The Planet X 365 Magma Convertible Jacket offers the option of long or short sleeves and very good rain protection for faster rides. The fit is good, with a long tail, but the weight is more than some rivals. At £100 (reduced to £50 currently), it's a solid option that is worth your consideration.
Ever since blacked-out Castelli Gabba jerseys covered the peloton in the 2013 Milan-San Remo, other companies have joined in the trend, producing aerodynamic rain-resistant jersey-cum-jackets, and this new Magma does a very good job. With minimalist styling and an aero fit, it also comes with the option to have long sleeves on the rainiest days. It's a very handy feature to keep you dry, though it does add a fair bit of weight.
There are key design features that define this type of jacket. They've got to be close-fitting, relatively waterproof and yet be breathable enough to ride at a high intensity. Firstly, Planet X has made the Magma with 4-way stretch. The cut of the design is quite slim, but the stretchy fabric ensures a good fit over the top of the shoulders.
Rainproofing the jersey is a waterproof fabric that is rated to 5K (which equates to 'light rain'), and it was actually quite effective, with heavy showers mostly kept out. Some water does get in, but when riding hard it wasn't an issue. Planet X hasn't marketed this as a full rain jacket; it's designed to protect you from the worst of the wind and rain, but then convert to a short-sleeve race jersey when needed.
Other notable features include a drop tail, YKK zips and a waterproof stash pocket. The drop tail is great for keeping spray away from working glutes and the small of your back. It does become a little annoying if you keep sitting on it, though.
The YKK zips worked well, both on the front and also at the shoulders. I was able to remove the sleeves while riding, but putting them back on is something best done at the cafe as it's a little fiddly.
The waterproof stash pocket kept my iPhone dry, with space for coffee money as well.
The sizing was generous in the length department. I found that my medium had extra length in the arms and tail, which is good as I'm just on the border between this and a small. Being quite skinny but short, I'd probably be better off with the smaller size, but if you're tall and slim, the medium would be better. There is good space in the chest and waist if you're built more like a sprinter.
At this price point, there is strong competition, notably from dhb with its £95 Aeron Rain Defence jersey. This is a short sleeve-only jersey with no option to add long sleeves, but the benefit of this is that the weight is kept down to only 261g, whereas the Magma comes in at 518g. Another option would be Endura's FS260-Pro SL jersey, which comes with arm warmers, but at £129.99 it's creeping into Gabba territory...
I'd also think twice about the application for which I was buying the jersey. For racing and fast riding in changeable conditions, all I ever found myself needing was the short sleeve option with arm warmers. For more general riding, the long-sleeve option was useful when the temperature started out cold but then warmed up during the ride, but the sleeves take up quite a bit of room in the pockets, so you've got to plan ahead if you might be taking them off.
As a jacket to cover most situations, it's certainly a good option. It's well made, with decent waterproofness, the fit is close but stretchy, and the option to have long or short sleeves opens it up to more than just fast riding. However, by trying to be one jacket for everything, it falls a little short in weatherproofing and weight.
A good option for changeable conditions, if you can live with the weight of the removable sleeves
road.cc test report
Make and model: Planet X 365 Magma Convertible 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?
From Planet X: "Chameleon like, weatherproof, technical bike jacket that's designed to protect you from the elements. The Magma will shield you from the worst of the wind and the rain when the weather is foul but quickly converts into a short sleeved race jersey when the sun comes out."
I'd say it's weather resistant as the water will get in eventually. If you need one jacket for everything, this does it well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
From Planet X:
Waterproof stash pocket
5k waterproof fabric (not seam taped)
5k MVP breathable
The zippers are all big and easy to use with big gloves on, the stitching is solid.
It's nicely aero, with no flapping around the shoulders, and has kept me quite dry and relatively warm, but the weight has let it down in early season races.
The waterproofness hasn't worn off when washed, which is good, but also a result of careful washing.
Persistent rain will eventually get in, but the material will trap it, keeping you warm, if a little moist.
Not bad for a jersey of this type but it's meant to hold in your heat.
The snug fit isn't an issue because of the stretch in the fabric.
There's plenty of length in the arms and tail. The chest and waist are sized properly for regular people.
The removable sleeves and their required zips add a lot of weight compared with a Castelli Gabba or dhb Aeron Rain Defence jersey.
The jersey is comfortable, but those zips are less supple than fabric and are noticeable on your shoulders.
The RRP of £99.99 makes it significantly cheaper than a Gabba, but more expensive than the dhb at £95. It's currently on sale for £50.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I was cautious with washing, having ruined this type of jacket before. Wash at 30, with no softener, then air dry.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Quite well. It was noticeably less flappy than a standard jacket, especially around the shoulders, and kept out rain for a while. However, it was very heavy because of all the zips, which made it a poor choice for racing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Having the option of removing the sleeves, opening this jacket up to a wider range of conditions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The weight doesn't compare well with dhb's Aeron for racing.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
If you need one jacket for everything, this does it well. It offers good warmth and fit, and the removable sleeves add versatility but they also add weight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.