Years ago we tested the Showers Pass Portland jacket and it was a cracker for commuting in all weathers and looking stylish off the bike. The Amsterdam is based on the Portland but with a heavier softshell fabric to keep you cosy in the worst conditions.
It gets pretty chilly in Portland, Oregon, where Showers Pass are based. As I write (December) it's a heady -3°C and the record is nineteen below zero, so you'd think they know a bit about designing for the cold. The Amsterdam is constructed from a heavyweight softshell fabric with a herringbone pattern, and the inside is lined with a flocked layer so it's super comfy even on bare arms.
It's designed as commuting gear so there are no rear pockets, but there are two front pockets where you'd normally find them, and a chest one with a headphone port. There are inside pockets too, though they're not zippered.
The neck is fairly high, but well padded and comfy, and there's a drawcord hem to keep the chills at bay at the bottom. The sleeves have a zippered section to cinch them in if it's really cold. If you're suffering from over- rather than under-heating you can open all those bits up instead, as well as two generous-yet-unobtrusive armpit zips.
Designed to be worn on or off the bike, the Amsterdam is what Showers Pass describe as 'full fit': that means at 1.90m and 100kg, I'm a Large and the XL that originally got sent over swamped me a bit. If you're lean – I'm not – you'll need to size down. In keeping with its more universal appeal the jacket has a dropped tail (complete with a generous swathe of 3M reflective) that can be poppered up out of the way, although I seldom bothered as it isn't dropped that much. There's reflective piping on the front too, albeit not a massive amount.
Two words describe this jacket: comfy, and warm. Actually, I'd add one more: quality. It's a really well made bit of kit, and the lined soft shell fabric is super-comfortable. You can happily wear it with just a short-sleeved base layer underneath.
That's handy, because a lot of the time that's all you'll need. If you're exerting yourself in any way and the roads aren't entirely iced over then you'll be warm enough in this. It's not designed for 'sport' riding but I've used the similar Portland on some really long, really cold rides – notably, 200km in sub-zero temperatures on the Ball Buster Audax – and it's been a godsend. I would have been deliriously happy with a bit of extra warmth on that ride, though, so the Amsterdam would likely have been an even better choice.
So far it's mostly been bracing rather than brass monkeys round here, but the Amsterdam has coped admirably on the chilly morning commutes and I haven't overheated on the grind back up the hill at the end of the day, thanks to the decent venting. Although if you really go after it and it's not really cold, you'll soon be roasting.
The Amsterdam is a soft shell and the seams aren't taped, so Showers Pass don't claim the Amsterdam is fully waterproof, but I've had very little water getting inside even on some filthy rides. If you're out for a couple of hours in heavy rain you can expect some water to creep in at the seams but it'll only be a bit, and you certainly won't get cold.
If you're after super-high-viz belisha beacon style outerwear then this isn't the one for you, obviously. It's designed to be suitable for your whole life, not just the cycling bit, and it's been my jacket of choice both for rolling in to work on the bike and just generally living in off it. It's a classy-looking coat and I really like it.
Super warm, comfortable and stylish jacket that works on and off the bike.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Amsterdam Jacket
Size tested: XL, Winter Herringbone
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?
Based on our popular Portland Jacket the Amsterdam takes on the cold with a heavier weight Herringbone material that sheds rain and cold without shedding style. This classy cycling coat for wintry commutes to the office or the pub features a drop down 3M reflective rear panel and reflective piping accents.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof Softshell Fabric
Drop Down 3M reflective rear panel and reflective piping accents
Gussette weatherguard cuffs
Hidden pit zips for venting
Adjustable Hem with cord lock
Chest pocket with audio port
Hidden inside pockets
£149 isn't cheap. But my Portland Jacket did four years of hard use and now I've handed it on to a friend. This'll last too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's great as a commuting and general jacket for on and off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well-made, comfy, waterproof, warm, stylish.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It needs to be proper cold before you wear this on a club run.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.