British brand Stolen Goat make big claims about their first winter jacket, the excellently-named Climb and Conquer. It's "the last winter jacket you'll ever need to buy," they say. They've made use of innovative and high-performance fabrics to deliver a warm and impressively weather-resistant outer layer with the added night-time bonus of Pixel pockets.
The jacket is made in the Bioracer factory in Belgium, like the Lionheart jersey that we reviewed last summer. The main body of the jacket is made from a combination of two fabrics. Iceberg100 is a light stretch heat-regulating fabric which repels wind and water; the 100 stands for a claimed 100% waterproof barrier. Tempest is a thermal material with a fleecy inner layer and special threads woven into the material to repel the water. Stolen Goat say that using this technology as opposed to a subsequent surface treatment means that the water-repellancy won't wear off.
The fabric feels great: hardwearing on the outside and super cosy on the inside. As recommended by Stolen Goat's sizing chart I tested a medium. Sizing runs from small to 2XL and the medium fitted me well, with plenty of length in the sleeves. The cuffs are lovely: soft, stretchy and quite long. They're cut quite tight around the wrists so no drafts get in, and it's easy to overlap with gloves. The jacket has a classic performance cycling shape, so the back is dropped enough to look right when you're riding, but there's not a bum flap to keep the spray off when you're riding without mudguards.
If you're used to winter jackets that are a bit flappy then this will be a revelation; the cut is close-fitting and pretty aerodynamic. There's plenty of stretch, though, so it's not at all restrictive and you can fit more layers below it than you think. I had no difficulties fitting a couple of layers underneath but this was really only necessary when it was really chilly; the insulation against the cold is superb. To give you an idea, I found I could get away with just a decent base layer underneath on days where it was barely above freezing, even if I wasn't going full gas. Lately it's often been sub-zero on my way to work and I've been quite happy with just a base layer and a thin jersey like this underneath.
Riding into a cold wind or down hills you'll appreciate the excellent windproofing on offer here. Being picky, I'd have liked to see a storm flap behind the zip, as I reckon that a little cold air gets in there. Pleasingly, the windproofing isn't at the expense of breathability. Even when I deliberately dressed too warm, I found that it never really got uncomfortably humid inside, which certainly isn't true in most waterproofs.
Waterproofing is very good, better than most soft-shells I've used and not far off what you could expect from a sealed hardshell. Seams aren't sealed here, so a little water can get in, but I've worn this through some pretty foul weather and stayed dry. The close-fitting collar and cuffs help here too. It's surprising how many waterproof jackets get these details wrong.
Around the back is where things get a bit surprising. Stolen Goat have made use of a clever fabric called Pixel 100 to make the whole of the pocket section. Its unique feature is the ability to reflect artificial light without looking like conventional reflective material. Stolen Goat have used the same material in their bibtights and the Orkaan Race Tech jersey which we're also reviewing.
Experiments with torches and headlights found that the pockets did indeed reflect strongly provided that the light source was at a similar angle to your eyes. What this means in practice is that it works really well to give drivers advanced warning when they're still a way off down the road. Bioracer have a (rather tedious but convincing) video showing this in action on some of their kit. The pockets extend just about far enough round to the sides (at least on this Medium) to give you some lateral night-time visibility, but I'd like to see some Pixel fabric used on the sleeves too; turn signals can be invisible to drivers at night time.
The pockets themselves are well-placed and of decent size. In addition to the normal three, there's a zipped pocket on the right hand side made of a thin waterproof material. It's big enough for a smartphone and there's a little opening to run a headphone cable out inside the jacket.
In terms of negatives, there are really not many. One simple detail that I missed was a loop in the collar for hanging it up. You don't generally get this in a jersey but it's a strange omission in a jacket.
The styling of the Climb and Conquer is simple and classy in a timeless sort of way. It's a subjective area, obviously, but if you're buying the last jacket you'll ever need to buy, you'll want to be fairly confident that you'll still like it a few years down the line. You can have it in the red/white/dark grey that we had, or there's a lime version available too.
Great fit and protection from the worst that winter than throw at you, plus clever reflective pockets
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Make and model: stolen goat Climb & Conquer Winter Cycling 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?
We manufacture and sell direct to you. This means we can create products with exceptional performance but acceptable pricing.
This winter cycling jacket is quite simply the last winter jacket you'll ever need to buy. Warm, breathable, waterproof, windproof and featuring the super visible Pixel 100 technology in the back pockets – you'll be safe as well as smug.
A professional performance fit but not super tight race fit. Plenty of room to manoeuvre without being a flappy wind sail.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Manufacturer's text. The Iceberg 100 and Tempest fabrics are apparently combined to make the main part of the jacket, with the rear pockets made of the clever Pixel 100 reflective fabric.
This high performance winter cycling jacket comes fully loaded with the following technologies:
Iceberg 100 - a light stretch heat regulating fabric that repels wind & water and maintains a constant temperature between the skin and the fabric. Waterproof and breathable... a match made in cycling heaven. Perfect for high intensity cold weather rides.
Tempest – a high thermal fabric featuring a breathable, brushed microfibre backing and an outer layer that protects against the cold. Easy to wash and has superior shape retention.
Pixel 100 – you can read here for more on Pixel 100, but ultimately this super fabric has 3 layers that combine to form a wind-proof but breathable surface with an outer layer that is super reflective.
Really effective fabrics in a performance cut.
Very impressive performance. Keeps you warm and dry in horrible weather. Great rear visibility at night, too.
The material feels bombproof and the stitching is good. Hard to see this needing replacing for years.
This isn't a featherweight by any means, but for the warmth and weather-protection it gives, it's a decent weight.
Near faultless in this respect, it feels really lovely in use. Particularly liked the well-fitting cuffs and neck that keep drafts at bay.
£129 is a chunk of money: Stolen Goat aren't aiming at the bottom of the market here. However, the combination of fit and the performance of the fabrics used are at least the equal of other similarly priced jackets in my experience.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. I was surprised at how warm it was.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Warmth, protection and fit in one garment.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much. If you don't use mudguards, you'd probably want it to be dropped further at the back to give better spray protection for your bum. I've have liked a loop for hanging it up and a storm flap behind the zip but those are not major niggles.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.