The Bionicon Soft Shell jacket isn't cheap at £150 but it offers a different look and good performance from a fairly expensive proofing technology. The cut is not too bike specific and the style is urban/mtb, so it's a good all-rounder
The Soft Shell fabric in this jacket features a Schoeller 3XDry treatment, which repels water from the outside of the jacket and absorbs moisture from the inside, keeping you much drier than many barrier-based systems where the sweat can bead on the inside. In terms of wicking performance it's pretty hard to fault, keeping me comfortable even on a granny ring grind up the 25% hell of Prospect Place (http://tinyurl.com/verysteep). Well, not comfortable exactly. But not clammy. Because the fabric soaks up moisture more than a layered fabric it even works pretty well next to the skin.
The material is fairly windproof but not to the extent of a membrane fabric, so it's not one for the coldest days. In the wet it's pretty good, the surface treatment keeping the rain at bay very effectively. It'll wear off after a while, especially if you need to wash it after a muddy ride through the lanes, but there's plenty of third party products from the likes of Granger's and Nikwax to spruce it up.
The back isn't dropped particularly, meaning it's better for more upright bikes than flat-out racers, and the green/brown is more for the town or the trails than the club run; it's also available in blue. The sizing is on the small side, with the XL a snug fit on me. The arms aren't over long either, so it's worth sizing up or at least trying before you buy. There's four chest pockets, arm zips for a bit of ventilation – though oddly they zip right to the ends from three quarters of the way up, rather than just round the pits – and a drawstring waist to finish everything off. There's no reflectives, which is a pity.
So who's it for? It's primarily aimed at the MTB market but there's a sizeable urban ridership these days looking for a more individual jacket, and the Bionicon mates esoteric styling with good performance in all weathers. It won't look out of place down the sushi bar either. If you're looking for something functional but not too bikey, it might be the jacket for you.
Good all purpose jacket that matches a smart look with good performance, but you'll need to dig deep
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bionicon Soft Shell jaket
Size tested: XL
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'm not sure I'd ever spend £150 on a jacket, but it's the same or cheaper than similar ones from other brands
Would you recommend the product to a friend? to rich friends, yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I\'m testing... My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with Ultegra 6700
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: time trialling, commuting, 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.