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Verdict: 
Deep winter insulation and intelligent design, but those with 'cyclists' arms' might find it a little roomy
Weight: 
736g
Contact: 

Mavic's Inferno jacket is intended for those days when you're probably just better off staying in bed with the heating on. If you have to get out on the bike though you'll be toasty warm but it's a try before you buy as the proportions are a little odd.

The thermal properties of this softshell jacket are provided by Primaloft Sport insulation, which has varying diameter fibres intertwined with each other. This creates loads of tiny air pockets that trap body heat. It's also treated for water resistance which not only stops water from getting in but also stops it getting wet from sweat vapour from the inside. Insulation needs to be dry to be at its most effective.

It certainly works as the Inferno is very warm. We haven't had any freezing temperatures yet, but on a couple of rides at 6°C with just a summer mesh baselayer underneath I was sweating, admittedly with the vents closed.

Mavic haven't gone crazy with it though as you'll only find it under the softshell material on the shoulders and front panels, the ones that are going to be taking the wind chill as you're riding.

Breathability is provided by thin Lycra panels under the arms and rather cool reflective-edged spinal sections. Along with the zipped vents on the forearms and just in front of the armpits, these allow a cooling breeze through the jacket.

A lot of thought has gone in to the cut and finish of the Inferno and that goes a long way to justifying the £180 price tag. The zip is offset for a start, something we've seen on the likes of Rapha's jackets for a long time. It does make a lot of difference on jackets with high close fitting necks to not have a zip digging into the tender skin under your chin.

The front of the jacket is cut at waist height to avoid bunching when on the bike while the rear is dropped deep enough to cover the majority of your backside, all kept in place with a silicone gripper. Ideal for you non-mudguard users out there. The tailoring of the Inferno is slim-fitting without being tight, the test sample is UK sized small and fits me perfectly which highlights the fact that their sizing chart is spot on.

The only issue is the arms, off the bike they feel too long which I understand as when stretched out on the hoods things are about right. The inner lycra cuff fits snugly around the wrist while the outer softshell one is cut longer on the top to fit over a glove.

The width of the sleeves is totally at odds with the rest of the jacket, though: they're massive. While I wouldn't exactly class myself as muscular I'm not one of these whippet thin racing cyclists either; having all of this material flapping around in the wind just feels odd.

For those properly freezing days the Inferno comes with its own balaclava which poppers inside the jacket at shoulder height, far enough down that it stops any drafts from entering. It's a neat idea and can be left hanging inside when it's not needed.

For storage there is a zipped pocket on the chest and a deep one at the rear in the usual place. It's deep enough to keep things secure even when it's unzipped as leaving it open allows it to be used as another vent .

Overall the Inferno is a great jacket for when the weather turns icy, offering some of the best thermal properties I've found in a softshell. The price is acceptable as you can see it's going to last for years and there are some neat design features. The only thing stopping me getting my cash out though is those arms, they just feel at odds with the rest of the slim fit jacket and look kind of silly.

Verdict

Deep winter insulation and intelligent design, but those with 'cyclists' arms' might find it a little roomy

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Mavic Inferno Jacket

Size tested: 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?

Mavic say "Icy winds, drifting snow, frozen water bottles. If this sounds familiar then this is your jacket. The soft shell construction with strategically placed Primaloft® insulation and a removable face mask will keep you warm in the coldest conditions." It's certainly warm enough for freezing temperatures and the gimp mask is a nice touch.

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

CLIMA RIDE

Clima Vent

Micro Vent

Ergo Cuff

Ergo Zip

Primaloft® Sport

Reflective highlights

1 zip chest pocket

Rear zip pocket with 3 inner mesh pockets

Removable hood with storage compartment

Sizing - XXS - XXL

Colours - Red/White/Black or Green/White/Black

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Neat and tidy throughout.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Warmest jacket I've tried and that's what its designed to be.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Can't see this wearing out in a hurry. The materials feel very hardwearing and should stand up to a crash or two.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Everything is great except for those arms.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

The quality and design reflects the price and vice versa.

