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I've been using the Equipe Gilet for two or three years - on and off, like; not constantly -and it's one of my favourites for adding a bit of extra upper body warmth when the temperature drops.
Made from polyester, it keeps most of the wind out. Solo call it windproof; I'd call it wind resistant in that a small amount of air gets through, but that's fine, depending on the conditions. Sometimes you don't want to block the wind totally; you just want to keep most of it out while maintaining breathability. It's fairly water resistant too; enough to keep cope with road spray although you'll need a full-on waterproof if it starts hoofing down with rain.
You get solid panels everywhere except on the sides which are mesh for a little extra breathability, and the back extends down low enough for good butt coverage. The collar is high and close fitting, although not so tight it'll throttle you, and it comes with a microfleece inner facing that feels all soft and lovely on your neck, and the waist is elasticated so there are no gaps where draughts can get in.
The lockdown zip has a chunky puller that's easy to grab with gloved fingers and there's a discreet zipped pocket tucked away in one side. It's not big enough to carry all your ride essentials - you'll have to use your jersey pockets for that - but you can keep your phone or some cash in there so it's easy to get at.
Loads of reflective trim/print gets you seen at night although it's pretty subtle in daylight - it just looks grey. The large Solo logos, front and rear, are reflective and so are the zip, the armhole trim and a band across the waistband at the back. This gilet really does shine out in car headlights.
The quipe is cut pretty slim so you don't get any flapping when you head downhill, although there's not a lot of stretch in the fabric - just in those mesh side panels -so double-check Solo's size charts to make sure there's enough room. Available in blue and white as well as in red.
Stylish wind- and water-resistant gilet that does a good job
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Make and model: Solo Equipe Gilet
Size tested: Red
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?
Solo say: "The Solo quipe gilet is an absolutely essential item of cycle clothing. You'll wonder how you ever managed without one! It will keep your torso protected from wind, showers and the cold. The quipe gilet features a full-length reflective zip and Solo logos as well as reflective trim on the arm openings and rear. It folds up extremely small and can be stowed in one rear pocket of a standard cycle jersey. It has mesh side panels for ventilation and a small zippered side pocket - great for keys, phone or an energy gel to get you home. The Solo quipe gilet comes in three colour schemes designed to match your Classique or quipe jersey."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's not especially technologically advanced. You can buy Windstopper gilets that keep the air out completely, waterproof gilets, and some that are lighter than this. But I still like the quipe, especially for cool morning/evening rides. It does alright on all those fronts -it's wind resistant, water resistant and pretty light -although it's not a world beater on any of them. Plus, I like it because it looks cool - and I'm not apologising for that!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good. It's not the most technologically advanced gilet ever, but it doesn't pretend to be. Solo don't say this is some cutting-edge wonder fabric for extreme conditions. It's well made, it does a good job and it looks cool.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.