I was looking for a winter cycle jacket that would keep me warm but also offer plenty of hi-viz protection and perform on the bike.

I'd been looking for a while, there are plenty of jackets that will keep you warm on a cold day but most, only have a small amount of hi-viz material on them. A lot of winter days are also low light days as well and I didn't want to have to wear a separate hi-viz tabbard to keep the car drivers alert, the tabbards tend to flap about and as I wear one for work occasionally, I didn't want to wear one when I was on my bike!

I was at a sportive ride in London last October and spotted this cyclist with the first jacket I'd seen which looked like it would tick all my boxes, it also looked good.So I went and had a chat.

The cyclist turned out to be  a genuinely nice guy and was happy to chat to me and answer my questions about his jacket and whether it performed in cold and low light conditions. After our chat I took the details and thought about it on the ride whilst trying to keep up with the other riders!

By the time I got home I had decided, it was the jacket for me, I found his website and had a look and nearly fell off my seat. The jacket was £250!

This caused me to pause, but not for long, it was exactly what I was after. When it arrived I realised I had been a little optimistic about getting into a medium. This was no problem, they said, just send it back and a large is in the post. When this one arrived it was spot on, I put it on and asked my family what they thought. Now, I have 3 daughters and have learnt to read between the lines when asking for an opinion on what I'm wearing, they normally just laugh or tut when I'm in my cycle gear, so the quizzical looks, I took as a sign that I looked like a cycling god......maybe not, but I was happy.

My first ride out was a very crisp and sunny day with a couple of friends, who also gave me quizzical looks, another good sign? Not long into the ride there was a bit of a commotion when the sun bounced off the back of my jacket and flashed the following rider who didn't have his sun glasses on! definitely a good sign. I was also nice and warm. By the end of the ride I was too warm due to an extra layer I had on, long sleve jersey and base layer.

The next ride was around freezing and overcast. I lost a layer, I had on a short sleeve jersey, which not only meant I stayed at the right temperature it made the jacket even more comfortable. Due to the low light conditions we had our lights on and my fellow riders said that when ever their lights shone in my direction, the jacket really lit up. so we decided to take a picture, with and without a flash. You can judge for yourselves how effective the Hi-viz reflective material is. Its also on the ends of the sleeves.

I'm very happy with it, the only thing I've found is that its too warm for me when the temperature gets up to about +8 degrees Celsius, anything under that, its great.

Le Col is a label was founded by professional cyclist Yanto Barker, who rides for Team UK Youth. Not surprisingly, his experience and input is evident in the overall design and performance of the jacket.

The B3 Winter Jacket retails at £249.99 from Le Col and they also sell a Women's version of the jacket that retails at £234.99 and comes in XS/S/M/L sizes.

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Comment by Nick Williamson on January 14, 2013 at 19:55
Good spot Bill, I had swapped into them to help keep an even temperature. Like you say the jacket keeps you toastie!

Comment by Bill Enness on January 14, 2013 at 13:04
Well, had my first 0 deg ride yesterday (actually -1), in the new Le Col B3 kit. I persevered with the one base layer, and must say I was tostie warm. My fingers & head are a different issue. I even managed to stroll around a country park in this garb for a couple of hours (much to the annoyance of the family). Fortunately, there were plenty of Lycra Clad joggers going about their business, enough for me to belnd in with the crowd, albeit with white Retiever in tow! Today, i'm in zero degrees again with drizzle. That should be a better test, although my commute is only 7 miles! I've now had this kit for 2 weeks, it is the only kit I now wear, and am frantically washing (the bottoms particularly), after every ride with no deterioration of the fabric. I love it. Money well spent (cant have a holiday this year, but I'm nice & warm)! Nick how come you are wearing fingerless gloves with the B3 Jacket. Cant be winter, it must still be summer?!
Comment by Andy Dawson on January 14, 2013 at 9:20

Quite surprised at how effective those hi-viz panels in high light conditions

Comment by Bill Enness on January 12, 2013 at 21:03
Bill Enness
Brilliant! Jacket is toastie warm, but a little too warm for temps above 8 degrees. I've never worn more than a single base layer underneath. Not yet been out in the wet, do cant attest to its waterproof characteristics. After a zero degree tide a couple of weeks ago, I decided on the full set B3 Winter Jacket & Winter Tights, both very comfortable, but along with other popular reviews I can confirm the thumb loops on the jacket to be very annoying (why didn't they stick to a silicone elasticated cuff). Are they worth the money? Put it this way, I don't normally ride in the wet, but this season I'm positively looking forward to it.

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