My word, aren't there a lot of windproof gilets out there these days? You have to do something special to stand out for the crowd. For my money, Ale has achieved this with the excellent Crossover Gilet.
In the old days you stuck a newspaper or an OS map down your shirt to keep the wind off on the descents, but in this age of GPS you have to go high-tech and in fact, the Crossover fits better in your back pocket than a copy of L'Equipe. At the size and weight of a burger, this is a gilet you can forget about until you need it.
When you do pull it out, the great news is that it doesn't come out looking like an old bin bag. The stretch fabric is remarkably resistant to crumpling so it always looks good when you are wearing it. Another bonus is that it doesn't crackle and flap in the wind. I had one gilet that was so noisy I had to wear it under my jersey to shut it up! The Ale only fluttered on the fastest descents, when the wind got under the shoulders a little; but for the most part, the tight stretchy fit keeps everything draught-proof and snug.
To keep the weight down, Ale has dispensed with pockets. Instead, it has put in some slits in the back that allow you to access your jersey pockets underneath. These have a baffle over the top to keep the weather out. I honestly didn't find the slits any more convenient than simply pulling the back up, and once or twice I managed to drop things on the floor trying to locate the pockets, so I didn't really bother after that.
I suppose the slits do offer a little ventilation too. That's just as well, because while the product description mentions a mesh-panel on the back, mine looked the same all over. Nor did I ever find the inside pocket which Ale claims you can easily store it in. I wonder if someone cut and pasted the wrong marketing spiel?
You get a double thickness of material at the neck and, while the zip does not have a baffle, I didn't find it scratchy when done up. The zip is weatherproof and let in no draughts.
Under the arms the fit is close without being tight, thanks to a softly elasticated hem. The waist is also elasticated and has a silicone grip all round. The cut is short enough at the front to allow a longer jersey to show below the hem, but that's only obvious off the bike.
The hems, while not flatlock, are double stitched and the Italian manufacturing quality looks good. The sizing, as usual with Italian goodies, is not generous but I found a large just right for me so don't go mad on the upsizing.
The Crossover Gilet comes in black and fluoro yellow, ideal for day wear, or black and white for reflectivity at night. Either way it looks purposeful and is a pleasing garment to pull on, with performance to match.
A winning mix of Italian style, quality materials, fit and performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ale Crossover Gilet (Mens) (SS16)
Size tested: Large
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?
Says Ale, "A brand new windfront vest that is suitable for many professional and amateur cyclists all over the world. This gilet is made of a super lightweight and technical material for the protection of the cyclist in every condition."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Compact, windfront and lightweight 3 layer material
* Easy to store in the inside pocket
* Central mesh panel on the back of the gilet
* An opening in the back of the gilet to reach the jersey pockets
Actually, this is the marketing blurb but the "inside pocket" and "mesh back" seem to belong to another garment, not that this seemed to impact on the performance.
No flat stitching on the seams but this didn't seem to be a problem in wear. Otherwise, very well made.
Yes, I found this really good in use - quiet, comfortable, wind resistant and a good fit. It looks good too.
It's hard to see how much could go wrong with this. The stitching is double all round so even when stretched over your paunch it shouldn't burst.
Snug and stretchy without being tight, this vest keeps out the wind without flapping or rustling.
I sometimes have to size up to XL on Italian brands, but the Ale fitted me perfectly in large.
100g on my scales, maybe not the absolute lightest but for the quality and protection it's amazing.
"Gasp! My 24 hour girdle! Oh - I've got it on!"
£75 sounded quite a lot to me for a vezzie, but looking through road.cc reviews I see most seem to fall between £40 and £100 so it's well within that range... plus an extra couple of points for being so good into the bargain.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Straight in with the usual sports wash, no issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good - close fitting to keep out the draughts without flapping; the stretchy material looks good even when you've just pulled it from your pocket, the high-vis is striking without making you look like a crossing patrol.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Rustle-free, non-crumpling, snug fit, good looks, good construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really but Ale's marketing blurb didn't seem to match the product.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A top vest that performs as well as it looks. The black-with-high-vis highlights make you look like you're out to burn up the roads, not dig them up.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking