When you need full protection use it as a traditional jacket and, once things have warmed up take the sleeves off and you have yourself a Gilet. Now throughout this review I will refer to this garment as a Jacket just to be clear. (apart from when it's a gilet!!)
The Jacket comes in 3 colours - black, red & hi-viz yellow, All have reflective elements for added safety when you need it. The Black one has some rather nice white trim which whilst not reflective does tend to allow the jacket to stand out that little bit more than if it was all black.
The windshell element of this jacket is provided by Bontrager's own Profila wind fabric which, along with being wind resistant also has a water repellant finish. Ventilation is provided by Profila cool mesh in the collar, back and under the arms. Small pockets are provided in the front in the form of a Napoleon pocket and a small pocket at the rear into which Bontrager say the jacket can be packed. These pockets are handy to carry the necessities of a long bike ride i.e. food and allowing them to be accessible when wearing the jacket.
I have worn this jacket on a couple of occasions since I got it in the black version. Strange as it may seem the first time I actually wore it was when we decided to do an 8 mile section of the Cotswold Way in Gloucestershire on foot and not by bike. I needed a lightweight jacket as the forecast for the day was a bit of a mix of light rain and then warm sunshine. We started the walk in T-shirts but soon light rain came in accompanied by a strong wind so I put the jacket on.
First impressions were that it kept the wind off well and the light rain was allowed to bead on the surface without getting through. Not sure how it would cope in a heavy shower but there are more suitable jackets for that purpose as this jacket's main purpose is to keep light showers at bay. In spite of the ups and downs of our walk I needed to keep the jacket on most of the day due to the rather strong wind - it did a great job of keeping me 'just right' which would suggest that the breathability of the garment was working well.
Later in the week an early ride to the train station needed a little bit more upper body protection than a base layer, short sleeve jersey and arm warmers could afford so a great opportunity to try out the gilet element. The sleeves are held in place by zips which you hardly notice and once these are unzipped and the various velcro patches unattached you have yourself the gilet.
With a tailwind the journey to the station was rather rapid but the gilet was never overwhelmed which again confirms the breathability of the garment in both guises. The rear pocket proved handy to carry my sleeves. I was slightly worried that trying to put the sleeves back on would be a bit of a 'faff' but nothing could be further from the truth. With the garment laid out on the table in front of me in less than 30 seconds later I had converted the gilet back to a jacket.
With a retail price of £64.99 this garment represents great value for money as you are effectively getting that nice lightweight windshell jacket for that chilly spring/autumn start Plus, a gilet for once the weather warms up. Both of these I would suggest are essential parts of any cyclists wardrobe but here you purchase 2 garments for effectively the price of one.