The Vulpine Men's Insulated Riding Overshirt is a very good option for urban use, coming with some subtle cycle-friendly features that are handy when you're on the bike while looking neat and presentable when you get off it.
> Buy the Insulated Riding Overshirt from Vulpine for £100
Let's first establish the sort of situation where this overshirt is going to come in useful, and also when it won't. It's made of cotton rather than a technical fabric so it's not a great option if you're likely to work up much of a sweat; it's more suited to short urban commutes or those times when you're nipping around town on a bike and don't want the hassle of changing clothes. It's the sort of thing you could wear to the shops, at the office, or in a pub. You know, everyday life.
So what makes this overshirt cycle-specific?
One of the main things is that the body is insulated with recycled polyester wadding. This covers the whole of the front and the back below the yoke. There's no padding on the arms, so you can think of it as if you're wearing a shirt with a lightweight, integrated gilet.
The insulation adds just a touch of volume and the extra warmth is appreciable in use. There's no windproofing here so chilly evening breezes still get through when you're riding downhill, but you certainly feel warmer than in a normal single-thickness shirt. You could always slip a lightweight windproof over the top, of course, for cooler days.
> 10 of the best windproof cycling jackets — packable outer layers to keep out the chill
The back is cut long, keeping you covered when you stretch forward to the handlebars.
There's zero chance you're going to get exposed skin here, while the body and arms are pretty slim so you don't get loads of annoying flapping when you pick up speed.
Two zipped hand warmer pockets at the front come in useful off the bike and there's a rear pocket that's large enough to take any mobile phone. This one is so well concealed I didn't even realise it was there for the first couple of weeks... the zip is hidden in one of the seams for the side panel.
The quality is high throughout. You get Vulpine embossed buttons, for example, and all but the top two on the shirtfront are hidden behind a placket. You can choose between two different buttons at the cuffs. The tighter option helps stop draughts from getting in when you're on the bike.
There's also a Vulpine logo embroidered on the yoke and a V-circle logo on the left sleeve. They're both blue on blue so they're understated rather than shouty. There's a small amount of reflective piping sewn into each cuff, although it looks grey until it catches the light so, again, it's pretty subtle, and you get a couple of spare buttons inside.
There's really not a great deal of clothing out there designed for on-the-bike and off-the-bike use, although Rapha offers an Insulated Overshirt that's vaguely similar in scope. That has a windblocking outer fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating and a Polartec Alpha lining for warmth, though, so it's more hardcore than Vulpine's. It also looks a little less office-ish, in my opinion (it depends to some extent on the office, of course) and is priced at £150, although reduced to £75 at the time of writing (not available in all sizes).
The Vulpine Men's Insulated Riding Overshirt achieves what it sets out to achieve. This isn't a highly technical garment that's packed with features, but it will help you stay comfortable on spring/autumn and summer evening rides in town, and doesn't look out of place when you get off the bike.
Smart overshirt with a few subtle cycle-friendly features for low-intensity urban riding
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Make and model: Vulpine Mens Insulated Riding Overshirt
Tell us what the product is for
Vulpine describes this as: "A lightweight insulated shirt, ideal for changeable spring weather and cool summer evenings.
"An elegant design, incorporating Corozo Vulpine buttons and ample storage. Adapted for cycling with longer cut at the back, whilst looking as good in the office as it does on a bike."
I think that sums it up pretty well.
The same shirt is available in black chambray.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Vulpine lists these features:
Wide baffle stitched insulated body panels with recycled Polyester wadding insulation
Reflective piping details at cuffs, to aid low light visibility
3 x pockets - 2 front zippered hand warmer pockets & 1 invisible rear zipped pocket
Corozo Vulpine logo buttons with 'V'stitching
Made for riding, cut longer at the rear
Printed care info (no scratchy labels)
Vulpine embroidered logo at rear yoke
V circle embroidered logo on sleeve
Main: 100% Cotton
Insulation: 100% Recycled Polyester
Rate the product for quality of construction:
It all looks very neatly made.
Rate the product for performance:
It's not designed to be the most technical, high-performance item of clothing ever, it's supposed to look good while offering a few cycle-friendly features; and that's what it does.
Rate the product for durability:
It's all looking good so far.
Rate the product for fit:
The body and arms are cut reasonably slim so flapping isn't an issue when you're riding. The rear is cut long so you'll have no gaps when you're on the bike.
Rate the product for sizing:
Vulpine's size guide worked well for me.
Rate the product for comfort:
It's a cotton shirt with extra insulation; all good.
Rate the product for value:
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You put it in the machine at 30° and it comes out like any other cotton shirt.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It doesn't have lofty goals – it aims to be an overshirt with a few cycle-friendly features, and it achieves this well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The insulation gives you a bit of extra warmth without affecting breathability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
'Dislike' would be strong but I think a more hardcore version with windproof front panels would be a welcome addition to the range.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's really not a great deal of clothing out there designed for on-the-bike and off-the-bike use, although Rapha offers an Insulated Overshirt that's vaguely similar in scope. This has a windblocking outer fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating and a Polartec Alpha lining for warmth, though, so it's more hardcore than Vulpine's. It also looks a little less office-ish, in my opinion (it depends to some extent on the office, of course) and is priced at £150, although reduced to £75 at the time of writing (not available in all sizes).
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 overall score
This is a really well made overshirt that puts in a good performance on the bike and looks neat when you get off it. That's a 7.
Age: 48 Height: 190cm Weight: 80kg
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
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