If you watched the 2014 Cyclocross World Championships closely, as I did last weekend, you will have seen eventual winner - and my hero - Zdenek Stybar wearing a Kalas winter jacket in his national Czech colours.
The Kreis CMYK Nachschatten Winter Jacket is the exact same Kalas jacket, just underneath a slightly different outer design (we'll get to that in a sec). So right off the bat we have a World Champion who uses this kit, and as everyone knows, 'it must be good if a pro uses it'… okay, he probably didnt' have to buy it, in fact he's probably paid to wear it, but even so.
Right then. That design. Yes. Lets talk about it. I am someone who takes pride in their appearance on the bike, regardless of whether I am riding 10km to uni, 260km in Flanders or 12 hours through the night on a mountain bike.
I'll be honest, at first I really wasn't sure about the design on this jacket, and neither were some of my riding mates. But after the last month of riding in it I can honestly say it has really grown on me, and many of my fellow club members agree.
Looks are certainly not going to keep you warm though. No matter how good a product looks, I flat out won't be using it if it doesn't do its job properly or is uncomfortable.
Kalas describe the jacket as being wind and water resistant, and this January I have experienced my fair share of both wind and water while riding, and plenty more on top of that.
In light rain and mist, the jacket has that very satisfying 'waxed car' effect when it gets rainwater on it. However this is not a fully waterproof jacket, and on the few occasions it did get properly crap outside, the jacket was a bit overwhelmed, as I expected it to be. I ended up damp underneath, but even when wet the jacket did a good job of keeping me warm.
Wind resistance has also been good, something I can be quite fussy about as I'm not the heaviest of lads and it can feel like the wind is blowing right through me at times. But I haven't had any problems as yet. Also in terms of breathability I haven't had any sweat related issues at all, a pretty impressive feat on the steep grades of Bath and the Mendips.
The CMYK Nachschatten has a lot of features that I expect to see in a winter jacket of this price. The collar is high and snug around my neck, and the cuffs are also tight and provide plenty of overlap with gloves, so I never have the dreaded exposed wrists between glove and sleeve while riding. When the temperatures do increase, the sleeves also zip off to essentially leave you with a gilet which is a very welcome touch.
It is a bit of a challenge to remove the sleeves without stopping, and I think you'd have to be Danny Macaskill to be able to put them back on while riding; the zips are on the small side and a little fiddly. I don't find this to be a particular annoyance though, as when they are on, the sleeves are very securely sealed to the main body of the jacket, and I'd rather spend two minutes quickly stopping at the side of the road to put sleeves back on than have some 'sleeve quick release' system that didn't keep me as warm or dry.
The cargo pockets at the back are deep and spacious, but also have quite tight openings. That's a feature that I'm a fan of as I have had phones and pumps jump out of other jacket pockets while hopping kerbs and potholes, or while riding my cross bike over bumpy terrain. Speaking of which, having ridden some very muddy cyclocross in the jacket, I can say that it washes well and hasn't lost any of it's wind or water resistance after going through the machine.
Size wise I would say that our size 4 sample jacket was a touch too big for my 6ft, 73kg frame, leading to a bit more flapping that a size down might have had. (Kalas dont go with S/M/L sizing but this is equivalent to a size large in most other jackets) However, it was never enough to put me off wearing it or make me uncomfortable. And in terms of price, I would say that the CMYK Nachschatten performs much as I would expect £150 worth of jacket to perform.
If you're looking for a summary sentence this is it. For the last month the CMYK Nachschatten has been my go-to jacket in cold and gloomy conditions, and will continue to be for as long as this Great British Winter continues.
Warm winter jacket for cold gloomy days on the bike, with removable sleeves, and looks that will probably divide your riding mates.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Kreis CMYK Nachschatten Winter Jacket
Size tested: Size 4, grey
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A water and wind resistant jacket/gilet for those dreich winter days when you are more than likely to get just a bit wet and cold.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Czech manufacturer Kalas say:
"Jacket designed for winter use and cold days. It has a membrane surface and is wind and water resistant. Breathable Lycra fabric back panels provide extra breathability and stretch. 5 cm padded collar for better comfort Full-length zipper, three-compartment back pocket and reflective parts."
And I would have to agree.
A nice bit of kit that is comfortable to wear and is plenty breathable enough.
Performed just as I expected and wanted in this winter weather.
I can only mark it down on the sleeve zips, as it took a bit of care to ensure they were properly located.
You can get cheaper jackets and you can get more expensive jackets. I found the Kreis CMYK Nachschatten Winter Jacket to be representative of its price, perhaps just slightly on the expensive side.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The jacket has performed very well for me throughout January 2014, the "wettest on record". I was glad to have it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The sleeves can be removed easily when the temperature increases and essentially leave you with a gilet, which was great for days that started cold and then warmed up.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing particularly stands out, apart from the fact that the size tested was perhaps a bit on the big side for me personally.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,