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Madison Men's Road Race Apex jacket



Fully waterproof jacket with great fit and really quite impressive breathability, and packed with nice details

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Road Race Apex Jacket from Madison is a solidly waterproof jacket that completely prevents water penetration, all while managing to be impressively breathable. The fit and attention to detail is good, and the price reasonable for the level of performance it offers. The black colour won't to be everyone's taste though, but there are lots of reflective details.

Madison is the distributor that looks after brands like Shimano, GoPro, Park Tool and many more. In recent years they've really upped their game with their own line of mountain bike and road cycling clothing, and following the launch of the Madison Genesis professional race team a couple of years ago, they've added a line of racier fit garments. Like this Apex jacket.

If you like jackets to be snug and aero, you'll like the Apex. It's not tight though, as the photo shows the medium does still have a bit of bagginess to it. Some waterproof jackets can feel like you're wearing a bin bag, baffling and flapping when you're riding. The good fit of the Apex ensures it doesn't do that, quite the opposite in fact. It's all very quiet.

There are some nice details on this jacket, and it shows they've really put some time into getting it just right, which is evident on the bike. It just feels good. There's a part elasticated waist band and slightly dropped tail. The cuffs are semi-elasticated, ensuring a snug fit around the wrist, but does mean you have to remove bulky gloves first before you pull it on over the top. It's not a jacket you'll be wanting to remove on the go.

Other nice details that matter when you're riding include the tall collar, lined with a soft fleece material. There's one single vertically aligned rear zipped pocket, a blessing when you need to wear the jacket for the duration of the ride, but don't want to have to stop to grab a gel or bar. I can see that being useful for the Madison Genesis racers, as much for us mere mortals out riding and training.

Let's get down to the core of the jacket, it's waterproofness. It's made from a 2.5 layer fabric, and Madison claim a waterproof rating of 15,000mm and breathability of 15,000g/m^2 for both. That's up there with the best modern fabrics.

I can put that waterproof and breathability rating into real-world numbers if you like. Last weekend I rode a 200km Audax, with an average temperature of 6°C, and horrendous torrential rain for much of the 7.5 hours I was on the bike. With the Road Race Apex jacket over a short sleeve merino base layer and two long sleeve tops, and riding at a brisk pace, I was completely dry throughout the ride. In fact, my under layers were bone dry when I finished. As for breathability, I didn't overheat one bit.

I used the surprisingly effective arm vents when the heat started building up in my arms a bit, and was fine for the rest of the ride. The rest of me, well I was completely saturated, couldn't feel my fingers from the freezing rain, to the point I couldn't even unlock the car, and my feet were numb. I really hadn't expected the jacket to cope as well as it did.

If you do run a bit hotter than me, Madison have wisely added four zipped vents, two on the forearms and two on the chest.

It's available in two colours, the black pictured, and a white version. Both have a good number of reflective details, but I feel a few more wouldn't go amiss on a jacket that is going to be worn a lot in poor light or the dark.

Here is a waterproof jacket that doesn't cost a fortune, is properly waterproof and manages heat buildup supremely well, and looks great too backed up with a good fit and nice attention to detail.


Fully waterproof jacket with great fit and really quite impressive breathability, and packed with nice details. test report

Make and model: Madison Mens Road Race Apex Jacket

Size tested: Black, Medium

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?

Built to cope with the worst of the British winters, the Apex jacket is a fully waterproof, breathable and windproof.

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

The 2.5 layer construction has a small amount of stretch for ultimate comfort in the saddle.

With 15K breathable and 15K waterproof ratings, the Apex is well equipped to deal with torrential downpours without letting you overheat

The tailored fit is designed with professional cyclists to ensure a streamlined finish

The zippered front facing chest vents and 2 way centre front zipper allow you to carefully modulate your core temperature

Invisible zippers on the inside wrists open as vents to quickly reduce the bodies temperature

Laser cut holes underneath storm flaps on the side panels complete the jackets comprehensive venting options

Elasticated gripper hem and cuffs hold the jacket firmly in place preventing unwanted drafts or rain getting in

The subtle grey reflective prints offer just as much night-time visibility as traditional silver, but with a much cleaner look

A single zippered rear pocket is easy to access and fully waterproof

Limited lifetime warranty

Rate the product for quality of construction:

First class, taped seams inside and solidly built.

