Alé's PRR kit has proved itself high quality and comfortable in the past, and the Winter jacket scores on both those counts, but it's not without a flaw. To my mind, a jacket designed for cycling should at least be capable of protecting you from a light shower, and the PRR Camo Winter Jacket really can't.
Instead of repelling water – any amount of it – it readily absorbs it into the fabric, with a quick transition into the interior where it wets any jersey or baselayer you happen to be wearing. My first ride in the jacket (teamed with the matching PRR bib tights I was also testing) included a shower or two, bringing the lack of water resistance clearly to the fore.
Now, let's be clear: Alé doesn't actually claim any water resistance – which makes my water resistance rating, measured against the manufacturer's rating – of which there isn't one at all – a little tricky (I've gone for a neutral 'average'), but it does beg the question: why couldn't there be at least a DWR treatment of some kind, especially considering the £180 asking price?
It's not exactly lightweight, either – although this does have significant benefits in the way it shuts out the wind on the front and the arms – the density of fabric in tandem with the Roubaix lining takes care of everything. Breathability is also decent, as long as you use it in genuinely cold weather, with an anatomical cut teamed with lighter rear-facing arm and back panels to allow heat to escape.
That anatomical cut extends to the elasticated hem and asymmetrical cuffs that overlap just enough when teamed with gloves. In fact, it's so anatomical that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was, in fact, a long-sleeve winter jersey.
The chief aim of the garment seems to be its thermal capabilities. At this, it's genuinely hard to fault – the quality zips don't let draughts through, with the aforementioned cut taking care of the rest to insulate you in its Roubaix fleece-lined bubble. From this point of view, it's great.
The finer points are reasonably well taken care of too: three medium sized pockets on the rear (though no zipped compartment) swallow most of your spares and food, and the zip features an extra wind guard that doubles as a chin guard at the top of the neckline – ideal for the slim fit when the zip is pulled all the way up.
Also, the jacket's quality – as with all Alé kit I've used of late – is impressive. It's continued to last and feel like a decent cold weather top layer for the past four weeks, and has maintained its anatomical fit despite a couple of warmer washes.
As a result, the Alé PRR jacket has me in two minds. On the one hand – and fundamentally – it's a great-fitting, warm, thermal jacket that can deal with cold, dry conditions and works brilliantly with the matching PRR bib tights. They make a great, if expensive, pairing in those conditions. On the other, it's really too warm to wear in mild winter weather, and not even slightly water resistant – disappointing in my view for what claims to be a 'jacket', especially a Winter one.
I know this will polarise opinion, but what I conclude is this: if what you want is a pure thermal outer layer, you can do much, much worse than this. If you expect a jacket to be truly weather resistant, then you'd be better served looking at a garment that isn't flummoxed by water.
A winter jacket without any sort of water resistance, but it has its uses
road.cc test report
Make and model: Alé PRR Camo Winter Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Alé (Paligap) says: "This functional jacket is the ideal garment for a use in medium cold temperatures from 4° to 10° for high intensity training activities where it's important to have thermal protection as well."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- 3 cargo pockets to safely store personal valuables and belongings.
- Full zipper with protective flap.
- Specific anatomic construction with a halfmoon like shape on the back of the collar in order to grant an airtight closure that protects from the wind without constraint once on the bike.
- J-Stability System on the front waist to keep the jacket in place.
- Double anatomic cuffs.
- Security Reflex: back reflective details to improve safety in poor visibility conditions.
- Zippered openings on the sides when you need to increase the airflow and the elimination of humidity.
It feels heavy, but hardwearing. Ideal for winter in many respects.
Definitely keeps you warm, which is the aim. No water resistance though.
Beefy construction suggests hardiness.
Absolutely no waterproofing whatsoever, but it should be noted Alé doesn't claim any.
If worn without too many other layers, you can pretty easily regulate your temperature. I liked to wear it with a long-sleeve baselayer only for maximum effectiveness.
The slim cut suggests high tempo riding is at the heart of the jacket's purpose. It's very comfortable all round.
A medium fitted, and I'm usually a split between a medium and large in general.
A real heavyweight at 413g – I've worn much lighter jackets with similar thermal properties that feature Primaloft insulation instead, for example.
The slim cut may not appeal to all, but the fleece lining inside was comfortable, with the anatomical cut boosting comfort further.
£180 for a jacket that has no water resistance at all...
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easily, it washes out dirt and grime on a delicate wash. It will stand up to a 40-degree wash and faster spin if really soiled.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When used for its designed purpose (cold, dry weather), it's a decent-to-good item.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Flashy design, fit, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
No water resistance, price.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? When teamed with the matching bib tights, yes.
Would you consider buying the jacket? No, not at the £180 asking price.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Possibly, if they wanted a specific jacket only to wear in the dry, and their other (potentially water-resistant) jackets were unsuitable.
Use this box to explain your score
Overall, in line with its claimed aim, this jacket is a decent-performing garment, no question. But the lack of water resistance to deal with unforeseen showers, road spray or splashback means it's not the most versatile, or best value.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding