Picking the Right Jacket

Friday, April 28th, 2023

In association with Cycle Super Store

When it comes to choosing a cycling jacket, the saying ‘One size fits all’ does not apply. Selecting your jacket depends on the weather condition you’ll be riding your bike in. The two most common types of jackets available on the market are ‘Rain’ or ‘Wind Proof’ jacket.  So, what’s the difference between the two types?

Even on a relatively still day, when riding you’re a bike you will generate a significant breeze. This breeze stops you from building up a nice layer of warm air which keeps you insulated and protected from the elements. This breeze can also result in you becoming chilly especially on dry winter days, taking the edge off this chill is essential.  Even though there have been great advancements in clothing technology in recent years there hasn’t been a jacket that can do both. Some people will try to wear a rain jacket to keep the wind off them, but this tactic can do the opposite to what you want the jacket to do.

Breathability is the key word and here is why.  Rain jackets by their design have taped seams to keep the rain out. However, if the breathability of the jacket is quite poor these taped seams will prevent any sweat from evaporating making you feel you’re wearing a bin liner and becoming a boil in the bag. The wind jacket will help you build up the layer of warm air, keeping you toasty while level of breathability will allow your sweat to evaporate prevent you from getting that clammy feeling. Wind proof jackets are usually packable meaning they can be folded up and put into one of jersey pockets.  They are ideal for cool morning starts and can be easily stowed in your jersey pocket and can be slipped back on for those long cold descents.

Rain jackets by their nature will have a long back with a grippy seem on the bottom to prevent the jacket moving up your back and will have tight cuffs and a high neck. When it comes to a rain jacket, you have two options a hard or soft shell. Most high-quality waterproof jackets are a hard shell and are designed to withstand the worst of the wet weather. The hard-shell jacket tries to prevent moisture coming in contact with your skin. This combined with the windchill of riding can quickly turn a pleasant cycle into a horrible one. The softshell jacket is an excellent versatile alternative to a fully waterproof hard shell. However, they are not designed to withstand a prolonged deluge and are only ideal for a quick shower. Their big plus over a hardshell is that they can offer more breathability and can be easily folded down and placed in your back pocket. This is something their hard shells cousins can’t.

Waterproof Rating (mm)Water Resistance ProvidedConditions
0-5,000mmNo resistance to some resistanceLight rain, dry snow, no pressure
6,000-10,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under light pressure.Light rain, average snow, light pressure.
11,000-15,000 mmRainproof and waterproof except under high pressure.Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.
16,000-20,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under high pressure.Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure
20,000 mm+Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressureHeavy rain, wet snow, high pressure
Rain Rating Table

Whatever option you go for (hard or soft) always look for the jackets rain rating. This demonstrates how long the jacket will stay waterproof depending on the volume.

Brand/ModelMens/Womens VersionWind ProofPackableBreathableWaterproof RatingColourPriceLink
BL StelvioBothYesYesYesN/AFluio Yellow€59.90HERE
BL Normandia_EBothYesYesYes10,000Black€89.90HERE
Endura XtractBothYesYes5,0005,000Blue, Black, Yellow or Green€84.99HERE
Endura FS260 Adrenaline Race II JacketMensN/AYes20,00015,000Fluro +Various€94.99HERE
Endura Pro SL WaterproofMensN/AYes60,00020,000Black, Yellow€239.99HERE
Assos Equipe RS TargaYesYesYesN/AN/AVarious€345HERE