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

As a cold weather jacket its brilliant, I'm looking forward to the really cold temperatures to kick in.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The material and quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The baggy arms.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? No, those arms just feel weird.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

The Inferno really is a brilliant jacket and does what its designed to do very well indeed. It all hinges on those sleeves though. I've never worn a cycling garment with arms like it for size and for something that is race cut to have excess material flapping about just feels odd. If you're a bodybuilder though you'll be just fine.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

37 comments

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

The cut has always been an issue. I had one, the sleeves were huge and there was a humpback esque feel to it.

But, what it was, was amazingly warm.

I couldn't keep it as it just felt weird.

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amazon22 [312 posts] 4 years ago
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Enough with the 'try before you buy' phrase please! It crops up again and again - who isn't going to try it before they buy it? Try on in a shop - if it fits, buy it. Mail order on spec - if it doesn't fit, send it back under distance selling regs. Either way, the purchaser is in no danger of buying without trying (and if they do it's their own stupid fault).

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Jez Ash [252 posts] 4 years ago
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amazon22 wrote:

Enough with the 'try before you buy' phrase please! It crops up again and again - who isn't going to try it before they buy it? Try on in a shop - if it fits, buy it. Mail order on spec - if it doesn't fit, send it back under distance selling regs. Either way, the purchaser is in no danger of buying without trying (and if they do it's their own stupid fault).

I think it is completely outrageous that a website like this should presume to give advice to consumers on how to buy cycling gear. No-one likes to get advice, and the notion that someone might read a review of a piece of cycling gear to get advice on it is ludicrous. I REFUSE TO BE FORCE-FED ADVICE. I just wanted pictures of lady cyclists in pants. And if I then buy the wrong thing, then it's my own stupid fault.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
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Reckon even Vin Diesel would find the arms on that a 'little roomy'.

Just badly cut for its size.

If it's was truly intelligent design - then they wouldn't have to make the arms so wide so not to restrict movement (which is why they've done this no doubt).

You can see similarly weird cuts in old alpine softshells (and hardshells). Cycling companies are years behind in terms of softshell design.

I would just buy something from Mountain Equipment/Haglofs/RAB etc if I was going to pick up a softshell. Better value for money, and far more stylish than this motorbike inspired shambles.

How this can get 4 stars, when there are literally 100s of softshells to choose from, many of which would blow this away, I have no idea.

Was the only other frame of reference Rapha?

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Mombee [84 posts] 4 years ago
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A well-engineered, well-fitting cycle jacket made with good quality materials is a fanastic investment, but they are expensive… it's not just Rapha, it's Castelli, Gore, Sugoi, etc as well. I looked at the Mavic jackets last year and the Sugoi's, both are wonderful jackets, but the fit wasn't quite right. I ended up with Rapha because the fit was better (for me) and it's become a staple bit of my cycling kit. My old Night Vision jacket, in comparison, did a great job on a different budget at a different time, but ultimately it's just a normal short jacket with some reflective bits stuck on (I wear it to the pub now).

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Rich71 [52 posts] 4 years ago
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They have to suck up to a massive company like Mavic no matter what shite they review otherwise the gear to test will stop
4 stars for an ill fitting 180 quid sweat rag,an insult to our intelligence and outright bullshit  44

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
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unconstituted wrote:

. Cycling companies are years behind in terms of softshell design.

Are you sure about that?

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
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Yes.

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
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So, the Rapha hardshell, softshell, Assos Bonka and Castelli Alpha are behind the others? Particularly given that they are actually designed for cycling?

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

So, the Rapha hardshell, softshell, Assos Bonka and Castelli Alpha are behind the others? Particularly given that they are actually designed for cycling?

