A good waterproof cycling jacket will totally change the way you ride in the winter months. Being able to rely on your jacket to keep you safe, comfortable and dry when you’re commuting, exploring, or enjoying some exercise is crucial in keeping you motivated when the days get damper. With plentiful options to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect jacket, and this guide will help you narrow down your options.
There are four questions to ask yourself when choosing a new jacket: How waterproof does it need to be, how snug would you like it to fit, do you need it to be reflective, and will you benefit from increased breathability. Let’s examine those questions in a bit more detail.
How waterproof do you need it to be?
Not all waterproof jackets are made the same. Any material rated as waterproof provides a high level of sustained water resistance (water won’t permeate it even when pressurized). Waterproof fabrics, like those found in Endura’s MT500 jacket feature special waterproof membranes. The 18000mm rating of the MT500 means that it can withstand 18000mm of rainfall in a 24 hour period without letting any penetrate through the material. Pretty impressive.
How do you want the jacket to fit?
There’s nothing worse than fighting against a billowing, oversized raincoat when you’re trying desperately to make your bike go fast. But at the same time, not everybody wants to wear a form-fitted jacket over a bunch of layers, especially if they’re intending the jacket to double as a casual layer. While it’s still important to try jackets on to ensure the fit is exactly what you want, you can save some time in the fitting room by checking the fit style of the jacket. Most modern cycling jackets fall into three fitting categories; Race fit (really tight, best on road bikes and with minimal layers underneath), relaxed fit (tapered torso, room to layer, and can pass as a casual layer. These are most popular in mountain bike jackets like iXS’ Winger 7.1), and casual fit (looser, straight torso, and fits like a typical skiing or snowboarding jacket).
Do you need any reflectivity?
Jackets aimed at road cyclists or commuters usually feature reflective elements to keep the rider visible at night. Whether the logos are reflective, or large portions of the jacket like you find on Endura’s Luminite, the aim is to keep you visible when car headlights are aimed at you. Reflective logo’s are usually left off of mountain bike specific jackets, for aesthetic reasons.
How important is breathability?
The problem most riders have with classic waterproof cycling jackets is that they used to have all the breathability of a garbage bag. By the end of a decent ride, it wasn’t unheard of to be as damp from sweating heavily as one would have been from getting drenched by rain. New jackets like Endura’s MT500 have much newer technology that allows them to wick moisture away from the body and vent heat, without allowing water or wind to penetrate the jacket.
With the right equipment, there’s very little that mother nature can throw at you to keep you from enjoying your bike. Make sure you stop by your local Live to Play Sports dealer to try a few waterproof jackets on for yourself, and see just how awesome they can be!