The Look Excellence Jacket is the company's top-end winter jacket, It uses a soft-shell material to balance the competing demands of wind/waterproofness and warmth with breathability. The combination of the highly technical fabric with a slim, aggressive fit make it a good choice for all your winter needs, as long as you've got the cash to splash.
Tackling the fabric first, the Excellence is made from 'Resistex Carbon' which integrates carbon filaments into the weave. Supposedly, this improves the conductivity of the material which is claimed to improve both blood circulation and breathability. The former is a bold claim indeed, and without access to the study and data behind it, looks like a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo to this sceptic. Perhaps the claim could be true if the material was in close contact with the skin, such as on a pair of bibshorts, but this isn't the case for a winter jacket.
The second claim is a little more verifiable, but I didn't find the Excellence's wicking abilities to be any better than most other high end winter softshells. That is to say, they were perfectly adequate for the majority of time that you'd expect to be wearing such a jacket, but once the mercury crept into double figures, things would get a little clammy inside.
On the flip side, the fabric did a good job handling drizzle and minor rain, such that I rarely felt the need to bring along a waterproof jacket if it wasn't already raining at the start of a ride. All the prominent seams are taped on the outside which surely helps in this regard, and also adds to the jacket's quality feel.
On the inside, the fabric is lined with Super Roubaix which is soft on the skin and provides plenty of warmth. The Excellence is easily appropriate for temperatures down to freezing when wearing a warm base-layer and mid-layer underneath.
In my mind, the standout feature of the Excellence jacket is the fit, which allows just enough space for a couple of layers underneath without billowing out in the arms or creasing up over the belly. Unlike the Excellence bibtights (link), the sizing runs much truer to standard, if a little on the slim side for some. The body for instance is cut on the short side, while the arms are long – perfect for on the bike but it does suit a more athletic physique.
At both the waist and the wrists, liberal use of silicone dots keeps everything nicely in place and eliminates any potential draughty gaps from opening up. Another neat touch is the offsetting of the main zip at the neck, which makes it a lot more comfortable to zip all the way up when the weather dictates that all hatches must be battened down.
Together with the fit, it's little features like this that separate good jackets from the true top-end, and Look seem to have got it right with the Excellence.
Another of the jacket's distinguishing features are its pockets; more specifically its zipped pockets of which there are three: one located externally on the central rear pocket; one on the chest; and, unusually, one on the left forearm. This could have led to the jacket looking a little overcrowded, but credit where credit's due, it's all very tastefully done.
Though they're all quite small (the rear one will just about accept my Nokia Lumia 800 phone without its waterproof case), they're pretty useful for safeguarding notes, coins and the various other bits and bobs that you need for a long winter's ride.
In fact, the size of the pockets is my only real issue with the jacket. The central rear pocket is narrower than the two side pockets and is a tight fit for most modern smartphones. In its waterproof case, my Lumia 800 was a very tight fit, while a larger phone such as an S3 would only fit if it didn't have a case at all. The width is suitable for a pump, multi-tool and levers however, and perhaps even beneficial as it makes it less likely that something will fly out unexpectedly. Overall, it's not a deal breaker, but you might find you have change your storage preferences depending on where you like to put your bits and pieces.
A top quality winter jacket with an excellent fit that goes some way to justifying its premium price tag.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Look Excellence Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Apparently, the Look Excellence jacket is a "concentration of pure technology into a single garment". Bold words indeed. In practice, it's a softshell winter jacket designed to balance wind/waterproofness and warmth with breathability, making it a very versatile piece of kit to get you through the winter
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FABRIC: RESISTEX® CARBON/SUPER ROUBAIX®
COLORS: BLACK WITH MONDRIAN ACCENTS
FEATURES: HEAT-SEALED FRONT ZIP POCKET, WATERPROOF REAR ZIP POCKET, HEAT-SEALED SEAMS, SILICON SUPPORT BAND, REFLECTIVE MARKINGS
The jacket oozes quality.
A very versatile piece of kit that will see much use over a winter. Breathability could be improved with some pit zips or something similar for when temperatures creep into double digits.
No issues so far and the quality of construction gives me confidence to say this will last a while.
Excellent fit that suits a more athletic body type. Just enough space for layers underneath without being flappy in the wind.
Very expensive but justified by the performance and quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rear pockets on the narrow side.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Don't have the funds unfortunately.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,