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Primal Onyx Wind Vest



Well made gilet at a decent price

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Primal Men's Onyx Wind Vest is a decent bit of kit for changeable conditions. It keeps the wind and rain out nicely, has a nice cut and is easy to store.

The last few months have been incredibly unpredictable. In one ride I experienced rain, hail, snow and bright sunshine; perfect to check out the Primal Men's Onyx Wind Vest.

Primal Onyx Wind Vest - collar.jpg

The first thing to mention about any kind of gilet is the fabric, and Primal have used their Altero fabric. It is wind and weather resistant and stood up to everything that my rides threw at it. As it's a gilet it is never going to be 100% waterproof (what with the arm holes), but in terms of wind proofing and for the areas it covered, it worked nicely and it certainly protected me well.

It was also relatively breathable and at some points (when I couldn't be bothered to take it off during a ride) I would wear it with a short sleeve jersey without feeling the need to remove it unless it got up to around 15 degrees. It is also helped by the two-way zipper, allowing me to not only zip down from the top, but also up from the bottom, increasing the ventilation. When you do need to take it off it also packs down relatively small too, although I have certainly used gilets that pack down smaller in the past.

Primal Onyx Wind Vest - pocket 2.jpg

The cut of the gilet is good, without being too racy as to make it look strange when off the bike, but close cut enough that I didn't notice any kind of flapping at speed. Space around the arm holes isn't too tight or baggy too, which means that it is both comfortable to wear for a long time and doesn't let in too much wind/rain.

The design, despite being a little billboard-y is quite nice. It has a large primal logo down the front and across the pockets at the rear. In addition to these there is a small high viz arrow at the top of the back, on the collar and on the wind shield beneath the zip. I feel that they have missed a trick not making these large logos high viz though, as they are so large and would not only increase visibility, but also their branding.

Primal Onyx Wind Vest - riding.jpg

Comfort is important, especially on longer rides and this is definitely one of the most comfortable gilets I have used. This is helped by the high collar which keeps out the wind nicely, but also has a soft microfleece lining. The arm openings are also slightly elasticated, so it doesn't dig into your armpits. Unlike others I have used, it doesn't have silicone grippers to prevent it riding up, but I didn't find it doing so to any large extent.

At the rear of the jersey there are also three large pockets that were large enough for anything I needed, even with arm and leg warmers inside too.

Primal Onyx Wind Vest - back.jpg

The gilet comes with an RRP of £45, which is a good price for something of this quality. It doesn't have the rain mac feel that you often find on lower end filets and the material is more similar to a soft-shell jacket, which you don't tend to find too often at this price point.

You can also get this gilet as part of Primal's custom kit range if you're buying for a club - indeed it is available in  in colours from the shop. Our resident whippet, Dave Arthur, comments that the size S isn't small enough for him, so very lean riders will want to take that into account.

Overall, I was impressed with this gilet. The cut is really nice and the high collar combined with good fabric choice makes it good in changeable conditions. Perhaps the level of branding won't be to everyone's taste and it could pack down smaller, but all in all these are forgivable, with the other elements making up for these shortcomings.


Well made gilet at a decent price

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Make and model: Primal Onyx Wind Vest

Size tested: Medium, Black

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?

Primal say - 'A lightweight and packable wind and water resistant vest that you can easily stow in a jersey pocket or back-pack.'

I would say that this is accurate, keeping out most of the wind and rain that were thrown at it and it packed down to a decent sized package.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Altero Fabric - wind & water resiatnt

Microfleece Lined Collar

2-Way Exposed YKK Zipper

3 Rear Cargo Pockets

Weight 90g

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Seems well made, strong zippers have been used and have a good action. Stitching also appears to be strong and I never had any worries about it. Fabric also seems to be robust and durable.

Rate the product for performance:

I was happy with how it performed, kept out the wind and rain whilst also remaining comfortable and breathable.

Rate the product for durability:

Well made with a good zip and good quality material, unlikely to break or rip any time soon.

Rate the product for fit:

The cut on this was great. It fitted well and there was no excess material to get caught in the wind.

Rate the product for sizing:

My medium size fitted like any other medium I have used in the past.

Rate the product for weight:

Weighs in at 147g, which is slightly more than others, but at the same time the material is thicker and better quality.

Rate the product for comfort:

Very comfortable, the fleece lined collar and decent cut mean that it was really nice to wear.

Rate the product for value:

Represents good value for money given the material used and protection is affords. Others are cheaper but wouldn't be of the same quality.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Responded fine, there were no issues at all after I washed it, doesn't require anything special.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performed well, keeping more or less everything out that it needed to. It was also comfortable to wear for long periods thanks to some nice comfort elements and breathability.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I liked the cut, not too close fit but also looked classy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Huge amount of branding on the gilet wasn't to my liking.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

A decent jersey that did everything I needed it to. The material used is nice and it keeps out almost everything that's thrown at it. Loses a few marks on the billboard-esque branding though.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

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