The LEDjacket is a fantastic idea for those wanting the ultimate in night-time visibility. It’s a cycling jacket that combines a fluorescent yellow fabric with reflective panels and strips of LED lights.
There are two strips of bright white LEDs running the length of the front, and two strips of red LEDs on the back. The battery pack – the jacket takes three AAA batteries – sits in a little pouch just above your waist and has a button which lets you toggle between off/flashing/fast flashing/constant. With a bit of practice you can operate it on the move.
The jacket actually fits surprisingly well, hugging the body thanks to flexible side panels and with a slight drop tail to keep your bum dry. Length-wise, it was plenty long enough for our 6ft 2in tester.
The only things we didn’t like about the cut were the collar – it gapes open and there’s no cord to tighten it round your neck and seal out the elements – and the cuffs, which are huge, although they do come with Velcro closures.
While this jacket has many of the features of a great cycling top – including the way the arms zip off to transform it into a gilet, and the large, zipped rear pocket – there’s no escaping the fact that it is primarily a piece of safety gear.
The fabric is 100 percent polyester, and while it seems extremely durable and keeps the wind at bay, this isn’t a material that’s known for its wicking properties. Put simply, if you sweat while wearing this jacket you will know about it.
On short trips around town it isn’t a problem, but if you’re in the saddle for an extended period or like to push your limits, expect to arrive home with a wet base layer. After a 40-minute commute the inside was wet to the touch and water droplets were still visible an hour later.
The fabric is also quite thick and on a sunny spring day, even with just a base layer beneath, quickly became unbearably hot.
The mesh back panel does allow some moisture to escape, as long as you’re not wearing a backpack, and you can partially unzip the arms to let in some air, but this is definitely a garment that works better in cool conditions or on short, inner-city commutes.
Two other grumbles: the stitching on the zip on our test jacket began to come apart after just two rides, and the rear pocket is so large that stuff tends to shift around inside it. Maybe two or three smaller pockets would be a better idea?
Despite these shortcomings, there’s no denying how effective the jacket is at getting you seen. Even without the LEDs turned on, it’s so bright that it gives you a feeling of safety as soon as you put it on. When they are turned on, they’re a lot brighter than they appear in these photos and give you a glowing aura as you pedal along.
Despite some minor criticisms, we highly recommend the LEDjacket for anyone who’s suffered one of those “sorry mate, didn’t see you” incidents. With a couple of tweaks and a more technical fabric, this could be the ultimate cycling jacket. Five stars for the idea, four for the execution.