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review

Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling Gilet

7
£44.95

VERDICT:

7
10
Good for keeping out cold air and light rain, with a cut more suited to mountain biking and gravel than sporty road riding
Good weather/road spray protection
Low price
Loose cut won't suit all
Weight: 
170g
Contact: 
david@ridgecrest-clothing.co.uk

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The Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling Gilet is a handy layer for keeping cold air out and protecting your torso from light rain and road spray, and it takes up very little space when stuffed in a rear pocket. Some roadies will provide a slimmer cut to avoid flapping, but the price is reasonable, going on cheap.

We got to know of Ridgecrest by a roundabout route. The head honcho at Cotic Bikes is a chap who goes by the name of Cy – Cy Cotic, geddit? – and Ridgecrest is a brand set up by Cy's father, Mr Cotic Snr.

> Buy now: Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling Gilet for £44.95 from ebay

Mr Cotic Snr, also known as David Turner, used to run a clothing manufacturing company making motorcycle waterproofs, and about three years ago started making Cotic's frame bags. He's only just started to make gilets. He does everything himself – designs, material laying, cutting and sewing – so it's a small scale operation.

Some people struggle with the concept of a waterproof gilet – if you need to keep water out, putting a jacket on is going to be more effective. That's a fair point, but sometimes you just want to keep out drizzle or road spray and pulling a jacket on might be overkill. Plus, you can team up a waterproof gilet with water-repellent arm warmers, like Castelli's Nano Flex 3Gs, if you want to keep light rain out without having the additional warmth of a jacket. On top of that, a jacket is going to be bulkier in your pocket.

But I'm not here to convince you of the merits or otherwise of the genre. There are plenty of other waterproof gilets out there from the likes of Rapha, Assos and dhb, and you can make up your own mind about whether you like the idea.

Ridgecrest's Waterproof Cycling Gilet is made from polyurethane-coated polyester that does a really good job of keeping water out. The seams aren't taped, so water could leak in there, but a waterproof gilet isn't designed to keep you dry in the sort of prolonged heavy rain when that would be an issue. If the back of the gilet gets wet from road spray, even constantly over a long ride, that doesn't get inside.

2022 Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling gilet - back.jpg

The fabric is pretty soft to the touch and the outside doesn't have that cold, plasticky feel, while the inside of the collar has a cotton lining so it feels fine against your neck.

2022 Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling gilet - collar lining.jpg

The fabric is also highly breathable, helping to stop you get sweaty on tough climbs. If you do find things starting to get humid, it's easy enough to adjust the YKK zip or to just whip the gilet off and stick it in a jersey pocket. Rolled up, it takes up about half a pocket's worth of space.

The collar sits high – I like that – and I found it close enough to stop any cold air from getting in without any discomfort. The elasticated armholes and hem do a similar job and there's the most generously sized flap behind the zip that I've ever seen.

2022 Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling gilet - collar.jpg

The cut is also generous, but don't take too much notice of our pics – the mannequin that we've been using in the studio since social distancing became a thing is a medium, while the product sample we have is large.

2022 Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling gilet - hem.jpg

The fabric isn't stretchy, so I get that a manufacturer has to size up to accommodate chunkier riders, but I'd have preferred a slimmer cut to avoid any flapping on windier days or at higher speeds. This isn't an aero roadie cut, it has a more relaxed mountain bike or gravel bike vibe.

In terms of length, the same is true. If you're in a low and stretched road position, the front panels tend to bunch up, but if you're in a more upright riding position, you want that coverage. The fact that the rear is cut considerably longer than the front is welcome, though, keeping spray from getting on to your lower back and – what's the physiological term? – ass.

2022 Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling gilet - tail.jpg

Value

You can't baulk at the £44.95 price (post included). That's for sizes S (36in, measured over your other clothing) to XL (45in). XXL and XXXL can be produced as one-offs for £55.95.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling gilets

Check out road.cc gilet reviews and you'll see that we haven't looked at too many at this price. Most tend to be at least £20 more, some much more than that.

The race-cut dhb Aeron Lab Superlight Waterproof Gilet that we reviewed, for example, is £100. Granted, the dhb gilet is a more technical garment, it's lighter and packs down smaller so they're not particularly comparable, but it still suggests that the Ridgecrest's price is very good.

The Lusso Hex Packable Gilet we reviewed recently came in a much slimmer cut too. This one is £55 – closer to the Ridgecrest's price but still £10 more.

Conclusion

Overall, the Ridgecrest Waterproof gilet is a well-made garment to keep you comfortable in changeable conditions. The generous cut won't be to everyone's taste, but you can't argue with the price.

Verdict

Good for keeping out cold air and light rain, with a cut more suited to mountain biking and gravel than sporty road riding

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Ridgecrest Waterproof Cycling Gilet

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

It's a gilet made from a waterproof and breathable polyurethane fabric.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Ridgecrest calls it a "cycle gilet - waterproof, breathable, made in England by us."

It says this:

Material - PU coated polyester to EN343 grade 3, the highest level of breathability for a waterproof material.

YKK nylon maroon zip, with inner flap.

All seams top stitched with maroon thread.

20cm x 50mm reflective strip across back.

Back cut lower than hip level, bottom of zip higher than hips to avoid bunching.

Stand up collar with two layers of 100% cotton lining for max comfort and absorption.

Elastic around waist and shoulders.

Chest sizes, measured over clothing - Small 36ins - Med 39ins - Large 42ins - XL 45ins. We can make XXL (48ins) and XXXL (51 ins) for an extra £10

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

It's well made from very good materials.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

It's not breaking down barriers in terms of tech but it helps keeps wind and rain out (although a gilet is never going to compete with a jacket for weatherproofing).

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

There's not a lot to go wrong, really. I've been using this gilet on and off for about three months and everything looks like it's going to last.

Rate the product for fit:
 
6/10

If you're after a slim roadie cut and a high hem at the front to avoid bunching, this isn't it. This cut is suited to more relaxed, more upright riding and/or to those who simply prefer a more generous fit.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

It's as described on the chest. The cut doesn't taper towards the waist in the way you'll often see on more performance-orientated roadie clothing.

Rate the product for weight:
 
5/10

We have reviewed gilets of 90g and lower, but is weight really a consideration here? You can still roll it up and sling it in a rear pocket and have plenty of space for a mini pump and an emergency Snickers.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

It washes fine. There are no taped seams to lift over time.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a pretty simple garment that does a very good job.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The level of protection provided and the price.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I'd prefer a slimmer cut.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Check out road.cc gilet reviews and you'll see that we haven't looked at too many at this price. Most tend to be at least £20 more, some much more than that.

The race-cut dhb Aeron Lab Superlight Waterproof Gilet that we reviewed, for example, is £100. Granted, the dhb gilet is a more technical garment, it's lighter and packs down smaller so they're not particularly comparable, but it still suggests the Ridgecrest's price is very good.

The Lusso Hex Packable Gilet we reviewed recently came in a much slimmer cut and is £55 – closer to the Ridgecrest's price but still £10 more.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Would consider – for gravel and mountain biking more than the road.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's not the most technical of gilets but it does a good job and the price is really attractive.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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