The uber lightweight and low profile Alé Nucleo Gilet really is the ticket in terms of performance. Its simplicity has been executed exceptionally, with the minimalist concept belying its functionality. If there was a women's specific fit, the £50 gilet would have nailed it.
No women's specific fit yet
Life, as they say, is like a British summer, you just never know what you're gonna get. Which is why everyone needs to err on the side of caution kit wise.
Buy now: Ale Nucleo gilet from wiggle for £50
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Up until now, I've probably been reaching for my go-to mid-season gilets, with the likes of the Sportful Cometa wind vest, or Endura FS260-Pro Adrenalin Race Gilet II hitting the spot. But although the weather has been mixed, it's generally warmer, with only the requirement of a lightweight number now required, and it would seem that the Alé Nucleo gilet could fit the bill perfectly.
The Alé Nucleo gilet is fundamentally made from 100 per cent polyamide. The Italian-made fabric has a barely-there feel, not that dissimilar to a parachute silk. At the back is a highly vented stretchy mesh panel, which as well as giving the gilet breathability, along with elasticated shoulder cuffs and waist band also assists with the overall body contouring fit.
As with all Italian-made Alé kit, the Alé Nucleo gilet is superbly put together. Although the concept of a minimal windproof gilet is a simple one, the execution of the construction is key and weighing in at just 60g for a size small, reflective and high-viz elements makes this stand out from the crowd before it's even been worn.
However, there is a downside. It's currently only available in a unisex fit. To be fair, gilets are probably one of the few items of apparel that you can get away with in terms of being non-gender specific, but this does limit riders in terms of sizing, with the small coming up closer to a women's medium but with narrow hips.
Fit options aside, the Alé Nucleo gilet is as impressive on as it is off.
To start with, you would actually be forgiven for forgetting you've even got it with you. The whole thing scrunches down in to the size of an energy bar. Even with small pockets, I was easily able to carry phone, tools, pump, two spare tubes, ride snacks and find room for the Alé Nucleo gilet.
When wearing, you'd also be forgiven for forgetting you've even got Alé Nucleo gilet on. It's only the fact that the size isn't optimal for me as a small women that the slight bit of windflap reminded that I was wearing the gilet at all – it's just so lightweight and incredibly soft to the touch. Alé does hope to have a women's-specific fit in the Nucleo, so it's a case of crossing fingers and watching this space in order to get an A1 fit.
OK, so it's only 8g lighter than the abovementioned Endura gilet, but it feels so much lighter (and softer) when on.
What does give the game away that you do in fact have the Ale Nucleo gilet on is that it does a very good job keeping the wind out. It's not 100 per cent, but pretty darn close.
Gaining access to rear jersey pockets on the fly wasn't inhibited either, thanks to a unexpected benefit of that super breathable, and super stretchy mesh back.
At the other end, the high-necked, double-layered collar is also a great addition to the design – it creates a really snug feeling just where you need it, as well as preventing any windy gaps down the back of the neck thanks to its tapered height.
It's ideal for the sort of undulating rides and changeable temperatures (like a long descent, an early start or late finish), when you need a bit of extra torso protection.
Comparing the Alé Nucleo gilet against more or less like for like gilets and it's impressive to see that at £50, it's at least around £15 cheaper than anything else on the market, making it great value for money.
The special edition gilet is available to buy now, so get it while it's hot as it won't hang around for long.
Hannah Bussey is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving Tech writer, having started with the Magazine back in 2011.
She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including Pro Peloton Team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand. For fun, she's ridden LEJoG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, win 24 hour mountain bike race and tackle famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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