VISIJAX LED GILET

290g inc battery Large (as tested) £51.99

The Visijax LED gilet is a lightweight model available in either neon yellow or black with integrated LED lighting. Thankfully the compact, rechargeable battery is removable, thus permitting 30 degree machine washes when that grimy road-warrior patina starts looking a little too authentic. 

Bold scotchlite detailing also ensures maximum presence, bringing the garment to life when graced by vehicle or street lighting. The Visijax range also includes ICE technology (In Case Emergency). These are designed to be programmed with your details, including those of a nominated contact and any significant medical info. This data can be summoned up by holding a smart phone over the zipper tag. 

 

Hopefully none of us will ever need it, though this could be a lifesaver in the event of an accident. It’s pretty straightforward to set up but thankfully, Visijax have included an almost foolproof video on their site https://www.visijax.com/product/iceid-tags/ . By contrast, the garment is made from 100% polyester. 

Compared with the Pro-Viz 360  materials feel a little thin, we’re told this permits year round use, offering defence against early season chill, while the mesh rear panel supposedly optimises wicking during more intense, prolonged efforts.

No surprise then that ventilation is good. I’ve regularly bowled along at a steady 20mph in temperatures between 10 and 12 degrees without feeling remotely clammy and the shell offered reasonable defence against chill on icy descents.

           

Sizing is pretty accurate and the online size chart takes the gamble out of online purchases. Well, almost. I stand 1.81m and, though broad across the shoulders, am proportionally much shorter in the torso, which can make things trickier.

On paper, large seemed the best bet. I prefer a racing snakes cut, this proved a little looser and offered greater protection to the lower back. In practice, even hunkered low on blustery descents, the gillet never fluttered like a builder’s tarp and permitted an additional layer on those bitterly cold (between minus 2 and minus 7 degrees) rides.

Pockets are limited to two.  The rear’s simple mesh terrace will swallow spare tube, tyre levers keys, energy bar and relatively lightweight multi-tool. More and contents bounced around like a playful Labrador - mildly annoying when bombing along lumpy lanes. Otherwise, the elasticated cuffs ensure secure tenure.

Up front, we have the “Nelson”. This manages 5inch smart phone/smaller compact cameras without feeling overburdened. I’ve not noticed any evidence of water/ingress on wet rides, so said tech, or cash should be pretty safe.

 

So then, to the electroluminescent technology ....

The lithium ion cell is also used in the commuter jacket, so fully interchangeable. Genuine replacements are also available for £15.95.  Charge times vary, depending on power source.

Completely drained, ours needed a full three hour main charge. Tack on another 20 mins or so when feeding from PCs/laptops. In return, Visijax say to expect up to twenty hours run time - potentially two to three weeks’ training or longer commuting. 

 

There are four settings - one steady, three pulsing/flashing, selected by successive prods of the huge red switch. I’ve had no problems commanding it mid-ride and wearing duvet-type lobster mitts.  Diodes give the heads up when reserves are dwindling, defaulting to a fast flicker and there’s enough leeway for most of us to get home, or to a charger!

Performance is excellent in all modes, although flashing is by far the most extroverted. Visijax suggest to around the 400 metre mark in a variety of lighting conditions. During an icy, foggy few weeks, I’d wager nearer 225, although this is still pretty impressive.

Drivers appeared to pick out the gillet in flashing modes before acknowledging my main, bike mounted lights (These range from 800 lumens plus up front, 30 lumens upwards rear) though most apparent along unlit lanes, even through town centres, with the usual competing illuminations, this only dipped by around 50 metres.

In the fastest flashing mode, I’ve managed 20hrs 23minutes, the low battery pulsing kicking in 45mins before powering down. Constant has returned ten hours, defaulting to pulsing 40minutes before reserves are completely depleted. The arc of light, when combined with the retro-reflective and day-glow seems good to 125 metres, even on murkier nights. In either mode, I felt a lot more conspicuous when tackling larger roundabouts.

Overall, the gilet has exceeded my expectations. True, the mesh and fabrics felt thinner and potentially more vulnerable to tearing than some. In practice this hasn’t been a problem in four weeks and over four hundred miles everyday use.

Some riders have suggested it’s a bit pricey, arguing a standard gilet could be pimped up with some store branded clip-on LEDs for a tenner or so less. However, when ICE and similar technology is added into the mix, the Visijax us neater and arguably represents better value.

Michael Stenning

Verdict: 4/5 Well-executed combination of gilet and safety system-great for commuting and training.

www.visijax.com

 

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2017

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