Kitsbow Wind Vest

Vital Rating: (Good)
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Kitsbow Wind Vest
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Tested: Kitsbow Wind Vest

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Zach White // Photos by Don Stefanovich and Zach White

Self-confessed textile OCD sufferers, Kitsbow make no secret of their mission - producing high-end mountain bike wear, with passion and a lot of attention to detail. They go out of their way to find the best materials for any given application, and then they make sure they design and manufacture to the same high standards. It's always nice to lay your hands on high-quality gear, but how does this no-holds-barred combination of fashion and function actually work out on the trail? We donned the Wind Vest and set out to find out.

Kitsbow Wind Vest Highlights

  • Textured, stretch polyester shell treated on the front with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish for added rain protection.
  • Logo printing runs length of the

Review by Zach White // Photos by Don Stefanovich and Zach White

Self-confessed textile OCD sufferers, Kitsbow make no secret of their mission - producing high-end mountain bike wear, with passion and a lot of attention to detail. They go out of their way to find the best materials for any given application, and then they make sure they design and manufacture to the same high standards. It's always nice to lay your hands on high-quality gear, but how does this no-holds-barred combination of fashion and function actually work out on the trail? We donned the Wind Vest and set out to find out.

Kitsbow Wind Vest Highlights

  • Textured, stretch polyester shell treated on the front with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish for added rain protection.
  • Logo printing runs length of the laser-perforated ventilation strip between shoulders in back.
  • Single zippered chest pocket for phone, food, etc.
  • Reflective piping in shoulders, on sides and back for increased visibility at night.
  • Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL (tested), XXL
  • Colors: Charcoal
  • MSRP: $175 USD

Initial Impressions

True to Kitsbow's style, their Wind Vest is a well-made piece with high-end flavor. It is designed and marketed as a mountain bike vest, but looks much more like a road piece, and the fit doesn’t exactly argue against that impression. The semi-form fit is comfortable and ergonomic in cut, but doesn’t leave much room for body shapes outside that of the pro peloton. Arm holes fill up quickly and their elastic bands keep drafts out without being uncomfortable. The arm holes are also located more forward than usual to provide a cut specific to riding, which makes the vest fit a bit awkward and tight across the chest while standing around - not an issue, unless you’re the type to stand around in coffee shops in full kit.

On The Trail

There wasn’t an opportunity to get stuck out in the rain with the Wind Vest, but it did get the job done when it came to keeping fall chill off the chest. Chances are with so much ventilation in the back, it wouldn’t be the most ideal wet-weather vest anyway. It’s also not a piece designed to retain body heat with its large mesh back panel (which is not something it claims to do either). The lightweight and highly breathable polyester material does lend itself to easily stowing into a pack or jersey pocket though.

The Wind Vest's zipper is offset to the rider’s right of center, which keeps it comfortably away from the Adam’s apple. Adding to neck comfort are a microfiber-lined collar and zipper garage. The zipper handle is rather small though, and tough to grab with one gloved hand while out on the trail, especially if it’s tucked away in said garage.

The chest pocket fits a phone or wallet with room to spare, and as long as the vest is zipped up its contents don’t bounce around too much - but it’s probably a better pocket for some cash and an ID than anything with weight to it. The pocket is also ventilated, which means its contents aren’t protected from sweat.

Overall fit is comfortable while riding, though every jersey it was thrown over stuck out of the bottom. Sometimes baggier jersey sleeves would look a bit goofy from being pinched at the arm hole cuffs, but that was strictly a fashion faux pas and not a performance issue.

Things That Could Be Improved

For such a specific cycling cut in most of the vest’s fit, it was surprising that the back was relatively short. It’d be nice to have a little more length to keep jerseys from sticking out of the bottom, and to offer a touch of posterior splash protection, too.

The zipper handles could use a little super-sizing to work in real trail conditions. This might not look as streamlined, but would add practicality to a piece marketed towards mountain biking.

Long Term Durability

The Wind Vest held up nicely through a couple of washes, a handful of rides, and weeks of being wadded up in a hydration pack. We have no reason to believe it won't give you years of loyal service, given Kitsbow's attention to detail and high level of workmanship.

What’s The Bottom Line?

For $175, there are less expensive polyester vest options available that are tailored more towards fitting mountain bike applications and the clothes that a vest would be worn over. Otherwise, for riders who like Kitsbow’s undeniable top-end style, it’s a very nice piece that will go well with a form-fitting/semi-form-fitting riding wardrobe.

For more information, head over to www.kitsbow.com.


About The Reviewer

Zach White has been writing for various cycling publications since the mid-90’s, and comes from a racing background dating back to 1989. That may make him sound a bit crusty, but he holds his own surprisingly well through most genres of mountain biking.

Specifications

Product Kitsbow Wind Vest
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Jacket Type Windbreaker, Packable
Rider Unisex
Material
Pockets
Vents
Size XS, S, M, L, XL
Colors Oxford Grey
Miscellaneous Textured, Stretch Polyester Shell Treated with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) // Single Zippered Chest Pocket // Reflective Piping in Shoulders, Sides, and Back // Full-Length Locking Zipper // Power Stretch Mesh at the Back Hem Increases Ventilation
Price $175
More Info

Kitsbow Website

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