Madison Road Race Softshell thermal gilet review

We review the Madison Road Race Softshell gilet, a thermal gilet designed with input from Madison-Genesis's professional riders

Madison Road Race thermal gilet – featured
Madison Road Race thermal gilet buyers guide
Cycling Weekly Verdict

A good quality gilet, but fit around the shoulders could be closer

For
  • +

    Lots of carrying space

  • +

    Pocketable when not in use

Against
  • -

    Gaps around the shoulders when riding

  • -

    Mesh back lets in water

Madison’s thermal gilet has been developed in conjunction with its professional riders, and it punches well above its weight, that is, its price. On the rear, it features three well sized and positioned open pockets which are good for carrying plenty of kit when out on a ride and there’s also a fourth smaller zipped pocket for valuables.

>>> Winter cycling survival guide

It offers good insulation, though it is small enough that it can be stuffed in a jersey pocket too — just don’t expect to be able to put anything else in with it as it’s quite a bulky package. The elasticated waist gripper at the rear hem holds the gilet in place well and there are reflective elements built in at the lower and upper back and the shoulders to aid visibility, although these are unobtrusive in the daytime.

Madison Road Race thermal gilet - full size

Madison Road Race thermal gilet buyers guide

The fabric on the front and sides of the gilet is thicker, offering better insulation against wind and rain ingress, while the rear panel is thinner to allow greater breathability and removal of excess heat and sweat. The fabric has been treated with a water-resistant finish, which works really well on the front and shoulders, although the mesh rear did let in water.

>>> Gilet buyer's guide

The size medium fitted me well across the chest, and the length was spot-on. However, when in a riding position, the fit around the back of the arms/shoulders left gaping holes, suggesting that the fabric didn’t have sufficient stretch in this area. Overall, this is a great gilet that just needs a slight tweak to the fit.

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Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.