Techno-freaks won't get excited about the Vizavee retro-reflective Union Jack vest - it's essentially a very thin polyester waistcoat dressed in heat-transferred Scotchlite strips with Velcro closures.
While I missed refinements such as mesh pockets for keys, the medium was bang-on size-wise, weighed next to nothing and folded small enough to fit in bigger wedge packs.
Speaking of sizing, it's available in two; medium as tested and large, with a couple of pounds' difference in price. Now, I've a forty-one inch chest, thirty-two waist and found the medium agreed with my cycling specific wardrobe but the bigger would be better for those commuting in street garb or on mopeds.
The classic road-worker orange burns like a very bright beacon through early mornings and late evenings when its just that bit too light for lights but you need to remain conspicuous.
Whatever your feelings about the Union Jack, it's hard to think of a more effective pattern. Covering a huge surface area ours nailed driver attention at three hundred yards (assuming you're not wearing a rucksack) along suburban/rural stretches, dropping to around 180 through town.
Rain sees the vest saturated in a matter of minutes - fine if we're talking sharp showers since it dries just as quickly but an unexpected, sustained downpour might make you a little chilly.
Simple but extremely effective visibility aid.
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Make and model: Vizavee Reflective Union Jack Vest
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Vizavee 'Union Jack' style Orange fluoro and reflective safety vest. Perfect for cycling from the Queen's Jubilee party to the London Olympics (you'd be cycling fairly slowly as they're a few weeks apart). Size L £19.99. Fly the Fluoro Flag!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polyester waistcoat, heat transferred Scotchlite strips.
No obvious weak-spots over the test period.
No obvious weaknesses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the garment. It packs small enough to fit inside most bike luggage, the dayglo brings welcome presence during overcast conditions while those strips work to maximum effect when graced by vehicle head lamps. But there's little protection from the elements,which could invite a chill.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Extremely effective design that packs very small.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little spartan perhaps-a mesh pocket for keys and similar overspill would be welcomed.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)