Proviz PixElite Softshell jacket – review

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Proviz PixElite Softshell jacket – review

A highly capable all-round winter jacket with a super high-vis twist

The headline feature of Proviz’s jacket is the PixElite fabric incorporated into the arms, sides, shoulders and lower back. This means when riding in the dark the jacket lights up when caught in the beam of a car’s headlights. But it’s not just a bit of kit for when the light’s low, as it’s windproof and water resistant to boot, making it a great choice for early morning or evening training rides in autumn, through winter, and into spring.

For the most part, the PixElite jacket is made from a soft stretch mix of polyester and elastane with a brushed thermal microfibre lining. The exceptions are the undersides of the sleeves, across the shoulders, around the collar and the three rear pockets that have an infusion of the PixElite fabric. PixElite is a super reflective fibre that’s woven through the material and makes it look like it’s been covered in silver dots. But it’s not until you’re out in the dark that you realise just how effective it is. It’s like whole areas of the jacket have been covered in Scotchlite. The difference s that PixElite is extremely flexible, being part of the material itself rather than an add-on, and shouldn’t crack over time nor does it disrupt the fit.

The Proviz PixElite jacket’s subtle styling may not catch your eye by day…

As mentioned above, the jacket comes with the standard three pockets at the back, with the middle one having an extra zipped compartment on the outside. Zipped pockets are always a welcome addition to a jacket, but this one’s a bit difficult to use when you have the jacket on. There is another zipped pocket on the left side of the chest, which is far more useable.

Another small touch is on the inside where there’s a loop on the right shoulder to guide a headphone cable, but with this being the only one there’s no easy way to guide it accurately down to the pockets.

…but as soon as the jacket’s hit by light the vast reflective sections pop

The elasticated cuffs do an excellent job stopping any colder air encroaching up the sleeves and the non-slip silicone hem does a similar job. Those finishing touches continue with the ‘zip garage’ – a small piece of material covering the zip when the jacket is done all the way up that stops it rubbing on the neck. It’s a small but important feature and one that makes a real difference in comfort.

And that lack of draft along with the brushed lining of the jacket helps to keep the rider really warm. Early morning rides when the temperature hasn’t risen above single figures have been fine, and that’s aided by the snug fit.

When the weather’s turned wet, the jacket’s been a bit hit and miss. The sleeves, front and tops of the shoulders are remarkably waterproof, so much so that rain simply beads and rolls off. Now that’s fine as long as you’re riding into the rain, but if you have a lot of road spray or the rain’s approaching from a less accommodating angle water soon finds its way through the back panel of the jacket and the rear of the collar. Still, it’s not billed as a waterproof jacket and does a fair job in a shower, but it’s fair to say you won’t want to test it out for too long in much more than that, when you’ll instead want a waterproof shell to pull on.

While the zipped rear pocket is a little tricky to access, the chest pocket is a handy addition

The only minor gripe I have – and it’s a personal one, really – is with the sizing. Normally, I’m on the edge between medium and large for upper body bike wear, but the Italian manufacturer of the PixElite has followed traditional Euro sizing which means you should think about sizing up if you want a big of wriggle room in a piece which otherwise has a snug, racy cut. Obviously, if you try before you buy this wont be a problem.

Conclusion

With the PixElite, Proviz have created a jacket that makes me feel a lot safer than usual when out on early morning rides. The slightest light is reflected by the jacket and the inclusion of the PixElite fabric along the entire length of the arms means that turn signals can be seen by any following motorists. That, combined with its warmth, mean the Proviz PixElite could well become one of my ‘go-to’ winter jackets.

Pros

– Highly reflective
– Warm and draft-free

Cons

– Watch out for Italian sizing
– Difficult zippered rear pocket

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