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.
Deep winter insulation and intelligent design, but those with 'cyclists' arms' might find it a little roomy
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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?
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
Neat and tidy throughout.
Warmest jacket I've tried and that's what its designed to be.
Can't see this wearing out in a hurry. The materials feel very hardwearing and should stand up to a crash or two.
Everything is great except for those arms.
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.
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.