If the sizing's right for you this might, despite a few niggles, be a useful, smart commuting jacket
Weight: 760g Contact: www.surface-clothing.com
Nice jacket, this. I'm just not sure it's a great cycling jacket. Everything positive I want to say about it I have to qualify with a niggle.
Anyway. Let's start with the good bits. It's a smart bit of kit, and definitely doesn't appear too technical. It wouldn't look out of place in casual - nay, social - situations. You won't be ostracised by non-bikers if you turn up to the pub in one. The 'wool' is a smart, soft, textured herringbone-pattern that gives a nod to more gentlemanly outdoor wear - and the elbow patches are a nice touch. I must, however, put the 'wool' in inverted commas because, erm, it's not wool. According to the label, it's polyester. A bit of a problem for trading standards there...
But back to the nice stuff: it does look good, and the polyester is definitely aquaphobic. Water sits on the surface, beads and rolls off. I wore the jacket through some good old showers when commuting and it never leaked once. They were showers, mind, and Surface don't claim the jacket's waterproof, but it will get you through less extreme weather. Taped seams and a storm flap over the zip will keep you protected, though
It's not a light jacket, and not particularly breathable, but it's good and warm. Layered over cycling or work clothes this has seen me through our mild winter in comfort. Except, unfortunately, it leaves the lower back and the wrists exposed. The cut just didn't seem right to me. Problem one: the fabric doesn't stretch. Problem two: the shoulders are very narrow. I usually take an 'S' in cycling clothes, but the supplied 'M' (which, to be fair, was the right one for me according to the online size chart) was too narrow for my shoulders. And because there was no stretch, when I bent to hold the handlebars the tight upper back pulled the jacket up. The scooped back isn't that low, and the drawcord adjusting the waist was no help. The sleeves, too, seemed very, very tightly cut. So much so, the rather voluminous lining is prone to carrying through with your arm and poking out of the cuff. Consequently, it was difficult to wear any bulky clothes underneath and, again, the tightness and lack of stretch left my wrists exposed when leaning over on the bike. (Incidentally, Surface's other jackets are better fitted.)
It goes without saying that the cut of a jacket will work for some and not for others. I checked customer reviews at some of the online shops, and the majority tipped towards my opinion. A few people found the jacket great, but most found it weirdly proportioned. And someone pointed out something I didn't spot - the Napoleon pocket doesn't have the advertised i-Port (Presumably, this would let you run headphone cables inside the jacket. If it existed.) Perplexing that there can be so many good points to the jacket, but also gripes to balance them out.
Overall, I'd say go and try this jacket. If it fits, it'll be a smart, durable commuting companion; I wish I could be more enthusiastic, but for a number of reasons I can't.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Surface Hydrophobic Wool Jacket
Size tested: Brown - M
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?
Surface's site says: "Not only the the most stylish waterproof jacket you'll ever find for your bike, the Aquaphobic also gives you taped seams, a wicking lining, storm flap, elbow patches and secure chest pockets with i-Port."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again, from the site: "Slim-fit breathable, Water-proof aquaphobic fabric Taped seams Sweat wicking lining Elbow patchs Zipped pockets Full zip body with storm-flap Internal draft excluder cuffs Casual riding tailoring Adjustable draw cord waist Secure chest pocket with i-Port."
Just didn't cover the bits it needed to on the bike, fine off it though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Too tight in the wrong places meant it didn't work on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The material, the look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit... and the misleading manufacturer's description is a bit sloppy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Hmmm.
Would you consider buying the product? Not after trying it out.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend they try it on if they liked the look of it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,