The Solo Rain Coat isn't the most waterproof option you can buy but it's a good-looking top that can be stowed in a rear pocket and brought out in a shower or for extra windproofing in cold weather.
It's made from a semi-transparent nylon and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that doesn't let water through. The reason I say this jacket doesn't offer the best waterproofing is that the seams aren't taped – meaning that it's water resistant rather than waterproof. It'll keep road spray and short showers out, but prolonged rain will work its way in.
The fabric is stretchy so you can go for a close fit without it feeling tight or uncomfortable, and the arms are a generous length to keep you well covered when reaching forward to the bars. The cuffs are elasticated, as is the waistband, to provide effective sealing, although there's no adjustability to allow more air in. The dropped back keeps your butt dry while small underarm mesh panels add to the breathability.
The front zip is water resistant and looks good quality, and you get a chinguard at the top. A mesh facing on the inside of the neck provides more comfort up there. The small pocket on the right hip comes with a water resistant zip too, although you don't want to put anything too heavy in there because it'll pull the front down. Although it's not quite in the firing line as you pedal, I'd still prefer the pocket to be round the back.
There's quite a bit of reflective trim here. The zips are reflective and so are the big Solo logos on the front and rear, and the fact that the jacket is white adds extra visibility.
If you're only going to own one riding cape, this jacket isn't the answer because it isn't fully waterproof. But I've been using this top for winter rides on wet roads – which is a lot of them – and slinging it in a jersey pocket for rides when I know it's not going to bucket down, just in case there's a light shower. It's good in those situations. It's also handy as an emergency windproof – drag it out when the temperature drops for a bit of extra protection from the cold.
Stylish water resistant and windproof jacket that packs small enough to squirrel away in a jersey pocket.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Solo Winter Rain Coat
Size tested: XL
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?
Solo say, "The Solo raincoat has been designed as a light, stowable emergency raincoat. The stretchy, breathable membrane fabric will resist light showers and is a good barrier to wind chill."
Yep, just don't think that it's a hardcore jacket for all-weather commuting. Its designed to keep you dry in a shower and to sling on for a bit of extra warmth if the temperature drops – and that's what it does.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The main fabric is nylon/TPU. Water rolls off the fabric but it can get through the seams.
It's a straightforward construction but it uses good materials and high-quality features – good zips and a storm flap behind the front zip.
It does what the manufacturers say it will do - it keeps out showers and wind. The only thing is, a jacket that's fully waterproof will do the same, and more.
It's lasting well and looking good so far.
There are lighter jackets out there that pack down smaller, but this will easily pack into a jersey pocket.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does what's promised – but other jackets promise and deliver more in terms of waterproofing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It packs down small enough to fit into a jersey pocket and it looks stylish as water-resistant jackets go.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
On the whole, having a showerproof jacket is a luxury. Most people – especially in the UK - need a jacket that's fully waterproof, so a showerproof will be a secondary purchase rather than an essential.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not an essential.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven 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 youthful 45-year-old 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.