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Castelli Commute Reflex Jacket Men’s
365g XL Light Black £280

The Castelli Commute Reflex Jacket is primarily aimed at, surprise, surprise, the commuter. Fully reflective it is ideal for getting you seen on those night-time or early morning rides to work. However, it is a quality garment that has more to offer than utility cycling requires and I’ve used it for day rides, although multi-day tours demand a bit more climate control. I could see its slim fit suiting winter trainers, too. Let’s face it, £280 would be a lot of money for a jacket suitable only for commuting: this is a very effective garment. Castelli say that they aim to bring their high standards of design to your daily commute, well, they have pretty much succeeded.


Pros: light, highly reflective, waterproof, good for layering.


Cons: price, no vents.

jacket cycling bike gear commute castelli reflective

Spec and materials 4.75/5

Available in Dark Steel Blue, Light Black (no, I refuse to be pedantic – which is unusual), and Fiery Red, it is neither hi-viz nor likely to get you mistaken for an off-duty astronaut, as some all-round reflective jackets once did. I’m not a great fan of dark tops when it comes to cycling, but I remind myself that this is totally reflective and will light up at the first ray of head-light falling upon it. There’s a women’s model, too.

relecive jacket castelli commute test review

This is a three-layer jacket – as are many shell garments. Breathability is rated at 20000MTV and water-resistance 20000mm of water column. That is about as high as it goes. You’ll still get condensation, especially when working hard and at warmer temperatures, but it should even things out more quickly than lower ratings.


The collar is padded, which gives a comfortably snug fit; cuffs are secured by a Velcro tabs; both allow some adjustment for temperature control, as there are no vents. The full-length zip is protected by an external baffle. The fob is larger than some I’ve tested.


A less usual, but very well thought out, feature is the internal gaiter which allows the hem to hang naturally. When secured with its four press studs, it keeps the elements at bay: loosen it and you’ll get a pleasant ingress of fresh air.

tst review refective cycling jacket
test reviw reflective cycling jacket

There are two side pockets, a position suited to a more upright commuting position. There are no traditional rear pockets.


There’s no hood – which does not bother me, although, at this price point, one might expect the option of a detachable one.


Castelli state a temperature range of 2-15C, although what you wear underneath will have an impact on this.

Size and fit 4/5

Its available in sizes from S to XXXL. There’s a good size guide on the Castelli and Saddleback websites. Our XL was pretty much spot on, although I was at the top end. Many Castelli garments are aimed at the sports market. Those will generally have more stretch and be more figure hugging. The Commute Reflex isn’t. However, its more relaxed fit is still slimmer than some other jackets I’ve tested. If you are on the cusp, I’d tend to think larger, but the sizing chart seems pretty accurate. Castelli recommend consulting their size guide and warn against going by other manufacturers’ charts or guessing your ‘usual fit’.


I have fairly standard body proportions so back length was spot on. The cut is designed to fit over “normal” clothes. The back is suitably long. Overall, fit is just about spot on for the duties it is expected to perform.

Care and durability 3.5/5

Wash at 30C max and line dry in the shade. Easy enough. I tend toward mild liquid detergents and technical washes for gear like this. After all, why spoil a big investment for the sake of a few pounds? First wash was after a rainy morning ride – Storm Ciaran – so drying was indoors. Kept away from heat sources – as it should be – the main body of the jacket was dry enough to wear in a couple of hours. As you’d expect the gaiter, cuffs, and especially the collar took much longer Fully, dry in seven hours indoors: this was cut to two and a half on a breezy day outdoors – even, as recommended – in the shade.


I have managed to avoid scraping the brickwork of low canal towpath bridges and the brambles on the more overgrown sections. Frankly, I’d be careful with anything this pricy, even though it seems pretty robust.

Performance 4.75/5

With a long-sleeved cycling jersey underneath, a steady 14-17mph on mixed surfaces with some hills was comfortably achieved without too much sweat. Breathability seemed very effective, with a touch of additional temperature control courtesy of the front zip. The air temperature was 7C, but things felt suitably warm. The zip was easily manipulated with full-finger winter gloves (a bit over the top at 7C, but a good test) after a bit of initial fumbling. When the temperature rose to 14C, things felt a tad clammy. I should have worn a lighter-weight shirt. How low does it go? Well, there’s room for good old-fashioned layering. Technical thermal garments for base and mid layer worked well when the mercury descended to a fraction below 0C.

test review catelli cycling jacket reflective

Wearing civilian gear under the jacket worked very well. I was very surprised by the effective wicking over a pure cotton shirt. There’d have been space for a jacket, but 10C argued against wearing it. Even attempting to maintain 20mph on a half-mile incline only produced limited moisture, which soon dissipated. Shirt and Reflex Commute Jacket were dry by the time I got home some ten minutes later. Wearing an office-dress-code jacket as a mid-layer proved uncomfortably bulky and a bit too warm even with the temperature around 4C. however, a cotton shirt and light wool pullover produced surprisingly pleasant results. I tend to over-heat quickly; undoing the grippy internal skirt offers some venting, as did loosening the cuffs.


Heavy rain runs off the jersey, with the inner skirt working effectively (as opposed to jackets that have a draw string hem) to keep run-off away from lower garments when off the bike or, when on the bike, away from the rump.


You would, of course, expect a waterproof jacket to protect from the rain. This is enhanced by the snug fit of the collar. I’d initially thought this was a tad tight, but, with zip pulled right up, it never felt uncomfortable. Even with it loosened a little there was no drip of water down my neck.


Reflectivity is great. You can’t ask for more. I’d have preferred the red model for better visibility on grey-days. The darker shades are undoubtedly trendier, but no one has ever described me as fashionable. At night and in low light, if this jacket cannot get you seen, we have a big problem!


The pockets suit a more upright commuting position and will take your wallet, keys etc. things don’t get in the way when riding over the hoods, either.

Value 4/5

The obvious starting point for comparison is the ProViz Reflect 360 Plus CRS Jacket. Not the original fully reflective jacket, but still a benchmark, it is half the price of the Castelli Commute. However, I found it was not so great on climate control and it lacks some of the finer features found at a higher price point. Despite that, it remains a very effective commuting jacket.


BTR Sports offer a fully reflective jacket for a penny short of fifty pounds. However, it does not have the weatherproofing or the level of breathability that the Reflex Commute has.


I,ve used Altura Nightvision jackets for many years, and they are robust and highly effective with their hi-viz options scoring well for dull day-times. They do not have the strong breathability of the Reflex Commute and reflectivity is not as great – although reflective stripes and chevrons can grab attention very effectively.


Overall, for the hell and high-water commuter or for the longer commute, the Castelli Reflex Commute Jacket is a big but sound investment, in my opinion.


Shelling out £280 for a shell jacket is quite an investment. Designated as a commuter jacket, it is not a one trick pony, and the regular rider who heads out in wet weather during the hours of darkness – for work, leisure, or training - will not have wasted their money – and you may even find a discount.

Verdict 4.5/5 Outstanding jacket for commuting, and more.


Steve Dyster





Ryton On Dunsmore

Coventry  CV8 3FH


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