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The Nopinz Pro-1 Gilet is designed to offer protection in changeable conditions without hindering performance. The fit is excellent and the windproofing is good, but the pockets on the rear and the fiddly zip means it's best put on and left on.
At 162g the Nopinz gilet is midweight, and near the top end of what you can comfortably fit in your pockets. The front panel is windproof and capable of keeping road spray at bay, while the collar and arm holes are well shaped to offer maximum protection without feeling restrictive.
Sizing is 'race fit,' and Nopinz recommends sizing up for layering. This is something you should definitely listen to; over a thin jersey you can probably get away with your usual size, but over an insulated winter jersey a size up will be necessary. I'm right on the cusp between small and medium in Nopinz sizing, and tested the medium; a small would simply be too small. Even the medium felt a little tight over the top of heavily laden pockets.
It's a fairly stretchy material which conforms to the body well, leaving no spare fabric to flap noisily or slow you down.
The back and side panels are made from a more breathable fabric Nopinz calls 'Chrono,' and this prevents too much sweatiness.
My lower back, however, would get soggy during climbing efforts due to the extra pocket material – an issue the women's version shares. On the other hand, on damp rides I was thankful for this extra material keeping road spray at bay.
Whether or not you think a gilet should have pockets will come down to personal preference; obviously if you use them you've got some rearranging to do if you want to take the layer off.
The three pockets here are decently sized, and kept their contents secure even off road. The outer ones are tapered to allow easier entry, and getting food out of them whilst riding wasn't a problem, even in gloves.
The YKK zip is a different matter, though – it has a very small tab which is hard to locate whilst wearing gloves, and can catch on the garage at the bottom.
This makes gilet removal a two-handed affair, though it is easily packable once off.
Across the top of the pockets and around the arm holes there's a large reflective strip to aid visibility, but unfortunately this rather visible orange colour appears to have disappeared from the website since we got it – the options at the time of writing were either dark grey or black.
At £74.99, the Nopinz gilet is priced competitively. It's cheaper than Rapha's mid weight Men's Classic Gilet at £100, if slightly more expensive than the also-similar Stolen Goat Palace Bodyline gilet at £65.
The Pro-1 is fine as an emergency packable, but arguably better as a layer for the entire ride given its awkward zip and the inclusion of pockets. It's comfortable and pretty aerodynamic too, and offers great protection from the wind – just be careful with the sizing.
Well made and effective against cold winds, though fiddly zip and sweaty pockets can niggle
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Nopinz Pro-1 Men's Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Nopinz says: "For serious road riding in cooler or changing temperatures, layering with a gilet is the only way to go. Our gilets provide additional warmth and waterproofing via a Windstopper front panel. Around the back, our breathable Chrono fabric wicks moisture and keeps things dry. Water-resistant pockets help keep your stuff dry and reflective binding around the arms and pockets provide the finishing touch."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Water-resistant and windproof front.
Highly breathable Chrono back and side panels.
Three rear pockets for storage.
Reflective detailing to shoulders and pocket.
Very good other than the sweaty lower back when on, and the zip getting caught on the garage at the bottom when taking it off.
It comes up quite small even for a race fit item; if you're between sizes or want to wear it over thicker layers, size up.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It offers great wind protection and keeps out road spray, though obviously the perforated back obviously doesn't if it rains.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit - it doesn't flap at all.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The zip getting caught at the bottom.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, it's priced fairly. Lighter gilets can be found for less, but for the quality the price is as good or better than the competition.
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
The fit is excellent, the material choices are good and it offers decent protection for the price and weight. However, the zip tab is too small and frequently catches – awkward while riding – and the pockets can leave your lower back sweaty. With such details sorted this would score higher.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...