Source: Company website
How obtained: purchased
Colors: Yellow, blue, red (tested)
Material: Supplex front and yoke; Thermoroubaix fleece lycra lining
Sizes: XS to XXL
Comfort range: 25 to 55 F (-4 to 13 C)
RBR advertiser: No
Tested: 20 hours
I’m a big fan of vests’ adaptability and light weight. Put one on for a cold descent, stuff it in a jersey pocket when it warms up. But most vests designed for cycling are minimalist nylon shells, fine for blocking wind from your chest in moderate temperatures but not very useful when the mercury dips toward freezing.
That’s why this winter the Boure Pro Thermal Vest has become the most often-used garment in my cycling closet.
Boure, located in cycling mecca Durango, Colorado, isn’t as well-known as some of the major cycling apparel companies, but they make a range of quality products. It doesn’t hurt that a part owner is ageless cycling legend Ned Overend, who has a big say in clothing design.
Boure’s vest is constructed of a thin fleece/lycra material for insulation, with Supplex panels on the chest and shoulders. I wore it on the bike in temperatures ranging from the low 20s F to the mid-50s. When temperatures were frigid, I layered it between a t-neck base layer and a medium-weight cycling jacket. At 40 degrees, it provided enough insulation for comfort over a light long-sleeved jersey. I also wore the vest hiking and snowshoeing; it would be great for running as well.
No Windbreaker Necessary
A big advantage of this vest is how it makes a windbreaker shell unnecessary. I don’t like jackets because they often retain moisture, making me chilly if I have to stop to repair a flat. The Boure vest’s wind-breaking panels cover only the front of the body and top of the shoulders — areas that are exposed to the wind. It breathes enough so that I never experienced moisture build up. Also, shells flap, making a racket on descents and acting like a drogue chute by catching the wind. The Boure vest sits snugly against the chest, quietly doing its job.
For all its insulating and wind-blocking qualities, it has surprisingly minimal bulk and rolls up small enough to carry in most jersey pockets.
Some vests have excessively high collars that bunch up and cause neck irritation, but the Boure collar is a moderate 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) high, perfect for sealing out drafts without making you feel like a cycling turtle.
Three generously sized rear pockets are big enough for stashing clothing, food and phone. The zipper works easily and can be operated with one hand.
After 7 washings, the vest shows no signs of wear. Years ago, I had an earlier iteration of the same vest and it lasted for over a decade of hard (sometimes abusive) use on the bike and while running. I expect my new one will still be going strong in 2022.
Black Back Not Ideal
The Pro Thermal Vest comes in 3 colors — red, yellow and bright blue — that are highly visible to motorists, at least from the front. That’s my only beef with this product. The back of the vest is black, no matter what color you choose for the front and shoulders. A black back means low visibility to drivers approaching from the rear.
For safety reasons, I’d like to see this vest constructed with the back the same bright colors as the front. If you feel paranoid about being seen, you can sew on a square of bright material scavenged from an old jersey, or some sort of reflective material.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.