Everyone knows one of those people: good looking, smart and understated during office hours… but get them down the pub after work and suddenly they turn into a different person. Well, the Lumo Herne Hill Harrington is that person. During the day it looks much like a typical casual jacket, but as evening approaches you turn the lights on and… it’s disco time!
We first featured Lumo on road.cc in December last year (see here) when the company launched its Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise £50k to, erm, kick start the brand. The good news is it smashed the target and managed to raise nearly £75,000, then went on to secure equity investment through Crowdcube, and Lumo was born.
Lumo's modest launch range, The London Collection, features just three items of clothing available in men’s and women’s cuts, and a couple of accessories. Lumo has very much opted for the 'quality, not quantity' approach, and this is to its credit as the quality of the items we've got our hands on is second to none. The range is centred around a neat LED light system built into the garments that lights you up like a Christmas tree when activated, but is totally inconspicuous off the bike.
The Herne Hill Harrington is Lumo's showpiece jacket. It might be based on the classic British Harrington but it’s affectionately been dubbed 'the disco jacket' in the road.cc office. It’s quite amusing what effect a strip of lights down the front of a jacket can have – passing pedestrians and drivers all seem to double take as you ride past, and strangers want to talk to you about where you got your jacket and how it works.
During the day when turned off they're almost completely invisible, just appearing as a section of piping down the front of the placket and across the rear hem, but when activated the 14 LEDs on the front and back become a real attention grabber. The lights are obviously 'to be seen', rather than 'to see by', so they're designed to accompany a set of lights rather than as an alternative. They do have two modes, though: high energy pulse and low energy flash. It kind of feels like there should be a third option of a 'steady mode' as most other lights would offer, but that's not on the menu.
They’re powered by a 1100mAh 3.7v lithium polymer battery that sits neatly in a discreet pocket in the inside front panel and plugs into a connecting wire sewn into the bones of the jacket. The battery is about the size and weight of one of those small, flimsy pay-as-you-go mobile phones, so not much of an inconvenience to carry about. Battery life varies depending on which setting is used: it's around 6 hours on the high energy pulse, and up to 14 hours on the slower low energy flash. Charging is done through a USB cable supplied with the jacket, handy for plugging in when you arrive at your desk to make sure you’re fully charged for the ride home.
The battery has a single large button which is used to turn the lights on and off (long press) or toggle between modes (short press). It’s a bit of a faff to get the battery pack in and out of its pocket, easier to operate the button through the fabric of the jacket. It’s large and tactile enough.
The LEDs are fully waterproof and washable (hand wash only), but the battery pack isn’t, nor does it have any protection against the rain. The jacket itself doesn't purport to be waterproof, and the battery could easily be susceptible to water damage if caught in a really heavy downpour.
Everyday day wear
When you’re not using the lights, the overall look of the jacket is understated, with an occasional flash of Lumo's signature red and white polka dot pattern on the underside of the pocket flaps and front placket. It's designed for everyday use and works perfectly on a commute to the office or a trip into town. The jacket is unlined and best described as 'midweight' – well suited to spring and autumn riding, with a recommended temperature range of 5 to 20°C (okay, summer too, then).
The cut is slim but with plenty of room for a couple of layers underneath. It’s designed to be worn with normal clothing and works with just a T-shirt in warmer weather, or a few layers when the mercury plunges.
The neck zips up high and fits closely to keep out the worst of the weather. The arms are cut slightly longer than normal, which is ideal when you're in the riding position and barely registers when you're off the bike. Thought has also gone into the cuffs; they're cut in scallop shape giving extra protection over the top of your hands when gripping the bars. There's also a Lycra inner cuff which fits snugly around the wrists, keeping wind and rain firmly locked out.
The hem is dropped lower than the classic Harrington to keep you nicely covered when you're in the saddle. This works perfectly at the back, keeping you protected from the elements and any road spray thrown up by your back wheel, but at the front it does have a tendency to bunch up a bit when you're reaching forward.
The Harrington is constructed from 97% Gabardine cotton twill, which should be hard wearing, mixed with 3% elastane, commonly found in casual cycle wear to give things that all-important bit of flex when on the bike. The shoulder panel also has some extra stretch to it, which is a really welcome feature – this part of the fit can be restricting on a standard jacket and is often overlooked on casual cycling jackets.
The material also features Schoeller® 3XDRY® technology, a treatment that gives the outside of the jacket hydrophobic properties, repelling water and stains, while the inside is hydrophilic, absorbing body moisture and dispersing it to let it evaporate and regulate body temperature. The treatment also means that it dries quicker than normal after washing, or, more likely, after getting caught in a sudden downpour.
The water resistant qualities stand up pretty well in light to medium showers – you can see water droplets beading on the surface of the material – but anything more than that and it's not going to offer much protection. It's ideal for short hops across town in showery conditions, but if your commute is longer and the rain is more sustained then you’ll want to grab something else from the wardrobe.
The Harrington performs pretty well in the breathability department: the fabric technology does its thing and the large open vent across the back of the jacket helps to circulate air and regulate your body temperature.
There's plenty of room for storing your valuables: two zippable front pockets with flaps for extra weather protection, an inside chest pocket perfect for a phone, and a back pocket with magnetic closure that's perfectly positioned for easy access when you're on the move.
As well as zipping up high around the neck, the collar has a fleece lining which keeps it comfortable against the skin, and the magnetic closure makes it easy to snap shut or open up while you're riding along. Small reflective tabs on the cuffs and rear pocket are also handy for that extra bit of visibility in low light, and a useful analogue back-up if the battery for the lights was to fail you.
Lumo's aim is to create garments that work well off the bike as well as on it. It states on its website: “If it doesn't look good off a bike as well as looking great on one, we won't make it. The LUMO test is 'Would we feel good walking into a bar to meet our friends wearing this?'' The Herne Hill Harrington does pass this test. It’s a nicely understated jacket that looks good in most scenarios and matches well with smart or casual clothing. The cycling features are minimal enough that they slip by under the radar, the only slight exception being the longer cut of the body; this is the biggest step away from the classic Harrington look.
The jacket is available in both male and female cuts, but just the one colour. The men’s sizing ranges from XS (36in chest) up to XL (46in chest), and the women’s are XS (size 6) up to XL (size 16).
There's no escaping the fact that for a jacket like this and from a brand of this ilk you're going to be paying top whack, in this case £250. That sharp intake of breath you just experienced was shared by most people when they saw the price tag. It's a really nicely designed jacket, made from great materials, and the lights work really well, but that price tag is a real tough one to swallow.
It's extremely difficult to look at this jacket without comparing it to the Vulpine Harrington; it shares the same kind of styling and cut, and many of the details are quite similar, but the Lumo has the significant additional benefit of the lights. The Vulpine jacket is £195, so it's a question of whether the lights are worth the extra £55. Maybe.
The one saving grace for the value score on this review is that the jacket is available on the government's cycle to work scheme, as it falls into the 'reflective clothing or safety equipment' category. Depending on whether your employer is signed up to the scheme and your tax rate, you could save up to 42 per cent on the jacket, and that puts the value into a whole different light.
A great looking and impressively performing jacket that will really light up your commute, if it's not eclipsed by the price
Make and model: Lumo Herne Hill Harrington Jacket
Size tested: Medium, 14x 4 Lumen LED lights on front and rear
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 Herne Hill Harrington is a smart/casual jacket designed for city cyclists, based on the classic Harrington design.
Lumo says: "A contemporary twist on the iconic British Harrington style, the Herne Hill has been crafted from a Gabardine cotton twill with signature LUMO polka detailing. Sleekly cut and designed to be worn over regular clothing in temperatures ranging from 5-20°C (41-68°F). Every detail on this jacket has been considered to give the optimal blend of performance, visibility and style to city cyclists."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Zipped closure internal and external pockets
- Back pocket with magnet closure for easy access
- Dropped hem to keep you covered on the bike
- Reflective trims on back pocket and cuffs for additional visibility
- Additional sleeve length
- Elasticated shoulder panels for added flex
- Fleece lined collar
- Vented back for breathability
- Sculpted outer cuffs with Lycra® inner cuffs for windproofing
- 14x 4 Lumen LED lights on front and rear
- Two settings: high energy pulse and low energy flash
- USB rechargeable with connector lead
- 6 - 14 hour operation time, with battery life indicator
- LEDS are fully waterproof and washable
- 1100mAh 3.7v lithium polymer battery
- Schoeller® 3XDRY® technology
- Water resistant
- Temperature regulating
- Stain repellent
The quality of the jacket is very decent. It feels robust and fits nicely.
Performs really well both on and off the bike. The technology in the materials works well and the lights system is really useful.
It's a really comfortable jacket to ride in, the flex of the fabric and across the shoulders making for a pleasurable experience. Off the bike it's just as comfy, and there's no feeling of self-consciousness that you're wearing cycling kit.
It's a hard one. It comes in right at the top end of the bracket you might expect from a small fashionable clothing brand like this, and there are certainly cheaper similar options available. But it's a really good quality jacket and the lights feature is really effective and unique. Its inclusion in the government's cycle to work scheme could save you some cash on the rrp, but this isn't going to be available to everyone.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's performed really well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The style of the jacket, the lights system, and the 'off the bike' look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is a bit too high, and if I'm being picky then maybe an inch off the length so it looks more like a classic Harrington off the bike and doesn't bunch up at the front while riding.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if that rrp could be knocked down slightly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
I'm giving the Herne Hill Harrington an 8. It's a good looking, highly performing jacket, and the lights are a great feature well integrated into the design. Off the bike it looks great too and is well suited to everyday life around town. The price is the main stumbling block, and holds it back from scoring 9 out of 10.
About the tester
Age: 29 Height: 5'10 Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.