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
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Hell, I'd even take a DHB windslam over a Choktoi Pro on the bike.

It's interesting, as well, given their obvious superiority that the big names in outdoors equipment can't break into the cycling market in a meaningful way

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
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bendertherobot wrote:

So, the Rapha hardshell, softshell, Assos Bonka and Castelli Alpha are behind the others? Particularly given that they are actually designed for cycling?

Yes.

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
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unconstituted wrote:
bendertherobot wrote:

So, the Rapha hardshell, softshell, Assos Bonka and Castelli Alpha are behind the others? Particularly given that they are actually designed for cycling?

Yes.

How?

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
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http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/vulcan-jacket

here's a £200 one. I wonder how that would work on the bike?

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MKultra [393 posts] 4 years ago
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I use a Berghaus soft shell on the bike in winter. While not cycling specific it's got a drop tail and the cut is close enough.

I think I paid about £60 in the Go-Outdoors Christmas sale for that one, it's not top end Gore wind stopper but it's good enough for all but very wet weather.

Properly water proof I have always got on well with Goretex Paclite jackets. Not cheap though but they do last as they are ripstop.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
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bendertherobot wrote:

http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/vulcan-jacket

here's a £200 one. I wonder how that would work on the bike?

Beautiful jacket that, could even get away with it in the pub, and the cut is clever, you've got full range of motion there while maintaining an athletic profile. All ME's new cuts are ace (they used to be a bit boxy with their hardshells).

The softshell material is Goretex windstopper which I know from experience will hold off heavy rain for about an hour until it saturates. You'll still be safe from the rain, but breathability dives after saturation and you'll start getting wet from the inside depending on activity/heat etc. It has pit zips though so you can dump the heat. You will be warm in it when wet though. That's the most important bit.

I haven't used that Vulcan, but I have used other ME softshells for cycling before in hellish conditions (like the Trojan, older version), and I'm pretty familiar with various Goretex fabrics. I used to Trojan for the Rapha 500 one winter when it was sub 0 and had everything from hail, harsh wind, and bucketing rain along the scottish coast thrown at me. I used the hood and had it cinched tight. Great ROM and I felt cosy the whole time (except for when the hail whacked my big nose).

Best thing about going for a ME jacket like that one is that their hoods are fab with or without a helmet. You know for certain that when you buy an ME jacket, and stick the hood over your bike helmet, that you can turn your head and not have any problem with vision - because they're designed for alpinists who put them under more rigorous use that a cyclist ever will.

Another thing, notice that Mavic have put holes in their softshell, which probably speaks to the poor breathability of the fabric. Softshells are hard to get right and without a proper test in bad weather over long periods, there's no way I'd vouch for it - certainly no way I'd be giving it 4 stars and shilling it to roadies.

Bet it's a steam cooker. An ugly, weird cut one at that. With no real hood for protection either. Probably because they couldn't design one that wasn't a suicide risk? So what happens when it rains then - all the water soaks your face mask and runs into your chest? What material is that face mask?

Dunno. I wouldn't touch that Mavic thing, especially in the rain. They're pluggin' it as a wind shell, so maybe it's fine for that. But why spend so much when you can get a softshell that's ace and will also work well in the rain.

That ME jacket will retail as low as £100 as the season rolls on and the sizes start going. Nice investment.

Loads of other companies do this stuff too, could spend all day looking at ace ones. Didn't want to ramble on like this, 'cos you could spend hours yapping about the seams being proofed etc (which ME do perfect).

Really, when you're talking about testing a jacket at this price - you should actually test it. Anything less is just shilling for whatever company wants their kit advertised.

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markfireblade [63 posts] 4 years ago
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Hood? Face mask? On a race bike?

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Loads of other companies do this stuff too, could spend all day looking at ace ones. Didn't want to ramble on like this, 'cos you could spend hours yapping about the seams being proofed etc (which ME do perfect).

