Upper Ends Neo: Jonathan Manning finds a MTB equivalent of Rapha


Fashion is a fickle mistress. While every last colour and detail of my favourite road cycling kit appears meticulously designed by style gurus, my mountain biking kit tends to be at the functional end of the spectrum. It performs just as well, but perhaps because it gets sprayed and muddy less attention is paid to the finer details.

This new Upper Downs jacket redresses that balance beautifully. It’s made from the material of the moment, Polartec NeoShell, which is about as waterproof and breathable as it’s possible to get, so it performs brilliantly. But it’s also exquisitely finished, from the packaging to the hidden zip for the removable hood, to the zipped vents and neat hem.

I mean this as the greatest compliment; if Rapha made mountain bike kit it would look very similar to this.