This Showers Pass Elite Pro jacket is the official rainwear of team Katusha so you'd expect it to perform. And it does.
At just 249g this is the lightest three-layer waterproof I've tried. It's genuinely packable: you can fold this jacket up and stuff it in your pocket without any problem. The three-layer construction means that the membrane is fully sandwiched between and outer layer and a liner, meaning that you don't get the clammy feel of the membrane next to the skin like you do in some lighweight jackets.
The Elite Pro has fully taped seams, and incorporates stretch panels at the sides and along the arms to keep a snug fit on the bike. The rear is well dropped and the arms are nice and long for full coverage in a race position.
You get zipped side and neck vents for temperature control and a single back pocket which the jacket stuffs into for stowage. At the neck there's a a soft liner, and the zip is located off-centre to reduce chafing. The cuffs have velcro closures and there's 3M reflective all the way round the jacket.
I've used this jacket in a variety of conditions, most recently struggling through the back-end of hurricane Bertha on this year's Exmouth Exodus. And I'm impressed. For a super-light jacket it does an excellent job of shrugging off the rain. The Elite fabric beads well on the surface, and even when it inevitably gets fully wet the water doesn't seep in through the fabric or seams.
The fit on the bike is excellent, although I'd suggest you try the Elite Pro on before you buy. I'm normally an XL in jackets but I'm happy in a large for this one. Assuming you want it to be a snug fit, you may need to pick what would usually be a smaller size. Sleeve length is just right for a road bike position, as is body length. I didn't have any problems with chafing at the neck, even though it's snug, and the sleeves tighten down to keep the weather out there.
Breathability is very good. In light rain when the water is still running off the fabric it's excellent, the performance degrades once the outer layer is wetted, as you'd expect. Regular treatment with a hydrophobic agent like Nikwax TX-Direct will help there. Even when wet the vents are well-placed to give you some ventilation without letting in too much rain.
One thing this jacket isn't: particularly warm. It's a really thin fabric, and when it gets wet it can cool you quite quickly if it's next to the skin. Worn with full-length layers underneath it's excellent, but. Just make sure you're wearing enough gear to stay warm without relying on the Elite Pro if it's wet. If it's cold and dry, it's an excellent windproof which does help you to stay a bit warmer.
Lightweight rain jackets that perform well are generally expensive, and this one is no exception. You can pay a lot more than £180 for your outer layer, so although it's pricey it's reasonable value, considering the performance.
Very good performance and excellent on the bike fit; lightweight and packable too
road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Elite Pro jacket
Size tested: large, Gold
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?
Ride like a Pro with our lightest 3-layer waterproof breathable rain jacket. Worn by Russian World Tour Team Katusha during the 2014 race season, the Elite Pro is super light weighing a mere 240 grams. Made with lightweight three-layer waterproof and highly breathable elite™ Fabric, to keep you protected from the elements. Softshell side panels offer a bit of stretch and allow this trim fitting jacket to fit like a jersey instead of a shell, while still offering fully seam taped weather resistant construction. Fine tune your temperature with core vents, adjustable cuffs, a two way water resistant zipper and rear exhaust vent (at the base of the neck). When the weather turns in your favor roll it up and stuff it into its own back pocket. The packable Elite Pro fits easily into a jersey pocket. Reflective trim on front sides and back. The Elite Pro Jacket is worn by pro cycling team Katusha, triathletes, and runners alike.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra light Elite 3-Layer performance fabric for extreme breathability and top-notch waterproofing without bulk
Seam taped construction for maximum waterproofness
Two-way water resistant front zipper is asymmetrical for more comfort and reduced chafing at the neck
Dual core vents and upper back opening for flow thru ventilation; and specially designed air flow cuffs
Race cut and stretch sides for reduced wind resistance and contoured fit
360 degrees of 3MTM ScotchliteTM Reflective Material
Packable: stuffs into its own back pocket
Nicely made with good attention to detail.
Really good in all conditions, light weight means you can stuff it in your pocket even if you're not sure you'll need it.
Lightweight fabric is easier to catch than some.
The lightest proper 3-layer jacket I've tested.
Very good, fit on the bike is just right.
Not cheap, but comparable to similar jackets from other manufacturers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light weight, fit, performance in the rain.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.