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The Vizirider LED Cycling Gilet is a pretty good effort. The LEDs are well positioned, they're bright and the main fabric is wind and water resistant. It's very much designed with slower, more upright cycling in mind though, thanks to its cut, fit and breathabilty. Roadies need not apply.
Incorporating LEDs in clothing is nothing new. I'm pretty sure I bought a cycling jacket about 15 years ago that had integrated LED strips on the front and rear, and a few years back I reviewed the £250 Metier Beacon Jacket.
It's never really taken off though.
In theory it's not a bad idea, but for serious road riders who spend the majority of their time crouched low to the bars, the lights are generally pointing at road and sky.
The Vizirider is no different in that respect, but that's not a major criticism. All I'm saying is, it won't really work for road riders.
Those who ride a more upright bike – hybrid, mountain bike and so on – are much better catered for. The six front and six rear LEDs are pretty well positioned, even if you're wearing a small rucksack (something around 10 litres or so).
The LEDs are bright and noticeable, especially in the two flashing modes. It should stand out well even in an urban environment, although I'll have to get back to you on that one as the only night riding I've been able to do during the test period is a few laps around town. Considering it doesn't get dark until about 10pm, there isn't a whole lot of traffic to put it through pure commuting duties.
On a full charge the battery is claimed to last 10hrs (constant), 14hrs (slow flash) and 20hrs for fast flash, and I'd say that is realistic. A mixture of testing it on the bike and leaving the lights on at home has seen those burntimes achieved.
Operation is simple, with the on/off button lining up with a symbol on the gilet when the battery pack is in its pocket. A single press turns it on, and another press scrolls through each mode (including off).
The battery is rechargeable, although you must remove it before putting the gilet in the wash. The LEDs themselves are waterproof, and can cope with a cool hand wash below 30°C.
Alongside the lighting Vizirider has included a fair few reflective details. Strips run down each side and around the sleeves (you know what I mean) and the hem, plus there's piping on the front and rear.
As for the construction, it uses a polyester outer with a mesh liner to create a gap that aids breathability. The fabric itself isn't that breathable, and if you do pick the pace up it will soon become overwhelmed and quite clammy. You can get around this by opening the full zip, but this is another reason why it's not suited to performance riding.
The outer uses a water repellent coating which beads rain off surprisingly well. It hasn't started to fade yet, but no doubt will with countless washes.
The cut and fit are quite generous, even though Vizirider state it being 'slim fit'. For instance, I'm a medium in pretty much every cycling brand (the exceptions are the European ones that come up small).
The medium I'm testing here is for a chest size of 42.9in, so I'd be better off with the small at 40.9in, or even the x-small at 38.9in. My chest size is 39in.
Obviously, the choice comes down to what you plan to wear beneath it. If you're thinking civilian clothes like a jumper or hoody, then the sizing is probably about right. The problem is, as go smaller the gilet gets shorter, and it hasn't exactly got a whole lot of length going on in the first place.
A cycling gilet/jacket/jersey/whatever needs a dropped tail regardless of how upright you sit on the bike. The Vizirider doesn't have that, which leaves your rear end exposed to the elements and road spray. That's only going to result in discomfort.
At the other end the neck could do with being a touch higher to stop cold drafts, but better still would be a zip came all the way to the top of the neck. The way it's cut leaves a lot of skin exposed to cold air.
You get three pockets on the front – one on the chest and two for stuffing your hands in when off the bike – but you won't want to load them up with stuff, as their position just causes sag.
The hi-viz yellow is very bright which certainly helps even bright sunny days, but if you want something a little less shouty then blue and red are also available.
The overall quality is decent enough. The fabric isn't exactly ground-breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but it's well put together and certainly feels durable.
At £55 it doesn't look too bad against something like the Proviz Classic Men's Cycling Gilet, which is £59.99.
The Proviz is a similarly-styled piece of kit when it comes to the cut, but you aren't getting any LEDs. Stef did say it offered good levels of waterproofing and breathability though, which is a bonus.
Something like the hi-viz and reflective Oxford Endeavour Gilet Fluo though is just £34.99.
Solas Light offer a semi-sporty gilet with LEDs for £34.99, but there is very little out there from a cycling-specific point of view.
On the whole, the Vizirider is well thought out in terms of the LED positioning and, if you're riding around town, it's better than just having lights on your bike in the darker months.
The technology hasn't exactly come on in leaps and bounds from what I was wearing back in the mid-noughties, though – apart from the rechargeable battery pack instead of four AAs – and as far as the fabric goes, there is so much better elsewhere for breathability and performance for the money.
Helps get you seen day or night, but fabric performance is a bit primitive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vizirider LED Cycling Gilet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Vizirider says, "Our cycling gilet in a new, improved design combines performance with safety conscious style. Featuring bright white LEDs on the front, red LEDs on the back and reflective piping and side panel strips for added visibility. The lightweight polyester fabric is water and wind-resistant with a breathable mesh lining. There are three handy zip pockets on the front."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Constant light: lasts up to 10 hours
Slow flash: lasts up to 14 hours
Fast flash: lasts up to 20 hours
6 White LEDs
6 Red LEDs
Rechargeble battery pack
3 colours: Hi-Viz yellow, blue, red
Fabric: 100% Polyester
It's sized to fit a few civilian layers beneath, so look at sizing down if you only wear a couple of road layers.
There is some noticable weight from the LEDs and battery pack.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can only wash it by hand and not soak it for more than 15 minutes, which is a bit of a faff.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does a good job of helping you get noticed, but it's not that cycling-specific.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The LEDs are well positioned to allow a small rucksack to be used.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The neck is too low, and the tail too high.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't a huge amount of products like this on the market to really gauge the value, and we certainly haven't tested many, if any. Gilets with better-performing fabrics can be had for a lot less, such as the Oxford mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not massively
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe – depends on their style of riding
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you are riding around town or out in the lanes at a sedate pace, it's a decent enough gilet from a visibility and performance point of view. It's just not cut that well even for riding in an upright position, and if you like to get a lick on the lack of breathability will be an issue.
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,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!