To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Speedzone X-lite Cycling Vest Review


It never fails. About an hour before the group ride, my phone lights up:

What are you wearing?

I don’t know! I think knee warmers, SS base, arm warmers, team shield.

Really? I think it’s going to warm up. I think I might go regular jersey.

Ugh, you’re right. But it’s 10 degrees colder in Piermont!

Deciding what to wear can feel like agony, as I negotiate the hourly forecast and the varying temperatures of all the towns we’ll be passing through. Forget about it if we plan on doing some climbing or want to drop down and ride along the Hudson. In the end, I swear I only get my outfit right about 30% of the time. I’ve even cursed myself halfway through a race, telling myself I was out of contention due to hot knees! And, transitional seasons like spring and fall make it even harder, where the temperature seems to jump from one hour to the next and from one day to the next.

The uncertainty around what-to-wear has gotten a lot easier since I discovered the Speedzone x-lite vest. I like to call it my “commitment-phobia vest.” This thing is seriously amazing. It’s paper-thin, but also ain’t nothing. It keeps me warm enough when I need it, isn’t blazing hot when the temperature rises, and extremely packable if I decide to take it off.

Here’s why I love it so much:


It fits well and is flattering: Let’s be honest, when something is labeled “unisex,” it means it was designed for a man. If you’ve got boobs or hips, you’re screwed. “Unisex” outerwear can feel tight across the chest, balloon at the waist, and bunch up in the hips. But, Garneau was smart and made a women's version of this vest that fits a woman's body very well. Just because you’ve got the vest on doesn’t mean you have to look like you’re wearing a potato sack. Dudes, I assume your vest is equally figure-flattering! The white colorway also happens to go very well with my custom Garneau team kit, pops in front and inconspicuously blends with the jersey from the back - the reverse mullet!

Lightweight and but warm: The vest is super thin and provides coverage where you need it. Because the back is a like a mesh screen, it keeps your chest and core warm from wind without overheating you when the sun does eventually come out. At first I was skeptical that the paper-thin vest would actually do anything to keep me warm, but it stands up to early morning chills just as well as bulkier outwear.

Packable: If I decide to take it off, it folds nicely into a self contained sack and doesn’t take up valuable pocket space.

No pockets!: And, speaking of pockets, there aren’t any!! The hole in the back gives you quick access to your jersey pockets and makes taking the jersey off and packing it less complicated. If I had to empty out my vest pockets and transfer everything to my jersey pockets and then fold and pack up the vest and then find room for it in my jersey pocket (yeesh), I probably wouldn’t even bother!

So, when you can’t decide what to wear, and when other cold-weather clothing items seem like too much of a commitment, this vest is the way to go. You won’t be cursing yourself for overdressing, and at worst you can cram it in your pocket.