As the winter nights draw in the UK (it’s dark by 4 pm in December) I’ve become increasingly concerned about how visible, or rather how not visible I am to drivers as I commute home. My normal attire is black and although my leggings and shoes have flecks of reflective stuff dotted around, from the front, I’m not that obvious.
Also, as a driver, I’ve noticed how inconspicuous cyclists can be, but how prominent they can be when wearing one of the many highly reflective jackets available. So, I went on the lookout for one and settled on the Provis REFLECT360 Plus Men’s Cycling Jacket.
Fit and Sizing
I did nip into a large retailer and tried on a medium and a large. I bought the large direct from Provis with a discount voucher. In relation to the size chart provided on the website, this size is correct based on my 42-inch chest. The large also provide a little more space in the hip area when it’s pulled down. I’m 5 ft. 10 inches and 90kg.
The jacket is waterproof and windproof but has no insulation, so the large does allow for a couple of layers or one thicker layer to fit underneath. The sleeves are a little long when standing, but are perfectly fine when stretched out over a bike. I should note, I don’t have particularly long arms. There’s a low profile rear spray guard.
The Plus version has a tailored fit and uses a lighter weight material than the standard jacket. It’s not the most flattering and tailored jacket on the market, but the main reason for buying the jacket is the safety aspect.
Pockets, Zips and Collar (interior)
There are two front chest pockets, an inside chest pocket and a large lower back pocket. Whilst the back pocket is very useful, I’ve not used it as I commute with a backpack. The zips are rather small, but this keeps the size and the weight down. I’m conscious of making sure I zip it correctly as not to risk breaking it. The zips are lined on the outside for waterproofness. Zip pulls are helpful when riding in gloves.
The collar is fleece-lined and is soft on the chin and neck, not causing any irritation. The main zip has a “garage” so again doesn’t cause irritation under the chin. The sleeves have velcro cuffs and a little elastic so you can pull them over your gloves.
I’ve only used the jacket in the winter months (temperatures 4 – 10 degrees C) so breathability has not been an issue. I do tend to wrap up well and have only got too warm after about 30 mins, which is easily remedied by pulling the zip down.
There is ‘through-flow’ extra ventilation with shoulder/back vents that allow air to escape without letting in any rainwater. The front chest pockets can be opened to create vents to provide more ventilation. It also has underarm zip vents for when it gets really hot.
I choose the “grey” jacket over the CRS version that comes in red, green and blue but which is still reflective. This was for what I believe to be the extra reflectiveness. I have no evidence of this; it just makes sense that the grey elements would be more reflective.
The material has tiny reflective beads embedded in the material so when a vehicle’s headlights hit the jacket, the beads reflective the light back to the light source.
The greyness is not ideal for the daytime, but the jacket is not as grey as it looks on the website. The jacket picks up just about any light, so it’s really a more shiny silver. Although there’s not much you can do about the greyness on a grey English morning so some other colour on you is helpful. From thinking I looked a bit of a plonker in a shiny silver jacket, I actually quite like it now and feel a bit funky and Elton John-esque in it. See pictures from my dark hallway.
The real USP of the jacket and the reason I bought it is how reflective it is at night. While it’s hard to see when you’re cycling and wearing the jacket (as the light if not reflecting upwards) you’re lit up amazingly and become very obvious. When I’ve driven and seen others wearing Provis jackets, it almost shocks you how reflective they are and you instantly think “cyclist” and pay attention to them.
My evidence of how much safer the jacket has made me at night is entirely subjective from my experience over that last few weeks. I feel I‘ve been given more space by passing cars. Cars that are about to pull out of a junction and turning right, see me earlier and stop. They don’t try to nip out before I pass.
Difference between REFLECT360 and REFLECT360 Plus
The table below shows the difference between the standard and Plus jackets.
|Price (full price no discount)||£89.99||£119.99|
|Approx.Weight ( size variable)||500g||400g|
*Means -10,000 grams of water can pass through over 24 hours
Whilst there are more luxurious and better-looking cycling jackets on the market at some eye-watering prices, but the difference between some reflect bits on you and all over reflectivity is huge. As you can see from the pictures you ready do stand out in the dark. The jacket has all the features you need and for the peace of mind it gives you in the dark, the expensive price is well worth it. A good purchase I should have made sooner.