I just got my first cycling gilet! Why has it taken this long to discover the awesomeness of the gilet?
When you first get into cycling, the range of clothing can be a bit daunting. Like some strange new S&M club but without the pvc and latex, there’s some pretty mind boggling garments. I still can’t get my head around arm warmers.
A gilet isn’t too strange. Even normal people wear “bodywarmers”, so there’s nothing too weird about sleeveless tops. Topless sleeves though (arm warmers? Bit weird. Like stockings for your arms. Weird.
How this review came about.
Wiggle contacted me asking if I’d like to review some of their dhb gear. I already owned several bits of dhb gear: bib shorts, 3/4 bib shorts, full winter bib tights, windproof long sleeve jacket and a fleece lined skull cap thing.
DHB is only sold by Wiggle, it’s their in-house brand, and I’ve always thought of it as the perfect balance between quality and cost. Basically, it’s really good gear for the price!
Why I chose a cycling gilet.
When Wiggle contacted me, there was a big list of items to choose from including the new pro range of tops and bib shorts.
As it’s March, and it can still be rather cool first thing in the mornings, I decided on something very practical to help take the edge off those lower temperatures, and to try something new. The gilet seemed an obvious choice.
The dhb Flashlight Gilet review
On first opening the package, what struck me was how lightweight the garment was. This is certainly not going to weigh you down!
The front of the gilet is made of the magical wind proof stuff, with the rear being a lighter mesh, to allow heat to escape. You’re not going to get a sweaty back in this!
A soft, almost velvety collar zips up to protect your neck.
A word about the zip – there’s little more annoying in a garment than an awkward zip. Especially if you want to try zipping this up as you ride along (which I did manage to do – uphill, albeit in a rather wobbly fashion!)
I’m pleased to say the zip on the dhb Flashlight gilet is excellent and works as you’d want it to. No sticking, no snagging the material and getting jammed, no coming undone too easily. It’s just right.
The Flashlight gilet comes in three colour options. I’m not a fan of the day-glo bright colours, and so I chose the “charcoal” version. Hi-viz reflectives make a massive difference if it’s dark enough for cars to be using their lights, and the Flashlight gilet has some 3M reflective patches, mainly to improve visibility from the side.
There are two smaller reflectives on the front, at the collarbone level.
This is my main criticism of this item. The name “Flashlight” implies visibility, safety, being easily seen. The problem is that very little of the reflective material points to the rear. To be fair, the large side reflectives are partially visible from behind but there is surely scope to add more explicit reflectives on the rear, either across the shoulders or at waist level.
Perhaps the Flashlight Gilet #2 will rectify this.
I own another jacket aimed at the hi-viz market. The Altura Night Vision Jacket. You cannot fault it for anything, in terms of visibility. It’s superb. The DHB designers need to take note.
I’ve got a unique barometer of fashion – it’s called a 16 year old son who will take the mickey out of anything he deems uncool.
When he first saw me in the dhb Flashlight gilet, he actually said it looked good. That’s massive praise!
My wife also commented on it positively.
I read some other reviews that were critical of the fit, suggesting it was a rather baggy cut, and not slim enough. This wasn’t my perception, and if it were slimmer it may have felt tight and restrictive, which it certainly did not.
Never mind what it looks like. What difference does it make whilst riding?
The first couple of rides wearing the gilet were in pleasant but cool weather. Sunny, but with air temperatures of about 6 or 7 degrees, which meant that with wind chill on a descent, it would feel far colder. This was perfect for testing the gilet, and precisely the reason I decided to review it.
Whilst we’re still in that period when the winter is over, but it’s definitely not summer yet (most people call it spring!), I figured the gilet would be a godsend.
And I was right.
Just that simple difference of having another layer around your core makes a massive difference. Especially on descents, you get to retain more of the heat you built up on the ascent, but without feeling that you’re getting too hot and sweaty.
I did find myself getting a bit warm on a long ascent, but thanks to the quality of the zip, it was simple to open the gilet up safely with one hand, without it sticking.
If the weather were to warm up significantly, the gilet will easily fit into your jersey pocket. It packs down very small indeed.
What surprised me most was that after a few rides in my new gilet, I genuinely considered it an essential item. Why have I not bothered with one before now??
Would I recommend the dhb Flashlight gilet?
Absolutely yes. I wish I’d had it prior to the winter.
For autumn and spring riding, particularly when it’s colder at the beginning and end of the day, this gilet is an essential item.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Wiggle, in that the items were supplied to me free of charge, for the purposes of writing an online review.
Please understand that my reputation with my audience is way more important to me than getting a few freebies from retailers or manufacturers.
What this means, is that I will never EVER write something that doesn’t reflect my true personal opinion on something. I will never hype up a product or exaggerate its qualities to try to drive more sales. My aim is to present my honest opinion, and for you to feel that you can make a better informed decision as a result.
Links to the product are affiliate links, which means if you actually bought two, I’d probably get paid enough for a cup of coffee. Cheers!