Club Ride's Cross Vest is an eye-catching gilet that serves its purpose well. The 100% polyester fabric is windproof yet breathable, and also has a coating so that rain beads well on it. This is adequate to keep your core dry in light showers, but it's not designed to withstand heavy downpours. Clearly it will wear off with repeated machine washing, as with any item of clothing.
The fabric (colour Chrome) is a rather snazzy space-age silver, with a contrasting interior magenta trim. Added style points are the ruching on the front panels that accentuate the waist, and the olive shoulder inserts that are reminiscent of a shooting jacket. (Anyone for a spot of clay pigeon shooting?) These inserts are made of a stretchy fabric, ideal for under the straps of a backpack.
The body of this gilet is made of the same material front and back – no mesh panels at the rear – which makes it more suited to cooler temperatures than high summer rides, when I prefer just the front of my body protected from the wind. As gilets go, the Cross Vest is not overly long. At the front it sits above my hips, and the slightly dropped back comes down about 3-4 inches to just below the hips. If you like to ride in the drops then you might find it a little short at the back.
I had a slight issue with the gilet riding up. Both the hem and arm holes are made of the same stretchy fabric and neither are tight. This is a plus for the arms, but means I found myself pulling the hem down. Partly the riding up is caused by the zip bulging forward around the belly button, by about 3 inches, when done up. I think this is due in turn to the full length storm flap, reflective strip and internal magenta trim combining to make the zip area quite stiff. Incidentally, being an American brand, the zip does up on the other way than normal, but you soon get used to it.
Bike-friendly features on the Cross Vest are plentiful. For starters, there are lots of reflective elements: the full length strip by the zip, 6 inch strips on both sides of the rear pocket, a strip by the chest pocket, a brand tag to the side and the logo on the chest. Then there are the two zipped pockets. The rear is amply sized to fit phone, keys, small wallet and a banana, say, and has a decent length zip toggle to make accessing it easy on the bike. I like the chest pocket, perfect for some cash and my train ticket on commuting days.
I like the nice snug fit at the neck to keep draughts out, and there's no chance of snagging clothing or skin because the storm flap extends over into a zip baffle. It's worth mentioning I sized down from the gilet in the photos as the cut is quite generous, so I'd advise opting for the smaller one if you're between sizes. It's not a body-hugging style though, despite its description as 'sport fit'.
The price is very reasonable considering all the tech and features, and it's a great gilet that is a refreshing design, for casual riding, touring and commuting.
Very well finished and stylish gilet with lots of bike-friendly features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Club Ride Cross Vest Womens Gilet
Size tested: Medium, Women's Club Ride Gillet, Chrome
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Club Ride's ethos is to make clothes that perform technically on the bike yet look casual enough to wear off the bike without making you stand out in a crowd. This gilet is a perfect example of this – full of clever details yet a good-looking piece of attire.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind2O™ - breathable, lightweight, wind-resistant, rip-stop fabric
/ DWR finish, water-resistant
/ Dropped back
/ Zippered chest pocket
Zippered rear pocket
/ RideLight™ reflective accents
/ Sport fit
Seams and stitching all very well finished.
The fabric is ripstop.
Only niggle is the tendency for the front hem to ride up, due to the zip bulging forward.
Well priced considering you can pay £70-£100 for a gilet, although there are of course cheaper ones too, but they tend to be more basic than the Cross Vest.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This gilet does what you expect of one - it keeps your core protected from windchill, and to a lesser extent, rain with its water-resistant coating. The pockets are well sized and useful too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stylish appearance that's different from the norm, the snug neck, handy chest pocket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, except the niggle of the slight zip bulge.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 170cm Weight: 58kg
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Audax