Really, when you're talking about testing a jacket at this price - you should actually test it. Anything less is just shilling for whatever company wants their kit advertised.

Indeed. So, when did you test the jackets you claim that mountain manfacturers are light years ahead on?

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David Arthur @d... [954 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich71 wrote:

They have to suck up to a massive company like Mavic no matter what shite they review otherwise the gear to test will stop
4 stars for an ill fitting 180 quid sweat rag,an insult to our intelligence and outright bullshit  44

No, we don't

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aslongasicycle [389 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:
Rich71 wrote:

They have to suck up to a massive company like Mavic no matter what shite they review otherwise the gear to test will stop
4 stars for an ill fitting 180 quid sweat rag,an insult to our intelligence and outright bullshit  44

No, we don't

I can confirm and swear on The Bible (though I'm not religious) that they don't. Others do. Road.cc don't.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
bendertherobot wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Loads of other companies do this stuff too, could spend all day looking at ace ones. Didn't want to ramble on like this, 'cos you could spend hours yapping about the seams being proofed etc (which ME do perfect).

Really, when you're talking about testing a jacket at this price - you should actually test it. Anything less is just shilling for whatever company wants their kit advertised.

Indeed. So, when did you test the jackets you claim that mountain manfacturers are light years ahead on?

The past 15 years or so.

If you have something of value to add please feel free. Which soft shell fabrics from cycling manufacturers have you thought were competitive with the big G, or even the outdoor name brand fabrics and in what conditions?

You seem to have your feathers ruffled, which is odd as cycling has not been a sport with much demand for soft shells. Even climbers, hikers etc don't all subscribe, it's still relatively novel. So how cycling would be expected to have the same level of experience in the area I'm not sure.

Anyway, why don't you tell us your experiences with soft shells. Feels like you're bursting to share a contrary opinion.

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chris75018 [99 posts] 4 years ago
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Rich71 wrote:

They have to suck up to a massive company like Mavic no matter what shite they review otherwise the gear to test will stop
4 stars for an ill fitting 180 quid sweat rag,an insult to our intelligence and outright bullshit  44

If you really beleive this, why are you here? You've obviously clicked on the link on the homepage which gave you a reasonable idea what you were going to get (after all, the price and star rating are pretty clear on the homepage) or do you just like to start your afternoons with a bloody good moan?

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

The past 15 years or so.

If you have something of value to add please feel free. Which soft shell fabrics from cycling manufacturers have you thought were competitive with the big G, or even the outdoor name brand fabrics and in what conditions?

You seem to have your feathers ruffled, which is odd as cycling has not been a sport with much demand for soft shells. Even climbers, hikers etc don't all subscribe, it's still relatively novel. So how cycling would be expected to have the same level of experience in the area I'm not sure.

Anyway, why don't you tell us your experiences with soft shells. Feels like you're bursting to share a contrary opinion.

Not ruffled at all. I'm not the one who made the bold claim that the cycling market is years behind. Not different, not just a bit worse, but considerably so. Which would be odd, given just how advanced some cycling manufacturers are with proprietary material design and development.

I've owned the ME one I linked to, two Berghaus choktoi Pros, a RAB one whose name I forget and a basic North Face one.

I've also owned a DHB Windslam, Assos Bonka, Rapha Softshell, Hardshell, Gore Xenon, Gore Tool, Gore Cosmo, Castelli Espresso Due and one from Aldi.

What that tells you is that I'm a bit of an addict and prone to wanting new things a bit too much.

But, here's the thing, even when wearing the most basic of the above, the DHB and the Aldi ones, on a bike, I never once thought, wow, this stuff is from the dark ages, why can't it be a bit more like my Choktoi.

In fact, the reverse is probably true, when wearing something like the Choktoi I think, why can't this be a bit more like my Rapha Softshell.............

