The great-fitting, lightweight and packable Liv Race Day Wind Vest provides wind and water protection, making it a really handy piece of cycling apparel. If Liv could resolve the zip and fabric coming together issue, it would be close to perfect.
Women's specific race cut fit
Rear venting mesh
Storm protector on zip
When it comes to gilets, there's three things that, in my opinion, they must do: be windproof; be packable and fit as well as your jersey underneath. So when the Liv Race Day Wind Vest landed promising all three and more, I was keen to take it for a ride or two.
Buy now: Liv Race Day Wind Vest from Tredz Bikes for £49.00 (opens in new tab)
The majority of the Liv Race Day Wind Vest is made from a 100 per cent polyester fabric called Protextura. It's a proprietary fabric of sibling brand Giant and as well as offering wind protection, boasts water resistant properties thanks to its DWR (durable water repellant) coating and laminations. This will mean that you'll need to reapply the DWR coating at some stage, but that's standard for all treated fabrics.
At the rear of the Liv Race Day Wind Vest a large mesh panel stretches across the majority of the back, which Liv have designed in to help provide maximum breathability.
This mesh panel also helps keep the overall jersey weight down to 94g (size small) which isn't quite as light as the Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Gilet II at just 68g for an equivalent size, but weighing just a handful of grams more than a standard energy gel, it's still pretty lightweight.
Also at the rear is a single zip secure pocket which is large enough for a phone and snacks etc, just remember not to over stash if your planning to remove the gilet as you'll have to find room for it all along with other riding paraphernalia in your jersey rear pockets.
Designed to fit snugly, as a race day piece of apparel should do, the Liv Race Day Wind Vest also includes a full length zip with storm protection flaps and reflective details at the torso sides and shoulders.
Pulling on the Liv Race Day Wind Vest over a spring weight long sleeve jersey, I was impressed by the fit. The second skin boast over a standard race fit short sleeve jersey is a slight exaggeration, but over a mid-weight one, with close to full rear pockets, it wasn't far off perfect.
The rear mesh panel not only helps keep the gilet breathable, but thanks to its super stretchy nature, does a grand job of allowing the gilet to fit tightly round the torso.
The neck line was really comfortable. Liv has finished the inside seam with soft-touch tape to prevent fabric rubbing on your neck and the size was spot on, allowing space for the jersey zip underneath.
It's something I've recently noticed on a handful of brands, the neck is on the small size, on small and extra small kit, which makes sense in theory, keeping it in line with the rest of the clothing cut, but in reality, for outer wear, it can often be too tight.
One of the great tests of a giliet is its unnoticeable once out riding and the Liv Race Day Wind Vest was certainly that.
That was until, an exceptionally unseasonable spring day happened to co-inside with me being late for the school run while out on a test ride. This required some serious 'getting a wriggle on' riding, while contending with temperatures of around 15°C.
It was ideal gilet testing for race day conditions with standard riding pace or descending requiring an extra layer, but when the pace picks up, and you find yourself running pretty hot, layers start getting peeled off. Unless of course you can't, which is exactly what happened to me and the Liv Race Day Wind Vest. I got stuck in it, that is to say the zip got stuck on the stormproof flaps.
I didn't have time to resolve on the move, and resigned myself to the flappy open gilet look as now the zip wouldn't budge neither up or down. Once home and off the bike, I was able to un-wedge the zip and remove it, but it was somewhat frustrating to say the least, and I would have been pretty miffed if it had occurred mid race.
It would be good to see Liv take a bit of a look at the design on the next Liv Race Day Wind Vest iteration, as I think at the moment the flaps are more of a aesthetic addition than anything else, especially as none of the seams at the front of the gilet are taped, meaning that you're still reasonably exposed to the wind and water anyway (assuming that it's not a downpour, in which case the mesh back would mean you got soaked anyway).
For a gilet that is wind and water resistant as well as packable and lightweight it ticks all the boxes and more. I love the fit and feel of the Liv Race Day Wind Vest, it's just a shame about the zip area issue. If that could be resolved than the £64.99 price tag would be a great price.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled 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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