12 best men’s cycling jackets for autumn/winter that protect against the elements

Last Updated on January 29, 2021 by admin

From slimline racy cuts to fully waterproof offerings, these layers won’t let you down

A decent jacket is one of the most important bits of cycling kit you can buy.

They have moved on miles from the flimsy and sweaty outerwear that used to be offered a few years ago. Nowadays there is a huge spread of designs offering everything from supreme wind and rain protection to attention-grabbing fabrics that sparkle in car headlights.

A great rain jacket will keep out the damp while also allowing the moisture that builds up while riding to escape. Some have their waterproofing and breathability capabilities rated in terms of how much moisture the fabric can keep out or allow to pass through in the course of an hour.

If you see a garment rated 15k waterproof it will keep out a column of water an inch in diameter and 15,000mm tall for an hour. A 10k breathability rating means it can allow 10,000 grams of moisture to escape per square meter of fabric, per hour.

Softshells usually offer a degree of water resistance but are mainly used on drier, cooler days when you need to keep the wind at bay.

If you’re commuting, look out for jackets with a more generous cut that allows you to wear ordinary clothes underneath. Thinner fabrics are great for those obsessed with keeping weight down, but a thicker material will allow you to carry a rucksack or bag without damaging it.

We have tugged at seams and zips to try to find any weaknesses, braved howling gales to see if they kept us warm, and even turned garden hose pipes on some of them to simulate biblical downpours.

Our testers have been riding in everything from windproofs designed to keep out the worst winter chills through to lightweight jackets that budding racers can keep rolling in a pocket.

 For the new wave of bike commuters, we have also tried out a few styles that won’t look out of place in your favorite cafe or bar as well as in the office.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Showers Pass atlas

showers pass jacket

If you get lost wearing this fantastic jacket, there’s a chance you could use it to find your way home. The reflective coating – showing segments of maps from 11 cities including Newcastle and London – shines bright silver in headlights. But it’s much better as a cycling jacket than as a navigational aid. Fully waterproof, breathable, and with two huge zip-up vents, it will keep both heavy rain and sweat at bay.

There are some great details such as a zip-off hood and reinforced shoulder panels to stop your backpack from rubbing the fabric. All the seams are taped and there’s a decent-sized storm flap behind the main zip. It’s got two zipped side pockets, plus another at the chest where you can stow your phone or wallet. Pair it with some decent waterproof trousers and you’ll be able to ride on through everything the great British weather can throw at you. It’s expensive but is a great investment for serious cycle commuters.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Santini vega multi

santini cycling jacket

Here’s something different – a softshell with short sleeves. Fully waterproof, it has a polyurethane storm flap, cuffs, and zip backing to stop rain from getting in. It uses Polartec’s clever “power shield” fabric that’s nice and breathable yet repels both the wind and the rain. There are some fine details including a waterproof zipped rear pocket, drain holes on the two side pockets, and broad orange stripes down the back and on the shoulder for extra visibility.

It works best when paired with a sleeveless base layer and decent pair of waterproof arm warmers on those autumn and spring rides that are a bit warm for a full jacket but too damp for just a long-sleeved jersey. It’s a racy, Italian cut so you may need to go up a size. We have used the long-sleeved version of this one for a couple of winters and it’s been a great cycling companion.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Chrome Industries storm salute commute

chrome industries cycling jacket

This one has been our go-to jacket for loads of short trips to the shops and fun family rides. It’s also seen a surprising amount of use off the bike, especially when rain has threatened, as it just looks like a normal jacket. Despite its subtle design, it does have bike-friendly features including a two-way zipper so you can ease it open at the waist when in the saddle.

There’s also a hidden air vent across the shoulders plus a big zipped cargo pocket at the back where you can carry lighter objects such as gloves. It has a hood for use off the bike, and it’s rated 10k waterproof. We found it worked really well over normal clothes – never too sweaty, never letting in water – making it great for commuting… as you’d expect given the name.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Lusso aqua pro extreme

lusso cycling jacket

If you are looking for a winter training jacket, this one is superb. It’s windproof, water-resistant, and includes high-vis and reflective details. It’s well stitched together too, with a form-fitting design that will help you to cut through the wind with no annoying flapping material.

A range of Italian-made fabrics has been used on this jacket to accommodate different needs in each area. There’s a heavier, quilted one to keep chills off your chest, while the breathable but water-resistant fabric is used at the back to help the rain runoff. You can tell the designers have spent a lot of time riding in winter as there’s a nice long tail to keep road spray off your backside. There are four rear pockets to carry your snacks and ride essentials, including one with a zip for valuables.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Albion rain jacket

albion rain jacket

This jacket is light enough to carry in a pocket on summer training rides but tough enough to keep the bad weather at bay. If you are using it in the wilds of winter you will have to layer up accordingly underneath it – it’s a pure wind and rain shell, so there is no insulating layer to help keep you warm. That three-layer fabric with its taped seams does a great job of keeping the rain out, and you can reproof it easily when it eventually starts to lose its water-repelling abilities.

