The Showers Pass Portland Jacket combines the best features of a technical cycling jacket with classic looks and a more generous cut - it reminds me of those traditionally favoured by French clubmen. And it works off the bike too - even worn with jeans. It's my jacket of choice for general riding, the only small niggle being it doesn’t fold compactly and Gore type jackets have the edge in heavy rain as the Portland’s non-taped seams can allow water to sneak through.
Three-layer waterproof, breathable construction means it feels stiffer relative to more traditional shell types but not in a bad way. There’s everything you’d expect to find in a cycling jacket- a drop down tail that offers excellent defence against chill while suitably snug not to flap in the breeze-even screaming along winding descents. The sleeves are similarly long with zippered cuffs reminiscent of motorcycle jackets. Tabbed, waterproof double fronted and under arm zippers provide excellent climate control and are easily operable wearing winter gloves-even on the fly.
Elsewhere a discreet breast pocket readily accommodates phones and valuables, keeping them separate from keys, change and other nick knacks. It also incorporates a headphone port for those whom chose to ride “plugged in” to their Ipod/MP3 player. Internally a hem cord allows minor adjustments while two larger open compartments swallow A5 pads, wallets, etc - there’s even two fleece lined outer pockets for hands to hide in when mooching about town.
Subtle reflective piping crops up around the garment without putting a dampener on the chic brown pinstripe livery. It makes perfect sense given the Portland is primarily a three season jacket. Care is very straightforward and it can be machine washed with a shot of fabric re-proofing on cool 30-degree cycles. Bottom line: £175 is a sizeable amount to part with but those seeking civilian looks with uncompromised performance will consider it money well spent.
Stylish, practical everyday jacket for all but the worst weather.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Portland Jacket
Size tested: 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?
The Portland is the best of both worlds- a cycling jacket that can be worn in almost any setting without compromises in the saddle. You wouldn't race in it but for commuting and general riding, you'd have to go a long way to top it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Three layer waterproof construction, non tapered seams, drop tail with scotchlite dfetailing, waterproof front zip, zippered cuffs, tabbed underarm ventilation, ample pockets (Including two external fleece lined, breast pocket, two large internal, mp3 type headphone port, elasticated draw cords.
800g (large as tested)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This has become my favourite general, three season's riding companion. It looks stylish, oozes practicality and can be worn in all settings. Ventilation is excellent, allowing ample airflow even with prolonged, spirited riding and it's long enough in the back to protect against chill-even low on the drops but non tapered seams allow water inside through very heavy downpour.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Sharp, go anywhere styling, great cut and outright practicality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but at this end of the market tapered seams would make a great garment greater still.
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: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)