PROVIZ REFLECT360 CRS PLUS JACKET
627g Large £149.99 Blue (also available in Green and Red)
Gone are the days when the luminous security of Proviz Reflect 360 had a touch of the space suit when out of the headlights. The CRS Plus jacket adds a choice of more subtle daylight colours – with no reduction in night time visibility – as well as improved breathability. I’ve found it functional, effective and great for commute and general riding.
Pros: a high-quality all-rounder.
Cons: relatively expensive, may be too generic for some.
Polyester mesh inner and polyester shell are pretty much what I’d expect. Having said that Proviz are keen to point out the highly waterproof and breathable nature of the fabric. This might not be the jacket for touring in the middle of winter, but it aims to be much more than a commuting garment. Quite right, too, you might say, at £149.99, but there are many neat features and the fundamentals are very sound.
A hybrid of legendary Reflect 360 and CRS jackets, car headlights will make you visible from outer space – well, you know what I mean – let alone from behind the wheel of a vehicle. Take a look at their Reflect360 Shoe Covers, for example. Even better, there’s much more in the way of technical features to enhance climate control and general comfort.
Round your neck there’s a micro-fleece collar, with a zip-garage to keep your chin smooth. The full-length zip has an internal storm flap; elsewhere the seams are sealed. Now that’s a bit of a compromise with breathability – Stolen Goat's Grid Jacket, for example, eschews the sealed seams in favour of added breathability – but there’s a back flap and underarm zipped vents to compensate.
Cuffs are semi-elasticated, with the familiar Velcro closures. Back length is sensible, reaching below the hips, without the tail favoured by some.
There’s more than the average number of pockets, too. A trad rear pocket with two side pockets and a couple more on the chest.
I took measurements and consulted the size guide on the website. Within, but toward the upper limit of, large, I decided against going a size up and opted for a large size from the range of XS to XXXL.
This was a mistake – my mistake, I hasten to add. I generally prefer a more generous fit. I get into the large ok, but less diplomatic friends tell me it looks tight. Not that it has stopped me from riding comfortably with a base-layer and mid-layer. So, check things out and think carefully.
The sleeves are a good length, sealing over gloves – even those with a less than generous cuff.
Comfortable at 4C over my Light Blue Classic Road Jersey and Altura Thermocool Base-layer, I’ve found a similar combination effective down to around 1C. Clearly, commuting civvies – including Tucano Urbano’s Polo Nord base-layer - have kept things warm, but an extra size up would have suited me better when going straight from bike into more formal contexts: or ndeed for heavy-weight technical layering.
The testing season – winter – hasn’t allowed much in the way of warm weather. However, getting up to around fifteen to sixteen mph, with occasional bursts up to twenty, have seen things keep pretty temperate on mild days, say around 7C. Just remember that a technical shell benefits from technical layer beneath.
Pushing hard on longer climbs you’d expect a bit of clamminess, just as you’d expect a bit of a chill when hurtling down the other side. So, this isn’t really a jacket for extremes. However, it is very effective. On that front, apart from the Velcro cuffs and front zip, climate control is not easy on the fly. The back-vent works best with a through flow, for example when the zip is not fully pulled up.
There’s no doubting waterproofing. Squalls have passed by and longer periods of steady rain have made no impact.
I’ll admit to really liking the two chest pockets. Keys, phone, that sort of item – even a wallet – a re swallowed; there’s a Tardis-like quality. They’re easy to get into on the fly, and so have also contained energy chews and such-like. Side pockets have a tiny fob on the zip, so become a home for less frequented items. Whilst the rear pocket is smaller than some, combined with the rest, that does not really matter too much, in my opinion.
On the whole, this is an excellent commuting jacket, with potential for wider general riding, longer audaxes with many miles in the dark, even touring. Seeking out even more breathability will aid speedsters and expedition tourers, but given its brief, this is a grand all-round jacket full of features to like.
I’ve wiped off dirt with a damp cloth after riding sans mudguards on gravel excursions, and this has been pretty effective. A wash is required for more ingrained muck. This is a technical garment, so follow the instructions. Don’t expect it to dry quickly; overnight has been my experience, after a machine wash.
Combining elements of Proviz’s most successful jackets, it is no surprise that the Reflect360 CRS Plus is very good in a number of different circumstances. You’ll find cheaper jackets doing some of the things it does, but I can’t think of one – of hand - that combines such reflectivity with technical features of this standard. Having said that, there are similarly priced jackets, and more expensive ones, that will suit “specialists” better. However, if you like general riding and often find yourself in the urban jungle, you’ll find this hard to beat.