The Colombiere Defense jacket is part of Galibier's cold weather range and is designed to repel the wind on those long base mile training rides throughout the winter.
According to Galibier's website the Colombiere jacket takes its name from the "Alpine climb of which the last kilometres seem to be perpetually into a headwind". I can't confirm or deny having never ridden said climb but you can see their logic for a windproof jacket.
Some of the front facing panels and the arms are made from Shield Pro material which feels kind of like a softshell fabric. This is used as the main wind blocker on the body parts which are exposed as you are riding. It certainly does a good job of keeping the breeze out especially on those days with really icy winds that cut right through you. It'll stand up pretty well to the odd shower too with the ability to repel rain and drizzle for half an hour or so before the fabric is overwhelmed.
Galibier quote a useable range of 3-13°C which is bang on at the top end at least. The Colombiere does run warm and with just a mesh baselayer on I was sweating at 15°C. Going lower into freezing temperatures wasn't an issue with a thicker base underneath.
The rear panel uses a Super Roubaix material which is four-way stretch and is much more breathable than the Shield Pro, venting a lot of your body heat. When you stop on a cold day you can actually see heat vapour escaping from the panel. It uses the same material under the chest panels as well for the same effect.
The cut feels a little odd when you first put the Galibier on as the front is very short but this turned out to be the 'Diaphragm cut' which stops any bunching at the front and it is very comfortable when you are actually in the saddle. You get a decent height neck and extended cuffs to keep the drafts out and in terms of fit you can see the Galibier has had a lot of thought go into it. The sizing chart on the website seems pretty true as the medium tested is perfect for my 38-inch chest.
I'm not totally against black kit; I've got a fair bit myself but I do think an item of clothing that is most likely to be worn on grey days should have a bit of colour splashed about on it just to catch the eye of others. If you're wearing the Galibier in the dark though you will be very well lit up as there is a fair amount of reflective on show. All the Galibier logos front and rear are reflective plus there is a large mountain motif on the lower pocket which coupled with the pocket linings makes for good visibility.
You want easy access to pockets in the cold as you don't want to be stopping for too long and the three on the Defense jacket are pretty much spot on, a decent size to get in with gloves on and plenty deep enough. There is a zipped one for your valuables too.
The £77 tag seems pretty good value for money against some of the other smaller clothing companies on the market. You're getting a decent quality garment here with double stitching and materials that seem to be able to shrug off daily scuffs and scrapes. The fit is well thought out too with performance to match.
Overall it's a very warm training jacket that looks smart and is hardwearing. As I mentioned earlier a bit of colour wouldn't go amiss but that's the only real criticism with the Colombiere as it does everything Galibier set out to achieve.
Very warm, well fitting, hardwearing training jacket; could do with a splash of colour.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Galibier Colombiere Training 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?
Galibier say "Col de la Colombière , a stunning Alpine climb. Famous in part, because the last brutal kilometres seem to be perpetually into a head wind.
We took this torture as our inspiration for a jacket that will protect the rider from the fiercest elements. We wanted to produce an advanced garment, made from the finest fabrics, to protect in multiple seasons"
They've certainly achieved what they set out to do, the Colombiere is comfortable and completely windproof.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windproof anti-stick zip.
At least 3 meters of Power Shield fabric in each jacket
A zip garage protects the neck from irritation
Each seam and the rear pockets, have 3M reflective trim to increase visibility .
3 high stretch rear pockets
A zipped security pocket provides valuable storage
Silicone waist band keeps the jacket locked in place.
Double stitching throughout.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is totally windproof with the added feature of some water resistance. It is warm though so if you run hot yourself you'll only need minimal layering.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and warmth.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The only colour is black.
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
Age: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course! My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.