The Northwave North Wind Jacket is one of those emergency jackets that you might need for part of your ride. Lightweight, packable and a relaxed fit makes it ideal for those relaxed day rides where you want to keep things to a minimum.
Its made 100% from polyester which while not the most technical of fabrics certainly keeps the wind out. Impressively so to considering how thin the material is. The downside with this windproofing is a lack of breathability: if it can't get in it can't get out either.
Northwave have got around this by including plenty of vents and flaps to release unwanted heat. You've got a large mesh section under each armpit, a mesh flap at the upper back and a vent at the lower back.
This lower vent is ideally placed to give you access to your jersey pockets without having to unzip or go under the jacket. All this venting adds up to good breathability for a jacket of this style and it's one of the cooler ones on the market.
Another neat addition at the lower rear vent is a small section of material which Northwave call a banana pouch pocket. You can roll the jacket up and it stores itself in this pouch, which is ideally sized for a jersey pocket.
The build quality is okay but there are a lot of loose thread ends for a fifty quid jacket and the whole thing feels a little cheap. The zip has been working smoothly though, and the material itself is pretty robust.
As far as fit goes Northwave have always been an exception to the general rule that European gear is smaller, being more UK sized than European. This is a medium/UK38 (chest size) and it was still quite big on me considering I actually have a 38in chest. It's spot-on in the body though, with a dropped tail giving plenty of rear coverage. The arms are the right lengths when you're in the drops.
Overall the North Wind Jacket is entering a very crowded market place and while it's much cooler than many of its rivals I think the quality and overall feel doesn't justify the £49.99 asking price. There are better on the market for the same price.
Roomy jacket with plenty of vents let down on quality and price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave North Wind Jacket
Size tested: Medium
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?
The North Wind jacket is a stowable wind jacket that's ideal for emergency use. The relaxed fit makes it ideal for non-racers.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*yellow/black, white/black or black/white
Untidy thread ends and stitching just spoil the overall finish.
Decals peeling off all ready and some more threads are coming loose.
There are some much better finished and quality items out there for the same price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's good at windproofing and the stowable pocket is very easy to cram the jersey while on the move. Impressive ventilation too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, it worked well doing the job it is supposed to do.
Would you consider buying the product? No, the quality puts me off.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I doubt it.
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,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.