Beat the breeze, the chill and the damp with a new cycling jacket to see you through autumn and winter.
1 Endura FS260-Pro Jestream III, £72.99, endurasport.com
Striking a mid ground between a flyweight summer jacket and a heavily insulated winter jacket, the FS260-Pro is ideal for the cooler days of autumn and spring. The slightly plasticky-feeling front panels and arms are windproof, while fleecy sides, underarms and back help with breathability while delivering snug warmth.
For long, steady rides it’s wonderful, but like most of these jackets it gets a bit clammy during high intensity interval sessions. The fit is close so it doesn’t flap in the breeze, the gripper tape around the hem works well, and there are three deep pockets as well as a small zipped pocket.
Our tests sample came in white, which looked great until the first rear-wheel puncture fix.
Verdict: Lovely attention to detail on a highly effective jacket for autumn rides. Top value too.
2 Altura Raceline Windproof, £119.99, zyro.co.uk
This jacket lives up to its Raceline name with a rather aero fit, especially in the arms. It also has a long, fluro tail that’s just crying out for the question, “does my bum look big in this?”
The extra length not only keeps your lower spine warm, but also boosts rear visibility to drivers, and if the jacket looks better on the bike than off, that’s exactly how it should be. Three good pockets carry all you need for a long day in the saddle, while the zipped pocket is big enough to swallow a phone.
Different panels of fabric keep the front and arms windproof and water resistant, while the back is more breathable and wonderfully stretchy. In fact, the entire jacket stretches really well, contouring to your torso.
Verdict: A warm, stretchy jacket with well thought out features.
3 DHB Blok Meso Softshell Windslam Roubaix, £65, wiggle.co.uk
The jackets employs the Roubaix fleece which features in the ranges of a number of upper-end cycling brands, keeps out the wind and is rain resistant. Worn over a thin polyester baselayer it proved the perfect companion for a century ride on a chilly day, and I’ve found it among the most breathable jackets on test.
The two deep rear pockets are capacious and easy to access, and it’s a neat touch to see one is waterproof lined to keep its contents safe from sweat and road spray.
This jacket is part of dhb’s performance range, and has a close, but not aero fit. My only concern lies with early signs of fraying on the cuffs, which I wouldn’t expect after just a couple of weeks’ wear.
Verdict: A good value, well-featured jacket for cooler rather than perishing days.
4 Provis Pixelite Softshell, £119.99, provizsports.com
Daylight doesn’t do much for this jacket, but wear it in the dark, riding in the glare of headlights, and it glows like a radioactive alien from a 1950s B-movie. Reflective threads throughout the grey fabric create an astonishing effect, which makes it a great option for both commuting and night rides.
It feels stiffer than its rivals in this test, especially in the forearms because it has a fleecy warmth to stave off the chill. It also has good wind protection on the front and shoulders, and decent breathability across the back and under the arms.
Three deep pockets stow your paraphernalia and a zipped pocket will keep valuables safe.
Verdict: Ride like a Strictly glitterball – genuinely outstanding at night.
5 Rapha Pro Team Jacket, £190, rapha.cc
Getting the most from this jacket is a question of layering. While it is windproof and water resistant, it offers less insulation than its rivals, so in chillier temperatures it’s worked best over a Merino baselayer.
I found it to be easily the most breathable jacket on test, choosing it repeatedly for fast-paced training rides, especially when the wind was up and the thermometer down. It’s a slim fit, shorter at the front than the back, creating a flattering profile on and off the bike.
The three pockets are highly usable, and include an elasticated loop to keep a mini-pump secure, which is a great little detail. It is pricey, and it’s not 2.5 times as good as the Endura, but if you have the budget don’t hesitate.
Verdict: The harder you ride and the tougher you train, the more you’ll like this jacket.
6 Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell 180, £139.99, madison.co.uk
The lower the mercury the more this jacket comes into its own. It’s the warmest on test and would definitely work all the way through winter. Wind and water resistant softshell panels keep out the elements, while a lovely fleece lining keeps in body heat.
Thermal panels on the underarms and back help with breathability, but on hilly training rides I found myself overheating on climbs and then being thankful for the insulation on descents. The fit is more generous than some of its rivals, there’s a long, protective tail, and the “screaming green” colour is as dazzling as its name suggests.
A single, large pouch pocket stores your gubbins, but is difficult to access on the fly, and there’s a second small, zipped pocket.
Verdict: The colder the weather, the more you’ll appreciate the cosseting warmth of this jacket.