The Planet X 365 Reactor + Jersey is windproof and claimed to be utterly breathable. The fit is designed for recreational riding and it will protect you from the rain better than you'd expect from a windproof softshell. At its RRP of £79.99, I'm not sure I'd go for it, but at its currently advertised price of £30, it's a bit of a steal.
The fabric it's made from has a lovely stretch and keeps the wind, and most of the rain, out. The flipside of being more waterproof than expected is that it's also less breathable than expected; more like the boil-in-the-bag feeling of a cheap waterproof than a breathable softshell.
In terms of features, the zip is a waterproof affair and keeps most of the wind out, even though there's no storm flap. There's no zip garage at the chin end, either, though I can't say I missed it. The collar is high and feels snug – nice.
The usual three pockets on the back are present and correct, one of them with a zippered compartment for keys. The pockets are easily deep enough to stash away a spare tube and a pump. There is an attempt at a gripper hem at the waist but it's really not good enough to keep the jersey from riding up. There is no bum flap to keep road spray off.
The jersey has pit vents, but at around 5 inches in length, they are tiny to the point of almost being useless. Given the lack of breathability, better ventilation would improve this jersey.
The marketing blurb says it's cut for recreational riding. In practice, this means that the medium I tested seems about right in terms of torso length, and the same for sleeve length. For my liking, it's a bit too baggy around the arms, chest and shoulders. Planet X could have made better use of the stretch in the fabric in my opinion, even if it is designed for recreational riding.
It won't come as a surprise that it doesn't measure up against the windproof-jersey-trend-starting Gabba. It doesn't fit as well and it's not as breathable. Also, at RRP, I think there are better windproof softshells on the market. As I mentioned at the beginning, though, it can currently be had for 62% off on the Planet-X website. At that price, it's definitely worth considering.
Windproof softshell that is more waterproof, but less breathable, than expected
road.cc test report
Make and model: Planet X 365 Reactor + Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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?
This is what Planet X says:
"Respond to changing conditions with the Reactor Jersey. Made from a blend of waterproof softshell fabric and high breathable lycra it's the ideal top for those transitional days on the bike when the weather just can't make up its mind."
"The Reactor Jersey is what every cyclist needs. Totally windproof and utterly breathable it's designed to keep you cool and dry while protecting you from a little seasonal drizzle. Cut for recreational riding the Reactor feels perfect next to your skin on summer mornings and delivers maximum warmth for colder rides when paired with our 365 Baselayers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
o Windproof jersey
o Highly breathable
o Weatherproof front zip
o Zipped chest vents
If we understand performance to mean keeping the wind out while being "utterly breathable", then this jacket's performance is pretty average. I was consistently getting the sort of boil-in-the-bag sweaty baselayer that you would expect from a cheapish waterproof, not from an "utterly breathable" softshell.
So far, so good.
The medium I tested was medium in terms of torso length, and arm length was bang on for medium too. Chest size was a bit too roomy for my liking; definitely not a racing fit despite the fabric having a lovely stretch. The marketing blurb does say it's cut for recreational riding, so I can't mark it down for that. The sleeves could fit more tightly too.
Perfectly comfortable to wear, apart from the gripper hem which is not really grippy enough to stop the top from riding up.
At £79.99 RRP, this softshell is in the same ballpark as the dhb equivalent. Given that I have some gripes with the design and the breathability of the Planet X one, I'm not sure I can call it good value for money. Currently, the medium yellow can be had for £30 on the Planet X website, at which price it's much better value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It went through the wash just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Planet X Reactor + Jersey keeps the wind out fine and actually most of the rain too, but it doesn't deliver on the "utterly breathable" that the marketing would lead you to believe. That meant it didn't tend to keep me that warm on rides where I got sweaty: get sweaty, sweat cools down, body cools down.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's more rainproof than you would expect.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cut and the lack of breathability.
Did you enjoy using the product? I didn't not enjoy it...
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
Planet X's 365 Reactor + Jersey doesn't quite deliver on the promise of being a windproof jersey that is utterly breathable. On longer rides at low double figure temperatures, this means my baselayer eventually gets soaked with sweat, which goes cold, which makes me cold. It does keep wind and most of the rain out, but I expected better breathability from the way this jersey is marketed, hence the "above average" rather than "good" rating.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking