Athletic apparel company Sugoi took impressive tech from two cycling jackets to create the Zap Versa jacket: Zap’s next level reflectivity and Versa’s quick change technology that lets you go from jacket to vest in seconds.
Available in three colors (a fluorescent yellow-green, stealthy black, and red with a curious name for a bike jacket: matador) the Zap Versa doesn’t include any reflective strips. But it’s still just as safe: At night, thousands of tiny embedded glass bits reflect artificial light. And those removable sleeves? They fly off fast and are connected (making them tougher to lose). When rolled up, they are about the size of a can of beer, which you can easily stow in one of the vest’s two rear pockets. The matching pockets can be zipped closed — and each is large enough to accommodate a large smartphone, tube, and levers. Putting the sleeves back on is as easy as aligning the three magnets on the collar of the vest with the corresponding pieces on the sleeves, and sliding your arms through them. The remaining magnets click into place, going from vest to jacket in about five seconds.
We put it to the test on a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles ride (the California Coast Classic), on cooler nights in LA, and around town in Mammoth Lakes. Being fall in California, we haven’t tested the waterproof characteristics of this unit yet. But, we’ve been loving the cut: slightly longer in the back and sleeves to provide coverage even when you’re totally stretched out on the bike. And, if you’re worrying about weight — don’t. Even with the magnets, the jacket weighs 14.1 ounces, according to the company.
Want one? Three letters: R, E, I. The company has an exclusive on the jacket until next June. [$159; rei.com]
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