 50 quid. Not even.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.