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Best reflective and hi-vis cycling jackets for winter riding

Cyclist magazine
7 Jan 2021

A guide to the best hi-vis and reflective cycling jackets and what to look for when buying

For anybody looking to ride throughout the winter months, we would consider the purchase of a reflective cycling jacket to be quite the shrewd investment right now.

Keeping yourself visible to other road traffic through those dark months is imperative to keeping yourself safe, and a healthy dose of hi-vis and reflective kit can be the perfect accompaniment to a solid set of lights, especially after dusk.

More than just keeping you seen, most jackets will have also feature integrated waterproof, windproof and thermal technology, with brands fully aware that these jackets are most likely to be worn in the winter months and so need to be far more than just one-trick ponies.

For a breakdown of the best bike lights for winter riding, check out our comprehensive guide here

Best reflective and hi-vis cycling jackets for winter riding

Proviz Reflect360 jacket | £89.99

Why make a jacket only partially reflective when you can make it entirely reflective? That was Proviz’s mantra when making what is ultimately the big cheese of hi-vis cycling jackets, the Reflect360.

By using a 100% reflective outer shell, car and street lights will have you looking like Blackpool illuminations while riding in the dark, just what you need if you continue to commute through winter.

Cut to a more relaxed fit, this jacket is better suited to those riding to and from work and has even integrated sealed seams for better protection against the wet and cut small vents to keep you from getting too hot and sweaty on the ride to the office.

Buy the Proviz Reflect360 jacket from Proviz for £89.99

Rapha Classic Gore-Tex winter jacket | £270

This is an option geared towards out-and-out performance rather than keeping you lit like a Christmas tree during your evening commute.

Rapha and Gore-Tex have a reputation for making things really well so it's no surprise that when they combined for the Classic winter jacket the results were impressive. Not only does it look great, but it is also packed with plenty of advanced technology to keep you warm, dry and comfortable on even the most horrendous of winter weekend rides.

Expensive at £270, yes, but you can rest assured that quality is of the highest order and you will look the best rain-drenched cyclist at the cafe stop this winter.

Buy the Rapha Classic Gore-Tex winter jacket from Rapha for £270

Hump Signal waterproof jacket | £34.99

Nothing says ‘can you see me?’ like three massive, reflective chevrons printed onto the back of a fluro jacket. At £34.99, the Hump Signal jacket is not only incredibly affordable but also the perfect option for urban evening riding.

A casual cut sees it slip over normal clothing comfortably while technical stylings also prevent it from getting in the way while riding. The main body of the jacket is waterproof while the taped seams will offer up added protection in the most abhorrent of downpours.

We also like the aesthetic appeal of chevrons. They remind us of sports brand Hummel and that 1992 Denmark football team.

Buy the Hump Signal jacket from Freewheel here for £34.99

Altura Nightvision Thunderstorm jacket | £70

Giving something the title ‘Nightvision Thunderstorm’ certainly sets the bar high. Thankfully, when we reviewed this jacket in full, it passed with flying colours.

It ticked the hi-vis box thanks to oversized reflective panelling on the jacket’s front and rear while also proving its windproof and waterproof capabilities when we used it to complete the Three Peaks hike (yes, that’s not cycling but you get the point, it keeps you warm and dry).

The only issue we found was that when this Altura jacket was partnered with winter layers underneath, we overheated slightly while riding. Maybe we just need to pedal easier?

Read Cyclist's full review of the Altura Nightvision Thunderstorm jacket here.

Castelli Transition 2 Jacket | £165

Castelli describes its Transition 2 jacket as being perfectly suited for autumn and spring, a jacket that can keep the chill away without seeing you overheat.

The integration of Gore-Tex Infinium windstopper technology into the jacket’s sleeves and front panel suggests you should be suitably protected from the most cutting of gales while the fleeced back panel will certainly keep you warm enough to wear this option with just a baselayer or light long-sleeve jersey underneath.

The bright red option we have suggested will only be suitable for daytime riding but it is worth noting that the Transition 2 has a reflective panel across the rear pocket and chest to keep you seen if you were to be caught short after dusk.

Dhb Flashlight Waterproof jacket | £80

Dhb claims that extensive testing went into the Flashlight collection before its launch in 2020. We will assume it was more than chucking a bucket of water over someone and flashing them with a torch.

Anyway, the Dhb Flashlight jacket has been given a more forgiving cut to suit those looking to commute in regular clothes rather than going full Lycra, while strategically integrating reflective panels on the arms and rear to optimise your visibility to other road users.

The final bonus is the large rear zipped pocket, a perfect home for your tuna mayo sarnies.

Metier Beacon jacket | £250

Right, so technically the Metier Beacon jacket is not just reflective or hi-vis. It’s actually a step-up from that because it has integrated lights!

Yep, the Beacon is the pioneer of performance cycling jackets to have integrated LED technology. It has done so by fitting 160-lumen ultra-high intensity white lights into the jacket’s chest panel and 22-lumen ultra-high brightness red lights into the jacket’s tail – all rechargeable via USB.

On slow flash, the lights have up to 72 hours of charge and can even boast a 120-degree viewing angle for other road users.

A hydrophobic fabric with DWR finish means rain is no match for this jacket either, while its close fit makes it perfect for intense, winter training rides and it comes in both a men's and women's cuts.

Buy the Metier Beacon jacket from Metier for £250

Ale Iridescent reflective jacket | £200

When the light begins to settle as the sun begins to disappear behind the horizon, Ale’s iridescent reflective jacket comes into its own. The chameleon finish helps its wearer become a beacon, glowing reflected artificial light to other road users.

A packable jacket, you can stuff this in your pocket as an insurance policy for if the weather turns or the light begins to fade. And with its pro ‘Italian’ cut, it’s not going to slow you down when you have it on either.

The cut is unisex and we recommend going up a size as Ale clothing is notoriously snug.

Buying a reflective and hi-vis cycling jacket for winter: What to consider

Before purchasing a hi-vis jacket for cycling, you need to consider a few things.

Firstly, the classic yellow hi-vis jacket is really only worthwhile during the daytime. If you are after a jacket for evening and night riding, you need to be looking at options with integrated reflective panelling.

Secondly, as previously mentioned, some jackets will look to integrate further technologies to ensure they may be waterproof and wind-resistant or to ensure they are light and breathable enough to be worn on the weekend training ride. These things will also likely see the price bump up.

Finally, fit and shape will also vary. Some manufacturers cut their hi-vis options baggy to allow plenty of room for layers underneath, while others will look for a closer race fit which is more beneficial for weekend riding. There will even be options that look more like a jacket you would wear off the bike than on it, geared towards the commuting market.

Below are a selection of the best reflective cycling jackets for both commuting and weekend riding.

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