At first glance the Zap looks like your everyday standard waterproof shell – albeit one with an, er, ‘interesting’ dot matrix print. But hit the already super-bright hi-vis top with artificial light and each dot glows with an almost phosphorous brightness, so you’ll be lit up brighter than the proverbial – and apt at this time of year – Christmas tree.
That’s all down to the unique Pixel fabric that Sugoi uses. Each dot on the jacket’s print is in fact a collection of micro-glass beads that have been silkscreened to the fabric. These dome-shaped dots reflect light in all directions, resulting in an otherworldly glow. You’ll be unbelievably visible to drivers when you’re wearing the Zap at night (especially if you were to combine the jacket with Sugoi’s equally bright Zap overshoes).
But what of the Zap apart from its brightness? Well, for the most part it’s pretty decent when it comes to protecting you from the elements. All the seams are taped and water resistance is impressive, but with no venting it can get a little clammy. And though the simple elasticated hem and cuffs both stay put they’re not adjustable, which makes it hard to get the slim cuffs over thick gloves or to cinch the hem in foul weather.
The cut is good, with long arms that don’t ride up when you’re on the bike; the body is cut close but long in the tail. Sugoi’s Canadian heritage also results in more realistic sizing than that of some Italian companies – so a large truly is just that. We also like the small amount of stretch that the material offers. But the detailing is on the minimal side. There’s a 20cm square mesh-lined rear pocket, a fleece-lined collar and a waterproof zip with an inner zip baffle.
As it stands, the Zap is a quality addition to your road safety wardrobe. But in an ideal world we’d really like to have seen the exceptionally reflective Pixel fabric used in a fully featured jacket, one with better venting and more adjustable cuffs and hem.