The fit is quite neat, in line with it being a racy product, and we found it a little restrictive across the chest when walking around but fine once in the saddle. A wide and grippy waistband helps to hold it in place, and there’s a two-way zip for comfort and extra ventilation. It’s available in both blue and the bright orange color we tried.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Proviz nightrider 2.0

proviz jacket

If you have never seen the brand’s “reflect 360” fabric in car headlights at night, prepare to be amazed. At the merest hint of photons, it transforms from dull grey to an astonishing silvery white. Proviz makes jackets that are fully reflective, but this one only has it across the upper arms and shoulders and again at the lower back. There are a shoulder vent and thin mesh liner to help stop you from getting too sweaty as you pedal, and the polyester fabric is rated 10k waterproof. Extra features include a fleecy collar for comfort, zipped side pockets, and Velcro adjusters on the cuffs. It’s a generous cut, so you’ll have no problems wearing work clothes under it if using it for commuting.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Gorewear C5 gore Infinium thermo

gore wear jacket

This softshell is a fantastic wind stopper rather than being waterproof. That said, it’s kept us warm and dry when we have used it on showery training rides. The stretchy fabric allows for a nice tight fit with nothing flapping around annoyingly as you pick up speed. There’s a cozy fleece lining that feels great against your skin, so you can wear it with just a short-sleeved base layer underneath it on warmer days.

A high collar, elasticated wrists, and grippy waistband keep chills out, and there are four pockets at the back, including a zipped one for valuables. The outer rear pockets are quite narrow, but the middle one is big enough to take your phone inside a case. You can buy it in black or blue, but if you really want to stand out on autumn and winter rides go for the fluo yellow.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Assos equipe RS schlosshund

assos jacket

If you’re going to be racking up the training miles over the winter, this jacket will be your best friend. As you would expect at this price, it’s a fully waterproof number with taped seams that you can combine with a base layer and/or a jersey to see you through the wilds of winter. On the milder rides, the breathable membrane in the fabric did a fantastic job of stopping us from getting too sweaty.

There are no pockets but you do get covered slits you can put your hands through to reach items in your jersey. A double zip helps you alter the fit or get extra ventilation on the go, and the bright yellow color and thick reflective stripe down the back will help you get noticed in the murk. It’s a bit more substantial than many racy rain jackets on the market, but you can still roll it up and stow it in a jersey pocket when the weather brightens.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Rapha pro team insulated

rapha cycling jacket

If you still like to ride hard when temperatures drop, you might find some traditional winter jackets a bit bulky. This insulated offering from Rapha is surprisingly light and thin thanks to its use of Polartec’s low-bulk “alpha” material. There’s a layer of it beneath the windproof forward-facing sections to keep the chill off your chest and arms, while the back is more breathable. A double zip helps you to fine-tune ventilation as you ride, while a nice feature is the elasticated mini-pump loop in one of the four pockets. It’s a neat, racy fit so you might need to go up one size from your usual. If you want a color that stands out, take a look at the fantastic dark green we tested.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Dhb Aeron rain defense polartec

dhb jacket

This one combines the insulation of a jersey with the water-resistance of a jacket. The durable water repellent (DWR) coating helps water to bead and runoff, making it perfect on cooler rides with brief showers, especially when layered with a winter base layer. It’s also lightweight enough to wear it like a jersey under a waterproof layer on really wet days. There are two main pockets at the back, a narrow sleeve where you can carry a mini pump, plus a zipped compartment. We loved the lip over the pockets which stop water from getting in. There’s a dropped tail to keep your seat dry and the sleeve cuffs fit tightly enough to ward off any chills. We rated the grenadine shade we tried – check it out if you are looking for something a bit different.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Altura Nightvision storm

altura jacket

With super-bright reflective dots on the sleeves and down the sides and back, this one’s really good for those dark commutes. The cut is generous enough that you’ll easily be able to wear your normal clothes underneath, and you can adjust the sleeves and tail to suit you. Altura has loaded it up with a range of pockets – two at the sides, a big one at the back, and another on the chest. If you’re planning on riding in foul weather you’ll be glad to hear it’s fully waterproof with taped seams and a protected zip. You needn’t worry about overheating either as there are zipped vents under the arms.

Buy now, Amazon

 

Vulpine portixol

vulpine jacket

You could wear this one on your daily commute and then pull it on again for weekend training or touring rides – pick the right color and it won’t scream cyclist when you’re popping down to the shops either. It’s a bit too bulky to carry in a jersey pocket as an emergency rain cape but will serve you well when the rain’s set in for the day. There are hidden vents at the armpits and across the back for ventilation, plus a fold-down rain flap at the rear that’s held in place by magnets when you don’t need it. The 100 percent polyester fabric is rated an excellent 15k for both waterproofing and breathability, and certainly didn’t let any rain in on our leisurely trips around town. The cut is just about perfect for a commuter jacket, with enough room for your work clothes without it flapping in the breeze.

Buy now, Amazon

 

The verdict: Cycling jackets for winter/autumn

It was hard to pick just one winner as there is such a variety of different styles in our line-up, but we went for the Showers Pass atlas jacket as it’s a remarkable bit of kit. Rainproof, reflective, and tough, it should serve regular commuters well for many years and is backed up with a 24-month guarantee.

Read the original article on Independent.co.uk