Rain and windproof and exceptional 360° visibility makes the Mavic Vision H20 Vest an incredibly useful piece of cycling apparel that, while happily fitting in a rear pocket for a just-in-case moment, fits so well that it can easily be worn over a race jersey for no aero penalty. A great addition to any cyclist's wardrobe.
Extensive reflective and low-level-light detailing
Male and female versions
Water-repellency treatment needs to be reapplied regularly
Tricky to put on while riding.
Road spray stains hard to remove
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Best known for its wheels, especially the Mavic Ksyriums, Mavic actually now has close to 10 years of apparel manufacturing experience, developing a wealth of technical knowhow, which it applied to the full when it launched the £900 Comete Ultimate road shoe earlier this year.
The Mavic Vision H20 Vest certainly gains from the depth of knowledge acquired over the years and is arguably the most technical gilet on the market.
The Mavic Vision H20 Vest is made from what it calls 'Dura Rain ST' – a 2.5 layer, 100 per cent polyester fabric that is rated at 10,000mm rainproof.
That number is calculated on the basis that if you put a 1in x 1in square tube over the fabric, how high could you fill the tube of water before it started to leak through? Mavic also says it's windproof and comes with incredible stretch, which it says has allowed it to give a specific pro race cut to the gilet.
As well as a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment, all seams have been taped to further enhance the rainproofing properties, as well as a storm flap to the upper section of the zip.
Read more about waterproofing and breathability ratings here.
The collar has an added soft Lycra insert and at the back an extra long tail aims to provide backside and saddle protection from rear-wheel road spray.
A combination of fabric colour and reflective detailing has been added to the Mavic Vision H20 Vest with the aim of giving it 360° viasility, with the majority located centrally at the back.
Popping the Vision H20 Vest on, it's clear Mavic has done its homework in terms of race fit as it fitted exactly like race apparel should – an aero fit with zero excess fabric.
In fact, the women's small size I tried was so tight, that I needed to hoist my jersey underneath up slightly in order to prevent the two zip stops clashing, and I'd struggle with really loaded jersey pockets – so probably best go up a size if you're doing anything other than race simulation riding.
The reflective and low-level elements work superbly well (according to my other half who followed me out in the car).
The only snagging point is that while the men's Mavic Vision H20 Vest comes in fluoro yellow and white, the women's is white only and while the colour works well for low-level light, having it centrally located means it's in the direct line of fire for road spray.
With only the ability to wash at 30°C, there's no way I can totally remove Manchester's finest road crud stains, which would be slightly less noticeable on the yellow version.
Mavic's terminology of rainproofing realistically means it's more of a water 'resistance' than a proof.
It still did an great job of keeping me dry in minimal rain but anything heavy, combined with the fact that it is only a gilet, and you will get wet.
Mavic also suggests giving it a tumble dry after every three washes to keep it in working order, and it's also worth remembering that it will require reapplications of DWR to keep it water-repelling properties.
That all said, the windproofing element does a really good job of keeping me warm, even if the water had breached.
The semi-storm zip at the front of the Mavic Vision H20 Vest assists the stay-warm feel, and in theory does make sense to only have it on the chest upper, where the rain and wind hits the most, and also helps keep it lightweight, 112g, and scrunchable enough to fit in a back pocket. But it does make putting it on while on the fly tricky as the zip hit the flap midway up, which meant a third hand would have been useful.
There are tonnes of giles on the market, all of which will act as an extra layer to keep you warm on the bike, some of which will keep the wind at bay, few will help keep you dry, and even fewer will help you be seen, and hardly any will do all three.
So the Mavic Vision H20 Vest is already in pretty standout territory. Add the fact that it fits like a race jersey and it's really rather rare, making me of the opinion that it probably is the most technical gilet currently on the market.
The credentials of the Mavic Vision H20 Vest make it a really easy 'go-to' piece of cycling apparel, which will definitely have a life all year round, making cost per wear really good value.
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