Craft Ladies Performance Bike Stretch Jacket  £120.00

9/10

Not cheap, but genuinely good value for money with excellent levels of ride comfort. Just check the fit for you

Weight 382g   Contact  www.craftsportswear.co.uk

by Lara Dunn   March 21, 2013  

Designed to be a fully waterproof but stretchy and breathable alternative to traditional shell jackets, this Craft Ladies Performance Bike Stretch Jacket is made from a mid-weight pliable soft shell fabric and is intended to be more comfortable and less noisy to wear than its hard shell equivalents.

The first thing I noticed about this jacket was the fabric. Stretchy and soft to the touch, the soft shell this is made from is much more enticing to wear than traditional hard shell fabrics. Beyond that, the cut was clearly going to be a strong decision making factor for possible buyers. I'm normally a size medium in most bike jackets, but given the athletic cut of this jacket, I went for a size large for testing.

It's a good-looking jacket, with pleasantly sporty Euro-looks that aren't too masculine. Lines are kept clean, with a minimum of extraneous features, so you just get a central rear zipped pocket, rather than side pockets. The collar is lined with soft fleecy fabric, and the fabric itself is soft backed on the shoulder and central back area. The sleeves are articulated in shape, and have an integral jersey stretch cuff, meaning that wrists are always kept snug, and there's no need for Velcro. Reflective strips on the arms and tail pocket help visibility.

Cut long in the body and arms, and quite sleek, this jacket is shaped to suit athletically built women, and in particular will please taller ladies with a less curvy frame. Going up a size did the trick for me, but did mean the sleeves were really quite generous in length, although still not overlong.

The hem gripper at the rear of the tail section meant that the jacket didn't creep upwards when riding. The fabric was incredibly comfortable to wear, keeping me a really stable temperature no matter what sort of riding I was doing. Hills didn't result in overheating whilst descents didn't freeze me. This is a jacket best suited to cooler conditions though, and would almost certainly be overwarm in full summer, but for winter, spring and autumn it managed heat well. The soft shell breathability was a big part of that, as there was no problem with sweating, even without underarm zips. In wet weather, it certainly stood up to a lot of rain before becoming drenched.

The stretchy fit and super breathable soft shell fabric did make this a very comfortable (and quiet) jacket, that was well suited to all sorts of riding, from commuting to road to mountain biking. It even did the trick on a winter race skills session.

There is a men's version available.

Verdict

Not cheap, but genuinely good value for money with excellent levels of ride comfort. Just check the fit for you.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Craft Ladies Performance Bike Stretch Jacket

Size tested: Pruple Large

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 all types of cyclist for cooler weather and inclement conditions riding.

A jacket really well suited to less than perfect weather, especially the classic damp cold of a British winter and early Spring.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Stretch laminated wind and waterproof fabric

100% polyester

Fleece lined collar

Full length front zip

Reflective accents

Rear hem gripper

Rear zipped pocket

Integral wrist gaiters

Washable at 40

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made from excellent fabrics.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Superb comfort and excellent temperature management.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

A tough jacket that's not going anywhere in a hurry.

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

You wouldn't pack this one "just in case" but it's designed to be worn all day, from the off, so it's just fine.

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

Superbly comfortable, both in terms of wear and also how it keeps the body temperature stable and spot on.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Not cheap, but given its quality and how wearable it is, very good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Style, fabric, comfort.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Fit/shape was not ideal for me, but going up a size meant it was fine.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially one with an athletic build.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Extremely comfortable and a pleasure to wear in all sorts of less than summery weather.

Overall rating: 9/10

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,

 

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