For the changing of the seasons and indeed, year round use, a convertible windproof jacket and gilet combo like the Sugoi Versa Jacket makes a handy addition to a cyclist's wardrobe. More sophisticated jackets of this type often have some sort of removeable yoke/bolero type affair while simpler models just have sleeves that zip-off. How well they work and how easy they are to convert on the fly depends on the individual design.
The Versa from Sugoi is a bit different from many of this ilk. One of the first things you notice about it is its weight. The fabric is a fairly standard weight of polyester wind and water resistant shell fabric, but its use of magnets to fasten on the sleeves/bolero section means there's added weight. So, the rabidly weight conscious might want to pass on this one from the off. But that would be a shame, as it's a well considered and nicely designed, high quality jacket. It's not intended to be a dedicated cycling jacket, so much as a multi-activity jacket for running or riding, but it has been designed to still offer a cyclist enough useful functionality. Features include an assortment of reflective piping and logos strewn across the jacket and its gilet incarnation. There are side zipped pockets and a decent sized zipped lumbar pocket, hem drawcord, elasticated cuffs and a fleecy lined collar. A mesh ventilation panel at the upper back aids temperature management even before removing the sleeve portion.
In use, the sleeves are surprisingly easy and quick to remove. The sleeve unit/bolero quickly just pulls off, and equally quickly and easily replaces when it starts to chill off. You probably couldn't do it actually riding, but it literally only takes a minute or so when stopped. The sleeve unit happily pops into the rear zipped pocket when not needed. Theoretically you could wear the arms section on its own over a short sleeved jersey for additional arm warmth, but there are uncomfortable echoes of Torville and Dean about the resulting look.
The fabric is extremely breathable, allowing for a comfortable and non-sweaty ride, while the rear mesh panel and the ventilation inherent in the way the sleeves fasten to the gilet make this a good jacket for maintaining steady temperature. The body length is adequate, with no real riding up of the rear, even without a significantly extended tail area. The sleeves are a decent length, but do suffer from slightly over simple cuffs, which can be a little on the baggy side. I'd probably have preferred to have seen a half elastic and half Velcro fastening at the cuff. The cut is flattering and contoured without being snug, and the sizing is spot on, with a size Medium roughly equivalent to a UK 12. It's a good looking jacket, and the bonus is it's available in about four colours. As a gilet on its own, it's very wearable and should last well, unlike many variations on this type of jacket.
Price-wise it's a reasonable price for a nicely put together, wearable jacket/gilet and compares well with the likes of Gore, Endura, Nike and others. The Versa is available in men's and women's versions in a choice of colours and sizes.
A really well designed, versatile jacket useful for year round riding or running. Not the lightest of its ilk though.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi Versa Jacket
Size tested: Size Medium - Imperial Purple
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?
Aimed at female cyclists and runners looking for a versatile item of clothing for year round use.
Does just what it should.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% polyester 'Argon' fabric with durable water repellency and wind resistant.
3M Scotchlite reflective accents
1 rear zip pocket
2 zipped side pockets
Rear mesh panel
Magnetic attachment for sleeve unit.
Really well made and well finished.
Excellent component quality.
Comfortable, kept temperature stable and was very easy to transform between gilet and jacket.
Well made and magnetic attachment of sleeves means little to wear there.
The only problem I could imagine would be if the magnets somehow manage to lose their positioning as the jacket wears.
Good quality zips.
Well made as gilet as well as jacket.
A fair amount heavier than most similar jackets, due to the magnets, but fabric density and weight still good, as is packability.
Very comfortable to wear both as gilet and jacket.
Considering most windproof jackets would set you back at least £40 and a gilet at least another £30 or so, this marks good value for both combined in one high quality garment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of conversion from jacket to gilet and vice versa.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really useful, versatile jacket/gilet combo for all but the most weight conscious.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.