Review: Sugoi Zap Jacket

Sugoi Zap night

Sugoi means “terrific” in Japanese. I would agree that their Zap Collection line is pretty terrific. The entire clothing line has reflective fibers sewn into it and the results are illuminating (pun intended).

Sugoi Zap night

The Women’s Sugoi Zap Waterproof Jacket is a fully reflective garment. If you look close up, you see little dots all over it. Each of these dots is a reflective material. So in low-light conditions, when a vehicle’s headlights are pointed in your general direction, you become a lightbulb. There were a few moments when it seemed to startle people as they were rolling up closer to me – a  “wth?!” look came across their faces as a big smile was on my own. It, of course, doesn’t stop those who can’t seem to not stare at their crotches when they drive (ahem, put down your phone!), but if you are looking you can’t miss me in this jacket.

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The Zap Bike Jacket has a PU coated waterproof fabric and proved its ability in a few deluges. The front zipper has taped seams so nothing is getting in there. The only thing on the wishlist for this jacket would be a hood. But this jacket is designed for performance and when you are out pushing yourself miles and sweating up a storm, I would agree a hood is too hot.

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Speaking of hot, there are side zippers for venting. These are full open vents; what I mean by that is you unzip it and there is a nice opening for air to get in. Each vent has a cover flap to prevent rain from entering. The Zap Jacket also has a small rear zip pocket, big enough for keys, a wallet and snack bar.

Conclusion: Would I wear this jacket for a fashion show, no. Would I wear it on a day-to-day basis without a hood, no. Would I wear this jacket in low-light riding conditions, definitely!

Women’s Zap waterproof Jacket cost: $160

Sugoi offers a plethora of Zap products for women and men you can check more out here

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Review: Pearl Izumi high-vis jacket and vest

By Adam Newman

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Vest – $80

Ah yes, the cycling vest, or gilet if you’re so inclined. It’s an exceedingly useful but often overlooked bit of kit. Rarely does the ambient temperature or your body remain static throughout a ride, so on goes the jacket, off goes the jacket, on goes the jacket, etc. A vest like this is perfect for the cruise down to the start of the group ride, the chilly descent down the backside of the mountain or the ride home after a post-ride beer.

I like this version because it’s a little nicer looking than the all-one-color style you usually see. Since so many of the times I’m wearing a vest are that annoying border temperature between warm and cold I appreciate the vented back panel and big back pocket to stuff my hat or gloves into as things warm up. Unzipped you’d hardly notice it’s there. Plus it packs into itself so it’s always handy when you need it.

There’s nothing really mind blowing about this version of the classic cycling vest, but it certainly checks all my boxes.

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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Aero WXB Jacket – $165

Pearl Izumi was one of the first brands to offer high-vis cycling apparel and considering how sketched out I am riding on the roads these days, I’m glad it’s back in style.

I can’t even tell you how bright this jacket is. There’s no way to capture its retina-searing pinkness in a photograph. Pearl Izumi says its molecules actually vibrate in sunlight. I have no idea if that’s true but staring at it too long might result in your brain jiggling.

Part of Pearl Izumi’s BioViz line—read more about BioViz in our story on page 40—this jacket isn’t just bright, it’s practical too. A thin, waterproof layer, it’s perfect for keeping in your jersey pocket just in case. The long tail and extra long sleeves mean it will keep you covered and won’t slow you down. Because of its slim fit I wasn’t able to layer it over a heavy sweater or anything—this is for go-fast rides only. It also doesn’t offer much in the way of features—there’s no pockets or anything—but sometimes less is more.

Like many true waterproof jackets, the temperature I’d ride this at is lower than you might expect, as it breathes, but not super well. Be careful when temperatures rise as you’ll end up soaked from the inside in your own sweat.

This jacket is also available in Screaming Green, and in a short-sleeve version. Dunno how that works. I’d also love to see this color make its way onto a more relaxed-cut version for layering over street clothes for commuting.

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