Commuter-friendly balance of weatherproofing, breathability and value
Madison's new clothing range has been well received at road.cc towers: we liked the Tempest jacket very much, and we like this one too. It's not quite the top performer that the Tempest is but then it's only about half the price, and if you're commuting through winter you could do a lot worse.
Crafted from hard weraing but soft to the touch M:Tec 5000 fabric, the Stellar has fully taped seams and is mesh-lined. The cut is bike-specific – long arms and back – but not drastically so, and you get waterproof zips on the main closure and external chest pocket. For after-dark visibilty there's a large helping of Scotchlite. A big back vent and pit zips help with ventilation. Everything's sensibly put together and the jacket is comfortable and well-fitted for bike use. It looks okay off the bike too.
The real testing needed some rain, and fortunately that was easy to find this Summer: just leave the house. First time out wearing the Stellar I arrived at the foot of one of my least favourite climbs just as the deluge began, neatly allowing me to test both water resistance and breathability as I puffed my way skywards. At the top it was coming down so hard I could barely see, and on the downhill I had to keep my speed below 20mph as the driving rain battered my face into submission. I was drenched, but my t-shirt wasn't: the Stellar did a decent job of keeping the elements out. The water doesn't bead on the surface of the tough fabric very well and I'm sure this hinders breathability, which is acceptable rather than good, but I was fairly dry and certainly not cold: the jacket is plenty windproof and warm.
If you're an all-weather commuter then the mix of waterproofing, warmth and breathability is just about what you'd want, assuming you're not riding long and hard to get to work: the Stellar does tend to cook you a bit if you put the hammer down. It's resisted scuffs and is happy enough in the wash, a bit of technical fabric wash in the machine helps the rain to bead on the fabric too.
It's not a stand-out jacket but the performance is good and the water resistance better than most commuter coats. It's comfy and warm enough for winter too.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Stellar jacket
Size tested: XL
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes for general commuting wear
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track