Briko WS Vest
Italian clothing company Briko have been making underwear for skiers, road cyclists and mountain bikers for as long as they have been making glasses, gloves and helmets. They are experts in this field and this vest shows all their experience in cut, design and finishing.
This undervest came with a very handy Windstopper speed/wind chill chart that will frighten the beejezus out of you. It was certainly 0° this morning, so at my top feeble commuting speed of 30km/h there was a wind chill factor of -14°. Brrrr.
Windstopper is a wonder-fabric designed by Gore (those clever people who gave us Gore Tex) Basically it is wind proof membrane that allows body heat out, but the chilly wind bounces off it. Anyone who has worn a wetsuit will tell you that it’s bloody cold until the layer of water next to your skin has had a chance to heat up, then you feel warmer as the neoprene insulates you. Windstopper does a similar thing it allows you to sweat to warm you up but prevents the wind from freezing the sweat to you. Normally you will have to leave the house in 3 or 4 layers to keep -14° out, but with Windstopper you will basically need less layers.
The flat lock seams and soft polyester fabric feel very comfortable next to the skin and although the Windstopper front doesn’t stretch too much the cut was very comfy. I especially liked the high ‘turtle’ neck, long back and sleeves.
Usually when the winter wind blows at you and you are wet with sweat it’s not very comfortable. After you have been sitting in a cafe for an hour it can be unbearable. But I found this undervest to keep everything out. Even at under 0° the only thing that was a little cold were my arms. This long sleeve will be especially welcome for those early season road races or time trials as you will get away with less to wear and won’t have top dress like a mountaineer.
Do follow the washing instructions as I think I washed it too hot the first time, but it doesn’t seem to need much more than 30° to get it smelling fresh, something that many synthetic undervests suffer with and although it is pilling a little after a few washes it remains comfortable and warm.
This is a great winter under vest and combined with a decent jacket you’ll have plenty of protection from the cold wind, even when it’s raining. £40 is quite a lot for a vest, but this will take the place of an extra layer so will help you feel lighter and you’ll have more freedom to move which is a very good thing in cold weather. Far better than a Christmas jumper…