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The Endura Luminite is my kind of jacket - a brilliant (quite literaly) piece of technical clothing that won't break the bank and which is stylish enough to be worn off the bike too. I don't want to have to carry around two jackets and in these cash-strapped times I don't want to have to pay for two either.
So what should you look for in the perfect commuting jacket? Well, here's my list of must-have features: it needs to be waterproof, windproof, breathable and visible, and in my book at least you should be able to wear it off the bike too – (so it mustn't make you look like a Belisha beacon, if that's what you do want there's a yellow version too).
As the name suggests when the going gets darks this is the jacket to be seen in. There are well placed reflective patches on the upper arms, cuffs and the sides of the body plus reflective piping on the arms, back, front, and around the pockets - it only takes the smallest amount of light for it all to glow brilliantly.
That's not all though, the Luminite has a trick in the tail – a built-in light. A flashing red LED strip is housed in a small enclosure just beneath the large rear pocket. The light is placed so that it isn't obscured if you are wearing a rucksack (check out our Video First Look for a demo). Claimed run time is 50 hours and ours came with a spare light too. It works really well, the only downside is that turning it on and off using the blister button on the light can be a bit of a faff (particularly with gloved hands) and to the uninitiated it could look like you've suddently had to, er, readjust your pants… Even so, a small price to pay for the increased visibility.
So thats visibilty taken care of, but how good is it at keeping the weather out? Very. The combination of 2.5L fabric, sealed seams, cinched in collar and cuffs and a stormflap over the zip keeps do the trick. Even driving West Country rain didn't beat it. Usually that level of weather protection come at the cost of breathability. Climing hills in normal clothes on a mild day would be an unpleasantly sweaty experience in most jackets, but not the Luminite – for me that aspect of its performance was even more impressive than the built in rear light. Pit zips give extra ventilation should you need it, this being Winter we haven't used them in anger so far, but they are easy to open and close on the fly.
Fit is close, but not tight, spot on for a commuting jacket and the best of both worlds as an all-rounder – the cut is generous enough to wear normal clothes underneath it, but not so baggy that you'd look out of place wearing it on a chaingang. The “Cozy-touch” lining on the inside of the handwarmer pockets and on the collar which add extra, although the pocket lining can make it a bit awkward if you need to reach into the pockets with gloved hands – don't think I'd want to swap it on a cold day though. The other big plus is the number of pockets: as well as the two hand pockets there's a Napoleon pocket on the chest with a media port, and a massive rear pocket.
Niggles? The only slight ones are that the main zip occasionally snagged on the stormflap and that while the pocket and pit zips have easy-grab pullers the main zip doesn't which sometimes made adjustment on the fly with gloved hands awkward. These really are minor niggles though on what really is an outstanding jacket especially at this price.
Care instructions: Wash at 40°C, drip dry. Oh, AND don't forget to remove the LED first!
Also available in black or yellow.
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Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.