Rate the product for performance:

Exceptional waterproofing, keeping me dry for over 7 hours in torrential rain. Plus there is the excellent fit as well.

Rate the product for durability:

Yup no problems there, the fabric is resilient to hard use and it goes through the washing machine just fine.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

It's light when you're wearing it, and rolls up small enough to fit in a jersey or jacket pocket

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

The fit makes it very comfortable for long stints.

Rate the product for value:

You can pay a lot more but with the Apex such a strong performing jacket and working so well for performance minded cyclists, I'm not sure you need to spend any more.

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

I no longer fear the rain.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Fit and fabric.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The main zipper can be a little stiff and tricky to use sometimes.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

A top quality waterproof jacket at a reasonable price

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,


David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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laterrehaute | 8 years ago

The reflective details are certainly very discreet.  When will clothing manufacturers add reflective piping/hems at the very least.  I bought the white version in the hope that it would be more visible in low light (rain is invariably low light).  Weight for 'large' comes in at 333g, including packaging,  which is great.  Great fit for me - middle aged and spreading a little.

I'm looking forward to using it, to see if the vents actually work as I tend to run hot.


andyspaceman | 10 years ago
1 like

I'm a 36" waist, 40" chest, fairly broad shouldered and 5'11. The large fits me really well - less baggy than the pics here (with a baselayer and winter jersey beneath) but not at all restrictive. I'd say its a pro cut, but sized for real people. Hope that provides some idea.

alexholt3 | 10 years ago
1 like

You claim a good fit, but to me it looks baggy and flappy. Good fit, for me at least, means fitted. Will sizing down solve this problem? Baggy means drag and lack of comfort/protection.

amazon22 | 10 years ago

Madison's sizing page refers to their fits - Muscle Fit, Function Fit and Relaxed Fit. All well and good, but the description of this jacket says 'tailored fit' - so what is it really? In fact a lot of Madison's clothing doesn't have any info about fit. I do wish manufacturers would be constant in the information they give out. I see this 'fit' issue time and again.

JWB | 10 years ago

Lovely, another product that's seemingly impossible to purchase outside of the UK  2

Mat Brett | 10 years ago
turnerc99 | 10 years ago

I really like the look of these, but I can't find any size guides on their generous are the sizes?

mikeprytherch | 10 years ago

Black.... boring

localsurfer | 10 years ago

Why on earth are cycling waterproof jackets so expensive? It's a bloody anorak.

morethansonglyrics | 10 years ago

Assume it doesnt pack down into a jersey pocket/saddle bag?

andyspaceman replied to morethansonglyrics | 10 years ago

morethansonglyrics - you're correct, it's not really a packer. Although you could fold and roll it into a 'sausage' shape and get it into a jersey pocket at a push if you needed to.

David Arthur @d... replied to morethansonglyrics | 10 years ago
morethansonglyrics wrote:

Assume it doesnt pack down into a jersey pocket/saddle bag?

Yes, but it'll consume an entire pocket - it's not the most packable jacket out there, but the good breathability does mean you can wear it for the whole ride comfortably

andyspaceman | 10 years ago

I have one in white. Only worn it a couple of times but it's already seen some serious cold, rain and hail.
I fully agree with everything said above - a very accurate review. I do run quite hot usually, and using the chest zips in conjunction with the arm zips works well.
One detail not mentioned above that I love is the bi-directional main zip, which I've never had on a cycling jacket before (not sure if that feature is uncommon, or whether I've just had the wrong jackets?). Being able to zip upward to loosen the skirt makes access to rear jersey pockets beneath very easy.
Based on my early impressions, I reckon of paid almost twice as much for jackets that aren't as good as this.

nowasps | 10 years ago

Three layers and a waterproof jacket?

David Arthur @d... replied to nowasps | 10 years ago
nowasps wrote:

Three layers and a waterproof jacket?

I've gotta keep warm! It was blimmin' cold, low temps, lots of flooding (which we rode through) freezing rain for most of the day. Not the time to let yourself get cold, especially in the latter stages of the ride when you're tired

gw | 10 years ago

Sounds ideal but colour choice kills it for me. I'd probably buy one if it came in orange.

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