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Step out into our traditional British weather in confidence with five of the best cycling jackets of 2019

the best cycling jackets

Whether it’s to seal out torrential rain, zip up against an onslaught of snow or just warm you up on a

chilly morning scoot, a good cycling jacket is an essential part of the cyclists wardrobe. And jackets are improving in leaps and bounds as fabrics become more breathable, lighter and more waterproof as the years go by.

Of course, a good jacket doesn’t begin and end with the fabric. Breathability is maximised by good design, ventilation and intelligent use of fit. Add too many pockets in the wrong place, for example, and you will kill the breathability of even the best fabrics by overlapping layers or introducing more taping that traps condensation.

A truly great jacket starts with good fabric, and builds on this by keeping the fit neat, utilising stretch panels and having a well designed cut, with ventilation points if needed and minimal clutter.

We pick five of the best jackets for you to pull on, zip up and keep cycling through any weather.


Endura-Pro-SL-Shell-II-Jacket.jpgEndura Pro SL Shell Jacket II Waterproof | £165

BEST FOR Performance road cyclists who want a sleek yet effective waterproof. 

Constructed of immensely waterproof and breathable fabric, the Pro SL II ticks all our boxes for a truly excellent cycling jacket. Building on the exceptional 40,000g/m²/24hr moisture transmission numbers, Endura haven’t just sat back and let the fabric do all the work, instead constructing a superbly simple and clean cut that allows the fabric to do what it does best. Breathe. The result is a super light, clutter free jacket that fits like a glove, using subtle neoprene sprung cuffs, a well cut collar and very little else. It just works, and works very well. And when it isn’t working it packs up to the size of a fist and stuffs easily into a back pocket.

VERDICT You won’t find a better road waterproof.

All Year Moab Jacket heron.jpgVaude All Year Moab Softshell Jacket | £175

BEST FOR Mountain bikers who need a little extra warmth in cold conditions.

Designed for cold and dry(ish) weather conditions on the mountain bike, Vaude have cut the All Year Moab with a fair bit of room for not only movement, but also adding layers underneath. The wind and shower proof fabric is lined with a skim of Primaloft insulation over the chest and upper arms to protect the wearer from windchill, so we found it positively cosy when zipped and sealed up, yet pit zips meant it could be ventilated effectively too. As a bonus we found ourselves running, hillwalking and more in the Moab, so it adds up to even better value in the long run.

VERDICT A cosy mountain biking jacket useful for more than just two wheels.


Rab Vapour Rise Alpine Softshell Jacket | £150

BEST FOR Mountain and touring cyclists who run hot when exercising. 

We have been using Rab Vapour Rise garments for years now, appreciating the unique not-quite-wind-proof characteristics of this superb fabric. Lined with a skim of microfleece, the shell of the jacket is Pertex Equilibrium which allows what feels like about ten percent of the wind to get through, keeping you reasonably cosy yet with a modicum of airflow. It all results in a superb multi-activity jacket that doesn’t allow runaway heat build up and breathes superbly. Extended stops in windy and cold conditions need an extra shell, but the rest of the time the Vapour Rise offers a great balance. Cut is roomy, pockets are well placed for harnesses and hydration packs and there is even an effective, roll away hood.

VERDICT A superb jacket for high output activities, achieving the perfect balance of warmth and breathability.

Five40 Waterproof Jacket_F_Burgundy.jpgAltura Five/40 (540) Waterproof Jacket | £170

BEST FOR Mountain biking in the worst possible conditions.

Constructed from solid and durable waterproof fabric, it’s clear from the first outing that the Five/40 is a single purpose jacket. And that purpose is as a no compromise foul weather jacket that is perfect for pulling on at the start of a cold and wet ride, and not pulling off until you’re back in the door at the end. This high performance does limit it’s versatility though - you wouldn’t want to pull it on for a summer shower for example - and it is far too bulky to act as a ‘just in case’ waterproof in your back pocket. But what it does, it does very well.

VERDCIT A superbly weatherproof jacket, but restricted to purely winter outings.


Shimano CW-JACW-QS12MQ_01.jpgShimano Transit Softshell Jacket | £110

BEST FOR Touring cyclists and those planning to hit the cafe stops hard.

The Transit jacket is an intriguing blend of a classic, understated design - casual almost - with cutting edge softshell fabrics that actually make it far more practical than it first appears. During the test we easily shrugged off rain showers and chill winds but at the same time managed not to look like pro cyclists when popping into cafes and shops. Neoprene seals back up the civilian cuffs to stop wind scooting up your sleeve, and there’s a scattering of other cycle friendly features in this otherwise sleek and understated jacket including luxuriously microfleeced hand-warmer pockets, adjustable elastic hem and small hidden chest and back pockets.

VERDICT A wonderfully casual and discrete looking performance softshell jacket


Although every jacket on this page will see you well for a variety of cycling activities and more, there were a few that shone. In particular we felt that the highly breathable and waterproof Endura Pro SL Shell provided amazing performance, with great cycling specific features and cut, so it takes the winning spot in our cycling jackets group test. We couldn't ignore the value and discreet looks of the Shimano Transit Softshell so it deservedly takes home the accolade of our best budget buy.

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