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The Van Rysel Hi Viz Cycling Gilet is a nicely thought out and well-made gilet with a great cut, fit and overall performance. Its reflective detailing doesn't quite rival some, and it doesn't fold so readily, but these are very minor points.
The gilet is made from polyester throughout, with a windproof and water-repelling laminate at the front and a relatively thin, perforated panel at the rear designed to encourage moisture release, both rider-generated and precipitation. Both moisture management and weather protection have been reassuringly good.
The front layer does a good job of blocking bracing winds without rustling like a crisp packet, and I've worn it for a few hours in stop-start rain and it's shut the door to persistent showery rain and drizzle, which tends to bead up and roll away. The laminate panels dry swiftly, too, given a break in the cloud and a breeze.
Temperature regulation and moisture management depend upon base and mid-layers. I've worn ours in temperatures between 7 and 14°C, typically with a long sleeve jersey, and averaging 20mph in the low teens there's been no problem with clamminess; save for that light misting which tends to strike before polyesters begin wicking, I've only noticed its positive qualities.
In higher temperatures I'm generally in short sleeves, and if a gilet is required I go for the thin, packable type. Unlike these, the Van Rysel isn't the type you can just shove in a jersey pocket should you get a little too toasty; dropping the front zipper to half-mast certainly helps and, given the snug fit, there are no billowing issues when the autumnal winds are gusting.
The cut is best described as racy but with some give, so you can layer up comfortably over mid-winter weight jerseys. There's a decent amount of length in the back, protecting you from chill, and the elastic at the hem keeps it in place; there's no silicone and it's none the worse for it, in my book. The arm holes are lightly elasticated, too.
I'm proportionally short in the torso and broad across the shoulders; medium was roomy enough up top and I had no issues with the front catching saddle noses when mounting and dismounting.
Neon yellow runs 360 degrees, so you'll stand out in the murk, while bold and well-positioned retro-reflective detailing brings it to life at night. The latter isn't quite in the same league as that employed in Oxford's Endeavour Gilet, but there's not much separating these two on the visibility front in gloomy weather.
Being fussy, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of an LED tab. That said, the elastic tops of the rear pocket are reasonable hosts to lights with snug-fitting clothing clips.
I like pockets, so I was delighted to discover the Van Rysel has three: a zippered breast pocket for wallets and other valuables, and two open-top ones round the back. Despite the material being relatively thin, Van Rysel has managed to get the stretch and support mix right. There's a little discernible 'bob' when tackling lumpier sections of tarmac or cheeky cut-throughs, but it's not distracting and I'm yet to score an ejection or lose a light.
With the extra protection at the front, I've tended to keep valuables in the zippered breast pocket, but it's a bit of a tight fit for my smartphone, so that's gone in my jersey underneath; this leaves the gilet's free for a tube, banana and bottle.
The zippers feature decent tags, meaning they're easy to operate in full-finger gloves, and the main zip also feature 'garages' top and bottom, to subvert snagged skin and protect layers underneath. The collar doesn't feature any fleece lining, but it's hardly a deal breaker – besides, in the autumn and early season, a jersey collar or neck gaiter provides more usable insulation from chill.
Sticking to 30-degree wash cycles has seen it emerge fresh, with no hint of peeling decals, bobbling or similar premature ageing. Organic spatter melts away and, so far, no oily imprints. Some have suggested the front zipper is a weak spot, but I've had no issues, and a two-year warranty is reassuring.
Its rrp of £24.99 is hard to top. The Oxford Endeavour I mentioned earlier is probably its closest comparator and a tenner more. The Oxford has slightly superior retro-reflectives but only a single (breast) pocket. Its Venture sibling offers the traditional three at the rear and a breast pocket, but at £49.99 it's twice the price of the Van Rysel.
Lusso's Skylon has gone up to £39.99 since Stu tested it in 2018, but it's decidedly stealthy by comparison, and only has a single rear pocket.
Minor compromises aside, it's hard to fault the Van Rysel gilet for general off-season riding. There are better options if compact folding is top of your list, but expect to pay a good bit more.
Well-executed gilet for not a lot of money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel Hi-Viz Cycling Jacket
Size tested: M
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Van Rysel says: "This jacket has been developed to protect you from the cold thanks to its windproof properties, and make you visible thanks to the reflective areas.
The waterproof front of this gilet provides protection against light rain.In addition, thanks to the neon colour and reflective areas, you will be more visible day and night.
Front part of the gilet is waterproof and windproof."
My feelings are that it's a well-designed gilet with nice detailing and excellent performance, especially for the price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Hi-viz jacket (day and night, 360°), certified to standard EN1150.
PRODUCT CONCEPT & TECHNOLOGY
Main fabric 100% Polyester Yoke 100% Polyester
Solid and uniform throughout.
A great all-rounder that covers most bases very convincingly.
No reason to think it won't last. Zippers are of good quality, and there's the two-year warranty.
Water-resistant rather than waterproof, but I'd rather a garment that dried quickly than one that left me feeling "boiled in the bag".
Very efficient, even when temperatures are bobbing around the low-to-mid-teens.
Snug but comfortable over middleweight winter jerseys and baselayers.
Perfect for me.
Feels lighter than the scales might suggest, though in part because of the laminated front, it's not the easiest to pack, should you want to whip it off. Fine in a pannier or day bag, but jersey pockets are a non-starter.
Compares very well to similar offerings from Oxford and Lusso, especially relative to the specification.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward: just stick to the 30-degree wash and air drying mantra.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the performance. The cut and fit are bang on for spirited road riding, while still allowing layering. Pockets are generous and well designed, and the windproof and water-repelling front panel gives decent protection from showery rain and blustery winds typical of autumn and early season rides. Retro-reflective detailing isn't quite as sharp as some but still pretty good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Great cut, fit, detailing, and price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Not the most packable. More a consideration, rather than dislike, though.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Oxford's Endeavour is probably its closest comparator and a tenner more. The Oxford has slightly superior reflectives but only a single breast pocket. Its Venture sibling offers the traditional three pockets at the rear and a breast. However, at £49.99 it's twice the price of the Van Rysel. Lusso's Skylon comes in at £39.99 but is decidedly stealthy by comparison, and only has a single rear pocket.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Definitely
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: a really well-designed gilet, especially for the money.
About the tester
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)