PBP Preparation: Mavic Reflective Vest

PBP Preparation: Mavic Reflective Vest

In my quest for a suitable reflective vest that meets the PBP regulations, that is comfortable to wear, and that doesn’t take much space in my handlebar bag, I now have bought a Mavic reflective vest. How does it compare to the “official” PBP  and the Rapha vests, which I tested earlier?
Mavic Vision Vest
Cost: $ 110
Size tested: Medium
Weight: 153 g
Country of manufacture: Indonesia
Availability: various sources, I bought mine from www.expeditionco.com

The Mavic vest is a “wind breaker” vest that doubles as a reflective vest. The front uses a nylon shell material, while the upper back panel is a breathable, closely-woven mesh. A large zippered pocket on the lower back could be left open to increase ventilation. (Otherwise, you’ll have two layers of nylon shell material on your lower back.) The vest is heavier and bulkier than the Rapha vest, but lighter and smaller than the “official” vest.
Mavic’s vest has ample amounts of reflective material on the back, some of it placed low enough to be visible when the rider is in the drops. It reflects well (below), and it meets the EN 1150 standard that now is required in PBP.

I usually wear medium-sized cycling jerseys, and Mavic’s size Medium vest fit snugly over two wool jerseys. When in doubt about sizing, I recommend ordering the next size up.
The vest does not have mesh panels at the front or on the sides, so it will keep you warm. This can be good on cold nights during PBP, but may cause you to overheat during hot nights.
Of the vests reviewed so far, this one is my favorite. It isn’t perfect: I usually do not wear wind breakers, so I would prefer a vest that is more ventilated. At least the Mavic vest fits snugly. It does not absorb much moisture. Most importantly, it reflects well and meets the EN 1150 guidelines. I probably will wear this one at PBP.

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Comments (11)

  • Bottle

    There are so few choices on reflective vests that both have EN1150 label and are suitable for night rides. It seems to me that the main problem is to bear the EN1150 label.

    August 5, 2011 at 10:31 am
  • Jimmy

    Jan, have you evaluated these when wet? I seem to recall that some reflective materials do much better than others when soaked by rain.

    August 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      I poured some water over the “official” and the Mavic vests, and water beaded off very quickly, so as long as that beading effect is working, they should be fine. Once the vests get older, and the water no longer beads off, it may be a different matter.
      Will deRosset tested the reflectivity in the wet a few years back and reported on it in the RUSA newsletter. The vinyl reflective materials did much better than the “fuzzy” and “printed” materials. (The reflective materials that RUSA and SIR sell reflect especially poorly when wet.)
      I believe the EN standard has requirements for reflectivity and moisture. I don’t recall whether it’s for reflectivity when wet, or after drying. Of course, all reflective materials become less effective as they age and get scratched, fade, etc. It’s a good idea to test one’s reflective clothing every couple of years…

      August 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm
  • Keith Hearn

    If you don’t want a windbreaker vest, I’ll bet a bit of work with scissors would improve the ventilation nicely. 🙂

    August 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm
  • Richard James

    I contacted Mavic USA to see about ordering one of these and have learned that they are out of most sizes themselves, and that most Mavic dealers do not carry them in stock. Specifically: they have L but not XL (didn’t inquire about smaller sizes) and will not receive new stock until September. I don’t really fit into the L2S (“official” PBP, also RUSA and maybe SIR) vest, so Mavic XL would be necessary.
    Have an official PBP vest in XL on order, and plan to scavenge for something better in Paris.

    August 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      Check the source where I got mine. They just got more in stock last week – mine was on back-order before. Unless they have sold out already…

      August 7, 2011 at 5:56 am
  • Gert Pagter

    I bought the Mavic vest last week as well based on Your test of the official vest. I tested it this weekend on a 600K. I found it comfortable up to 20 degrees Celcius (68 Fahrenheit), but that is probably individual. In the rain including heavy rain I wore it over my Gore Tex rain jacket. It did not appear to soak water. As I had taken off my jersey, the pocket came in handy for all my stuff. even though it took som rummaging to find what I was searching for in the one giant pocket. It is bulkier when folded, than my normal vest. Then again I will only have to carry one vest for the ride. So I would recommend the vest.

    August 8, 2011 at 1:07 am
  • Errin

    Is it possible to purchase the just the reflective material that meets the new standards? Then it could be sewn to an existing vest? It wouldn’t be to hard to do.

    August 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm
    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

      The standards are for the entire vest, which needs to meet standards of color and brightness in addition to reflectivity. So sewing material onto a vest won’t meet the standards.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:01 am
  • Jimmy

    As Jan said earlier, the entire vest needs to be tested by a lab and then have the appropriate certified label on it. So even if I went and bought the exact material Mavic has and had a tailor make me the exact same vest, without that lab cert. it’s a no-go. There’s the reflectivity test, but also tests for colorfastness after UV exposure, etc.

    August 10, 2011 at 10:23 am
  • Willem

    When I was in France the other day I saw in a gas station workwear T shirts that met the much higher EU standards for professional use. They were dirt cheap. The fit was not quite that of a cycling jersey, of course, but beyond that they may be an alternative for warmer weather.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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