The Ashmei Windjacket is a good windproof option with high breathability and it folds up small enough to fit easily into a jersey pocket when not in use.
The Windjacket is made of two different types of fabric. The front and the tops of the arms are nylon, polyester and spandex while the rear and underside of the arms are just polyester and spandex and they're covered with thousands of little holes. Both are stretchy enough that you can get a close to the body fit without any feeling of tightness or discomfort, and they don't feel plasticky, unlike the fabrics used for many windproofs.
The front fabric isn't 100% windproof but it's not far off. A small amount of air can get in and out but you certainly feel a huge benefit when the temperature drops a few degrees on an evening ride, say, and you want something to keep you warm on the last few miles home.
The collar sits close to prevent any cold air weaselling in there, you get elasticated cuffs and there's a flap behind the YKK front zip. All in all, the Windjacket seals you in very well.
That front zip is reverse coil so you can't see the teeth from the outside and it comes with a chunky puller that's easy to find even if you're wearing thick gloves. The zip is offset and a little flap covers the top so there's no discomfort under your chin.
The fabric used for the rear – extending over the top of the shoulders – and the underside of the arms is lightweight too and it looks similar but for the fact that it's covered with tiny perforations. Although each one is less than 1mm across, the cumulative effect is that they let a lot of hot, sticky, body-generated vapour out into the atmosphere.
The flip side is that more air than usual can get in through the holes, so you don't get quite the same level of protection from the elements on really cold days that you do with some other windproofs.
Both materials have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish to stop mist and road spray soaking in, although the fact that one of the fabrics is covered with holes means that you're never going to get a massive amount of defence from the rain here. The DWR will eventually wash out so you'll need to reapply it if you want to preserve that aspect of the design.
The Ashmei Windjacket comes with three jersey-style pockets in the lower back, one of them containing an elasticated loop to stop your mini pump from going astray. There's a fourth zipped pocket back there for your valuables too. The whole jacket folds easily into that pocket in seconds – it's not the tight squeeze that you get with some.
Little squares of silicone add some tackiness to keep the waist from riding up. Although it doesn't look it in daylight, the outside of the hem binding is reflective, as are the grey dots that run down the centre of the back, two lines across the chest and the seam tape at the front of the shoulders. That lot adds a useful amount of extra visibility when you're riding at night.
Speaking of the shoulders, they're the source of my only real issue with this jacket. I found there to be a little too much fabric up here so although things felt fine when I was off the bike, there was quite a bit of wrinkling and flapping going on when I was reaching forward to the drops (it's not me in the photos, by the way).
Putting the usual contents of my jersey pockets into the jacket pockets helped pull the back down and keep the shoulders in place, but the bottom line is that they're too roomy for me whereas the fit is spot on elsewhere. I got a couple of other people to try the jacket and one of them found the same thing while the other didn't. I'd say it's something to consider.
One other thing: if this charcoal version doesn't do it for you, the Windjacket is also available in red and blue.
I've reviewed a few Ashmei garments for road.cc and the Windjacket is the first that hasn't particularly blown me away (and I'm not just saying that as an excuse for a weak pun). Don't get me wrong, it puts in a good performance, but I wouldn't say it's spectacular compared with cheaper options out there.
A highly breathable windproof that'll stow easily in a jersey pocket when not in use
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ashmei Windjacket
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?
It's a wind jacket to keep cool/cold air out, easily stowable in a jersey pocket when not in use.
Ashmei says, "If you have ever been fortunate enough to experience a ride through the Pyrénées in spring, you will know that a windjacket is an absolute must. Iconic spots like Col d'Aubisque, a legend of the Pyrénées with its rich road race history, may feel Le Mistral's chilly winds well into May. When you are battling such wind, you will come to depend on our Windjacket for its near supernatural ability to keep you dry, warm and comfortable.
"The front panel of the Windjacket is highly windproof to ensure the wind chill does not knock you off your stride, while the DWR treatment prevents any moisture penetration. The rear of the jacket is constructed with a highly breathable ultra-stretch fabric for great moisture management and thermo-regulation over long distances. To allow you to maintain focus on the road, three rear pockets have been incorporated to keep your accessories close to hand, whilst a zipped security pocket ensures they are secure.
"Elliot, Head of ashmei R&D, explains: 'Fabric was critical in the design and performance success of the Windjacket, developing lightweight fabrics with high stretch, then mapping these on the cyclist's body to create areas that enhance breathability and wind-proofing where the athlete requires it.'"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Ashmei lists these features:
* Highly windproof, water-resistant front fabric
* Highly breathable, ultra-stretch, water-resistant rear fabric
* Reflective shoulder seam tape and rear stripe for high visibility
* Reflective hem binding with silicon gripper
* Three easy access rear pockets with internal pump loop
* Zipped security pocket
* Alcantara zip guard
* Packable into zip pocket
* Highly technical microfibre ultra stretch fabric
* Lightweight, high performance – 163g
* Durable Water Repellent outer finish, PWC-free
* YKK Reverse Coil #3 Zipper with enlarged Ashmei zip pull
It's really well made throughout.
It provides good protection from cool/cold air while being highly breathable, although the fit around the shoulders didn't work particularly well for me.
You'll need to renew the DWR periodically to retain its water repellency.
It's not intended to be a waterproof, it's designed to be water resistant, and it is... in part. The fabric in the less exposed areas – at the rear and on the underside of the arms – is perforated. You don't need me to tell you that rain can get through holes!
The fabrics are breathable and the perforations let more damp air out.
I found the fit spot on everywhere but around the shoulders. It was too baggy for me up here.
I always take either a medium or a large in tops. I took a medium here.
You can get featherweight windproofs that are even lighter than this, but you'll hardly notice 163g (our sample weighed exactly Ashmei's claimed weight, and that's notable in itself!).
A lot of windproofs feel plasticky; this one doesn't. Stretch in the fabric makes for more comfort.
This is a lot to spend on a windproof, although the fabrics and build quality are good.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine. It goes in the machine at 30°C with all the rest of the bike kit and comes out looking the same as when it went in.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs well. It's not 100% windproof but it balances a high degree of windproofing with very good breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The non-plasticky feel, high build quality and subtle reflectivity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The cut of the shoulders didn't work for me.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yep
Would you consider buying the jacket? No, just because the cut wasn't quite right for me.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? If it fits them well, certainly.
Use this box to explain your score
This is a good jacket although, with light weight an obvious goal, it's not as feature-packed as other garments in the Ashmei range and doesn't work as hard to justify a price that's towards the top of the market.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.