Having lived in Southsea, Portsmouth I can see why dhb would name a waterproof jacket after that stretch of British coastline, it was always bloody raining as I remember it! Urban style is maybe not something you'd immediately associate with Southsea though, but this jacket has plenty, it's dhb's take on the cycling jacket that works just as well off the bike too.
dhb is the clothing brand of internet giant Wiggle who are based in Portsmouth so when they wanted to make a waterproof jacket they new exactly how it would have to perform to make it properly waterproof in a typical wet and miserable UK climate. Constructed entirely from a polyester 2.5 layer fabric with fully taped seams stopping any possibility of water penetration.
The inside layer of the jacket is a polyurethane laminate which handles the waterproofing and breathability side of things, this has a rubbery texture which feels slightly odd against bare skin when you first put it on over short sleeves, and it can get clammy. The high collar does an excellent job of keeping a chilling wind from whistling down your torso when you are riding, has a soft brushed finish which feels smooth against your neck alleviating any chaffing and stops trickles of water streaming from your head reaching your back. Velcro adjustable sleeves and a flap over the sturdy full length zip down the front add to the Southsea's weather defences. The generous sleeve length enables full unrestricted movement and stops the cuffs riding up your forearm.
To soften the texture of the fabric on the sturdy outer layer, both aesthetically and to touch is a kind of twill that gives a the jacket a heavy cotton appearance and makes the Southsea look less like a technical garment. You can easily get away with wearing this to the pub without people thinking that it is a piece of cycling apparel apart from the dropped tail which keeps your bum dry and keeps your dignity when your lower wardrobe malfunctions (see Shaun Audane's review on the Tudor shorts) can't be tucked up inside the jacket. Two expandable pockets behind each kidney with poppered down flaps are big enough to put your wallet, phone and keys etc. and one of them has an internal zipped pocket to stash small treasures in.
This Jacket does a great job at keeping rain at bay from almost every angle of attack on and off the bike. All this waterproofing comes at a cost, not a monetary cost, this jacket is great price, but at the cost of breathability. With any breathable jacket there's always a balance to be struck between waterproofness and breathability - with the Southsea dhb have put waterproofness as the top priority, which means although it is still breathable - some breathability has had to be sacrificed.
Buzzing around town It doesn't take long before steam is bellowing out of the collar, fogging up my glasses. There are no vents to exhaust my sweaty heat which then condenses on the inside of the jacket quite possibly making me more damp than not wearing it, but that might just be me. So if you're a hard charging urban rider or simply one of those people whose engine runs hot - like me – you might want to factor that in to your calculations.
If on the other hand you're riding at a leisurely pace or not going too far or you want a good looking, understated jacket for on and off the bike that's built to last and is tough enough to handle whatever the weather and the city throws at it and that you can wear at the pub then the Southsea offers great value and quality.
A fully waterproof, casual looking jacket with a cut made for cycling makes this a very appealing addition to any cyclists wardrobe.
road.cc test report
Make and model: dhb Southsea jacket
Size tested: M
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?
"Urban cycling has never been so cool – and the Southsea jacket is part of that trend. New for 2010, the Southsea is designed to look as good off the bike as it does on it. Ride in it, go to the pub in it, hang out with your mates in it - it’s a jacket which has a broad appeal.
Lightweight, breathable and waterproof, it boasts all the features you’d expect in a top-end commuter jacket but has a distinctly stylish look and feel which sets it apart from standard bike gear.
Fully taped seams and 2.5 layer highly breathable fabric ensures it can handle whatever the weather throws at it. And with Velcro cuffs, two roomy rear pockets, single-handed adjustable waist pullers and a fleece-lined high collar it ticks both boxes when it comes to funk and function."
That's what Wiggle have to say, it's certainly a stylish bit of kit and as for "funk and function" well as funk is another word for sweat they're spot-on there too
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fully taped seams
2 rear kidney pockets, one with internal zippered pocket
High collar with soft liner
Nice and sturdy zip
It is waterproof but not very breathable and no ventilation. Excellent if you aren't exerting yourself, very sweaty if you are.
The material should wear well and resists tearing from the likes of brambles.
It doesn't get any heavier in the rain.
Apart from the sticky rubber against your skin, the cut is generous and allows unrestricted movement.
I would of like to have been able to tuck the low tail up into the jacket and for there to be vents but I guess this would add cost.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
performed faultlessly over short distances in really heavy rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the casual look of the jacket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That you couldn't tuck the tail in and the lack of ventilation.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? people asked me where they could get one
About the tester
I usually ride: Bike that I am testing at the time My best bike is: Giant CFR pro. Old school carbon converted to fixed.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,