Agu Secco Condom Jacket  £69.99

7/10

Sound mid-level waterproof in a very cycle-specific cut; lacks features but highly packable

Weight 172g   Contact  www.i-ride.co.uk

by Mat Brett   April 21, 2011  

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The first thing to bear in mind when reviewing a jacket called a Secco Condom is that there's no point in making any jokes about the name because they simply won't be funny. So we're not going to do that. Let's get that straight right from the start.

Right, this jacket is featherlight - no, seriously, get out if you can't be grown up about it - weighing in at just 172g, and it packs down into its own little stuff sack that's stitched underneath the collar. It fits easily into a jersey pocket so you can take it along on any ride just in case the weather turns grim on you.

The fabric is polyamide (nylon) with a Poray 5000 coating. Poray 5000 is microporous -you know the deal; it contains pores that are too small to let water droplets pass through yet large enough to let water vapour escape. The manufacturer reckons it can resist a water column of 5m (5,000mm, hence the name). We won't go into detail here but that's typical of a mid-range fabric. You might want to consider, though, that water pressures seen in use might be up to 12-15m, and GoreTex can resist a water column of over 20m, which is one of the reasons why it's much more expensive.

That's the theory, anyway. I've worn this jacket loads lately and it has kept the rain out well. A tiny bit of water might get in during a long, wet ride but hardly enough to notice. You're not going to get soaked and cold. You might not want to use it for winter commuting, but it's fine for spring and summer showers. A few washes in and it's still doing the business, although any coating will gradually wear off and it'll need reproofing.

Storm flaps over the top of the zip and underneath it prevent any rain getting in there while the seams, which are often the weak point, are really well taped. Any little rucks and bubbles can eventually lead to leakage but the sealing on our jacket is incredibly good throughout. It's actually the best I've seen in ages which bodes well for the long-term performance.

As for allowing damp air to get out, the manufacturer's figures say Poray 5000 can let through 5L of moisture per square metre per 24 hours. If that doesn't mean much to you, again, it's about typical for a mid-range fabric. High-end fabrics might allow up to 20L through... but they'll cost you much more.

Even those expensive fabrics can't let out as much moisture as you'll sweat when you're riding hard up a steep hill, say, which is why vents can make such a big difference. This jacket doesn't have any, though, and there's no adjustment around the elasticated hem or cuffs, so you're completely reliant on the front zip for air conditioning.

Sometimes that's enough, sometimes it isn't and things start to get muggy in there. That's the main reason we found for getting damp in this jacket - sweat not getting out rather than water getting in. The fabric doesn't feel great next to your skin when you start to sweat. It can stick to your arms if you're wearing a short-sleeved jersey underneath and feel quite cold... although there's nothing unusual in that. Adjustable cuffs might help out here although, of course, they'd add bulk. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

I really like the slim, cycle-specific cut. Agu call it a tight fit, and I'd agree - this jacket is really trimmed back to the bone which means there's virtually no flapping when you're riding fast on a training ride, although it wouldn't be the best option if you want a more than a couple of skinny layers underneath. The high neck, long arms and extended tail might limit off-the-bike appeal, but they're spot on for riding.

The white option shows the dirt but it also helps you get seen; if you're not into it, red and black versions are available. They all come with reflective dots across the back and shoulders to improve visibility further.

All in all, this is a sound mid-level waterproof. I found its limiting factor to be breathability rather than waterproofing - down to the lack of vents - but it's a good choice for slinging in a pocket as insurance on spring/summer rides.

Verdict

Sound mid-level waterproof in a very cycle-specific cut; lacks features but highly packable

road.cc test report

Make and model: Agu Secco Condom Jacket

Size tested: White

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?

Agu say, "Lightweight, wind- and waterproof bike jacket. Lightweight fabric with Poray 5000 coating. Very compact integrated packing system: fits in the back pocket of a bikeshirt. Extended back, tight fit and reflection."

That's all true. You can get more waterproof jackets and more breathable jackets, but for sticking in your pocket and putting on for a shower, it's a decent option.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The taping underneath the seams is virtually flawless.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Typical mid-level waterproofing. Not the most comfortable jacket when you start to sweat due to lack of vents and cuff/hem adjustment - but that does make it more packable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The seam taping is often the weak point on a waterproof jacket, and several washes in these are looking as good as new

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

There are lighter waterproofs out there, but this definitely falls into the lightweight category and it folds down small enough to fit in a rear pocket

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
6/10

It's not as comfortable on the hills as a jacket with more vents - but the flipside to that is that it's simpler and lighter. It all depends what you're after.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

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