Olympia Nova High-viz Vest [Review]

There are a few contenders when it comes to High-Viz motorcycle vests, Olympia, Icon, and FieldSheer are the main ones, and all meet military specs for on-base riding. Of those only the Olympia Nova and the Icon Mil Spec are available in bright yellow. If you haven’t seen the yellow in person I have to tell you that photos don’t do it justice. This stuff is so bright it makes you wonder if you’d still be able to see if you turned out the lights. The orange is, well… orange.

Regardless of what brand you choose, get the yellow. Personally I was a bit torn between the Olympia and the Icon. The Icon has more area covered by high-viz material. Unfortunately none of that is mesh so it will stop a lot of that precious cool air from getting to your core.

The Olympia has large areas of black on the front (which will be obscured by your windshield and headlight anyway), but they’re all mesh so that a fair amount of that air is still going to get to you. Additionally it has more retroreflective tape, which is going to do far more good in the night than the color of the fabric.

I find that the storage pockets are all useful, and it has a large pouch on the back where you could probably stick a Camelbak. Construction is great, nothing feels cheap or flimsy and it doesn’t even think about flapping around when you ride it. I’ve seen other people with the Icon and it seems well made and also doesn’t flap around. I prefer the Olympia’s cinches on the sides to slim it down to your size over Icon’s lace up sides. Much easier to adjust and no worry about knots coming undone. Also, IMNSHO, while that black pocket on the Icon OK in photos, it looks really stupid in person. The Olympia Nova is a great vest and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again.

An aside: Why pay almost $60 for a vest when you could pick up something a construction worker might wear for $15? Because construction workers don’t work in 70+ mph winds. The straps on those cheap things aren’t designed to withstand that kind of constant pulling and tugging, and neither is the material. Do you really want one of those coming loose and flapping around you wile you ride? All of the vests mentioned above are going to hold up, and they are made out of some seriously heavy duty material that will provide you with additional abrasion resistance if you take a spill.