Being seen and staying dry are the two most fundamental requirements for a practical jacket to use on your daily cycle commute. Being at the mercy of the unpredictable British weather, dark nights and the need to mitigate the inattention of other road users means you’re going to be looking for a jacket that is waterproof, wind resistant, breathable, bright, fast drying, packable and durable. It’s a long list of requirements, but not impossible to find in this day and age.
Jackets cut and designed specifically for cycling work best, as your body position on the bike – even in upright, traffic-beating mode, requires longer arms, lower rear panels, and shaped necks. Look for the other details too: breathable laminated fabrics, high-visibility reflective materials to help you show up in vehicle headlights and enhance your safety in low light and at night, a mesh lining to help provide air space for sweat vapour to evaporate, and waterproof zips that will help to keep the drips on the outside.
Don’t forget lightweight too; you’re likely to be carrying enough to and from work as it is, so an over-bulky rain jacket shouldn’t be one more item when the rain finally stops.
A good cycle commuting jacket is an investment in your personal comfort and it will enable you to arrive at your destination ready for the day’s work. It’s one where you will definitely feel the benefit of each pound spent, so just like when buying a ski jacket or a hiking jacket, expect to get what you pay for.
Northwave Acqua Pro Jacket
The drop-tailed Acqua Pro is a single-layer, high performance answer to a wet commute. Its light weight and low volume make it the ideal emergency rain layer, capable of being stored in even the smallest bag. The neck and upper back are mesh-lined for comfort and there’s a rear louvre vent stretching across the shoulder blade area to stop you overheating. Venting is also helped by the use of thinner panels in the sides to assist breathability. The overall fit is relatively slim, with ergonomically designed arms and neat fabric cuff details with thump loops. The main zip is waterproof. A single rear zip pocket is also handy.
RRP: £94.99 | Cyclescheme price: £71.24*
The Zap is a popular choice for commuters looking for weather protection and safety in a single jacket. Sugoi uses its proprietary Pixel reflective fabric, where the surface is covered in tiny light-reflective glass beads, to make the lightweight, drop-tail, waterproof Zap jacket really stand out in car headlights. Fully taped seams and a waterproof main zip keep the rain on the outside of this slimline design, and a rear zip closure pocket is handy for carrying ride essentials. A soft lined and shaped neck provides comfort and makes an effective seal against annoying drips
RRP £99.99 | Cyclescheme £74.99*
Altura Night Vision Evo jacket
The Night Vision is a perennial favourite, and the Evo version increases night-time visibility with NV360 reflective detailing – total visibility from every possible angle. If that isn’t enough, Altura has added its own integrated ILume LED rear light to help keep you as safe as possible when sharing road space. All of these safety features are applied to its most weatherproof five-pocket rain jacket, which has been ergonomically designed to work best on a bike. Venting is critical on a commuting jacket, and armpit zip vents and an upper back louvre vent help keep warm air moving out before it makes you damp.
RRP £99.99 | Cyclescheme Price £74.99*
Dhb Flashlight Highline
The most effective waterproof commuting jacket in the Dhb range, the drop-tail Flashlight Highline uses a three-layer construction to provide total weather protection. Waterproof zips, adjustable cuffs and a lined, shaped neck ensure no wind or rain will enter the jacket. Zip vents are positioned to assist with temperature regulation. But it’s the extensive use of 3M reflective prints on the Flashlight that give it 360-degree visibility at night, which makes it a popular choice for riders who commute on traffic-laden roads.
RRP £85 | Cyclescheme Price £63.75*
If you’re not content to leave your low-light and night-time commuting safety to chance, you need the Proviz Reflect 360. It’s fully waterproof and made 100 per cent with reflective fabric. The effect is stunning: you’re lit like a Christmas tree the moment a light source touches the jacket surface. The shape is cut for cycling with a dropped tail and longer arms for reaching the handlebar. A soft collar and full mesh lining make it comfortable and the rear shoulder vent helps with temperature regulation. The main zip and twin chest pocket zips are waterproof, and the big rear pocket has a baffle flap.
RRP £79.99 | Cyclescheme Price £59.99*
Endura Luminite II
Endura hails from Scotland, where they know a drop of rain when they see it. The Luminite II is a fully functioning 2.5-layer laminate jacket (the standard for daily-use rainproof outerwear), meaning it’s effective, light and low volume. It also has a trick, not up its sleeve, but on its back: a small built-in LED rear light with three flash options providing extra low-light safety in traffic. The jacket has four pockets: a Napoleon chest pocket, two hand warmers, and a rear pocket on the lower back, all baffled and zipped. Add in zipped armpit vents and a large splash of reflective print, and it’s a recipe for a safe, dry ride.
RRP £90 | Cyclescheme Price £67.50*
*=based on minimum savings of 25% inc End of Hire - many save more. Check your personal savings here.
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