But, in terms of top end, I wonder why the ME Vulcan Gore Windstopper might be ahead of the Castelli Alpha Gore Windstopper? You referenced the big G. The fact is many of them are the big G, that's rather the point. Those that aren't are proprietary and are very very good.

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
bendertherobot wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

The past 15 years or so.

If you have something of value to add please feel free. Which soft shell fabrics from cycling manufacturers have you thought were competitive with the big G, or even the outdoor name brand fabrics and in what conditions?

You seem to have your feathers ruffled, which is odd as cycling has not been a sport with much demand for soft shells. Even climbers, hikers etc don't all subscribe, it's still relatively novel. So how cycling would be expected to have the same level of experience in the area I'm not sure.

Anyway, why don't you tell us your experiences with soft shells. Feels like you're bursting to share a contrary opinion.

Not ruffled at all. I'm not the one who made the bold claim that the cycling market is years behind. Not different, not just a bit worse, but considerably so. Which would be odd, given just how advanced some cycling manufacturers are with proprietary material design and development.

I've owned the ME one I linked to, two Berghaus choktoi Pros, a RAB one whose name I forget and a basic North Face one.

I've also owned a DHB Windslam, Assos Bonka, Rapha Softshell, Hardshell, Gore Xenon, Gore Tool, Gore Cosmo, Castelli Espresso Due and one from Aldi.

What that tells you is that I'm a bit of an addict and prone to wanting new things a bit too much.

But, here's the thing, even when wearing the most basic of the above, the DHB and the Aldi ones, on a bike, I never once thought, wow, this stuff is from the dark ages, why can't it be a bit more like my Choktoi.

In fact, the reverse is probably true, when wearing something like the Choktoi I think, why can't this be a bit more like my Rapha Softshell.............

But, in terms of top end, I wonder why the ME Vulcan Gore Windstopper might be ahead of the Castelli Alpha Gore Windstopper? You referenced the big G. The fact is many of them are the big G, that's rather the point. Those that aren't are proprietary and are very very good.

The Castelli Allpha and Vulcan both use different weights and aren't directly comparable. One windstopper jacket isn't the same as another windstopper jacket just because it has the same logo printed on. Very different jackets.

Surely a 'softshell addict' would be aware of that?

Is the ME Vulcan top-end for this market? Does a few exceptional models from the cycling industry mean that the general state of cycling softshells are on par with the general state of climbing brands?

The Choktoi is a fleece - you're convoluting things so far out of shape and context that it'd take a whole day to put it in order.

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aslongasicycle [389 posts] 4 years ago
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I make Softshell jackets. We design them by staring at mountaineers looking confused, then running back to the local pub, to slap bits of random fabric together with a blindfold on, doing tequila shots and crying with frustration.

I'd also like to add, in a shouty voice:

ISN'T CYCLING FUN?!!

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
aslongasicycle wrote:

I make Softshell jackets. We design them by staring at mountaineers looking confused, then running back to the local pub, to slap bits of random fabric together with a blindfold on, doing tequila shots and crying with frustration.

I'd also like to add, in a shouty voice:

ISN'T CYCLING FUN?!!

Oh nice. Always great to have an actual fabric expert chip in. I get bored typing and wouldn't even read my own posts - just opinion, personal experience and time-wasting.

How do you get into that industry in the first place I always wondered. Always reckoned the guys who create new fabrics must be right boffins. Science PHD or what?

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aslongasicycle [389 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I just said. Mountaineers. Pub. Blindfold. Crying.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
aslongasicycle wrote:

I just said. Mountaineers. Pub. Blindfold. Crying.

 21

But really, what's your background? Did you come from textile and technology?

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aslongasicycle [389 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Nope. But I have clever employees with experience. Weirdly. Shame they're always in the pub.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
aslongasicycle wrote:

Nope. But I have clever employees with experience. Weirdly. Shame they're always in the pub.

Ah you have textile R&D engineers in-house. Nice, hope they aren't putting those pub tabs on your expenses  3

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