Cycling kit review: Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest

Published by Andrew on 2 May 2019

With lightweight gear dominating the bike clothing market, Richard Peace reviews the Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest.

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest
From the manufacturer, RRP £168

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest front

This gilet top is made from Polartec Alpha material – an insulating fabric that claims to be extremely lightweight and packable, thermo-regulating and breathable. The company blurb also makes reference to the SAS and Kyrgyzstan in detailing its development and testing, certainly raising expectations of its performance.

For such an incredibly lightweight top (145g) did it live up to these grand claims? 

It turned out to be just the thing for three-season cycling. If you are used to scaling the heights on two wheels you will know how altitude can and exposed terrain can lead to sudden drop in temperature, even though it might be a baking hot day down in the valleys. Add in the much higher altitudes found in French alpine areas and in te Pyrenees, and this kind of lightweight but warming top comes into its own. 

I used my sample around the UK's Pennines over spring, with temperatures fluctuating quite wildly both from day to day and between day and night. The Alpha vest proved superb at keeping the cooling effects of the Pennine winds at bay and roadies will also love its skin-hugging, aerodynamic qualities. It’s so lightweight you doubt it will have any insulating effect whatsoever but it’s fantastic at retaining heat and keeping the effects of the wind at bay. 

When not in used it cleverly packs down to something little bigger than the size of a tennis ball as it tucks away into an internal storage space within the lining of the vest (below).

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest rolled up

Waterproof cycle jackets are great but come warmer weather they can prove sweaty. I often find it’s actually more comfortable in light rain during warm weather to get wet and dry out. You just need to keep warm.

This vest is ideal for such a use, and will keep you warm at the start and finish of hot days when the temperature is yet to be warm enough for T-shirt riding. And should it get wet with rain or sweat it dries out pretty quickly too.

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest

It looks an ideal layer and keeping warm but not hot on a bike is all about the correct use of multiple layers of clothing which will inevitably get taken on and off several times in a day. So packing down small and light is a real boon for such an effective garment. 

The only gripe I had was the price at £168 (with the jacket equivalent coming in at £220). It seems a lot to pay for such a minimalist, lightweight garment. But less is more as they say, and if you put travelling light on a bike, above all else you might think it worth digging deep into your pockets.

Pedaled Tokaido Alpha Vest
From the manufacturer, RRP £168

Compare with other vests and gilets:

About our reviewer
Richard Peace 
is the author of the official English-language guidebook to the Veloscenie Paris-Mont-Saint Michel bike route and the Sustrans guide to the London-Paris Avenue Verte. He also contributes to A to B magazineBike Europe and Eurobike Show DailyYou can see all Richard's books here.

Find lots more bike and kit reviews on our site here

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