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Choosing the right clothing for your day's cycling can be fraught if the weather's changeable – grey skies one minute, sunshine the next – but stowable windproofs like the seriously impressive Huez* Starman Wind Jacket make the job a whole lot easier, though not necessarily cheaper.
London-based Huez* reached their Kickstarter target on the final day of 2014 and haven't looked back. Their Starman Wind Jacket is one of the lightest jackets out there, but that doesn't detract from its effectiveness. Made from one of the world's lightest ripstop fabrics (25g/m2), with a very soft feel, it weighs in at 110g – not as light as Sportful's Hot Pack (about 80g) and on a par with the Castelli Velo Jacket (107g). But don't be fooled by how thin and light it is, this is an effective cloak against the elements.
With a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating it can keep you dry in a light shower, but its main purpose is to protect you from the wind, and it does so pretty well. Because of its light weight, you can almost forget you're wearing it, although if the temperature is on the higher side you will get warm and a little moist on the inside. Also, if it gets very windy it can be prone to a little 'wind noise' as, despite the close fit (that's not me in the photos), you can get some flapping with the vents at the back. Similarly the shoulders have a little more looseness when you're hunched over the bar into a headwind.
The collar comes up high enough to keep the back of your neck warm, but given the snug fit you have to be quite careful when zipping up not to catch your neck. The Quickburst YKK zip is full length and easy to manoeuvre up and down, with a small cover or 'garage' at the top to prevent any irritation on the skin. The Quickburst bit means the zip can be opened on the move one-handed by simply pulling it apart. Just make sure the zip fastener is at the top, then pull it apart using the attached straps, and return the fastener to the bottom. It really is that simple.
On the rear you have large vents three-quarters of the way down. These serve two purposes: to allow air to escape and keep you cool, and to let you reach your rear pockets without having to remove the jacket. They can be opened further by using the poppers. Quite neat.
To make the jacket more visible, Huez* have put their unique Darklight reflective tabs on the rear at the shoulders, the centre, and the edges. And to keep everything neat and tidy, the jacket folds up into the reversible rear inner zipped pocket, which doubles as a pouch.
The gripper at the bottom is effective and prevents the whole thing riding up, working well when you're on the bike. The gripper on the cuffs, made from the same elastic, is even more enthusiastic, making for a tight opening for your hands. It might be a bit too tight for some, but there's little chance of any wind or rain getting up there.
Made in Portugal and available in either purple or green, the Huez* Starman Wind Jacket is an impressive piece of kit that has stood up well over the few weeks of our testing period. Yes, £125 is a lot of money for a windproof, and there are cheaper options available – Sportful's Hot Pack is £75 and Castelli's Velo Windproof Jacket £80 – but it's on a par with other high end stowables such as Rapha's Pack Jacket at £120 and the Assos sJ.climaSchutz Rainproof Shell at £129. It's whether you want to pay more for the bells and whistles or be satisfied with workmanlike but effective...
I was impressed with how light the Huez* Starman Wind Jacket; it performs well but at a price
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Make and model: Huez* Starman Wind Jacket
Size tested: Medium - Maroon
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?
This is what Huez* say:
"Cut from one of the world's lightest Japanese rip stop fabrics at just 25 g/m�.
YKK Quickburst zip enables the user to quickly open the entire garment without having to pull the zipper all the way down.
The rear has large vents with the dual purpose of allowing warm air to escape and easy access to jersey pockets.
A DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating will provide water resistance in the chance your caught out by the rain.
Our unique Darklight reflective tabs are discreetly placed at the shoulders and side seams of the garment.
Reversible zip pocket on the inside allows the garment to be folded away in to a small parcel."
It achieves the dual purpose of keeping you warm and protected from the wind and to some extent the showers, and offers a bit more. The ability to undo it with one hand could be a deal breaker for some, but plenty will be surprised as to how light the jacket is. On top of that is the ability to keep you warm. Impressive.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
25g/m� rip stop fabric
3M® reflective technology
DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating
YKK Quickburst zip
Despite the flimsy feel it has some good technical elements, and the ripstop material is seriously impressive. Over time I might be concerned as to how well this material will stand up to constant use, but over several weeks it has done the job.
For keeping you warm and protected from the wind, the jacket is very effective. In light rain it will keep you dry enough, but if the temperature rises it can get a little moist on the inside.
The jacket has been heavily used and despite the 'flimsy' feel and perhaps a slight obsession with pulling the zip apart, it has withstood all of this.
At 110g for a windproof jacket this is one of the lightest out there. It tops it off by doing a decent job of protecting you from the elements.
The ripstop material (100% Polyamide) has a very soft feel on the skin.
This is a contentious point. Yes you have some good technical features, great use of material plus some other touches. It is very light but will lighten your wallet considerably too. Can you justify spending £125 on a wind/showerproof jacket? If you can then you'll get yourself a great garment, but this price tag will put some riders off, which is a shame given what you get. Worth saving up for.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The feel, lightness and the ability to pull it open. Perhaps a child-like penchant for playing with this feature, but it is different.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
On some descents the 'wind chatter' from the jacket was a little disappointing but I'll take this given the warmth it provided.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Top notch elements protector with some neat touches and some innovation. Light like you wouldn't believe, but not the cheapest.
Age: 45 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mountain biking, looking to dip my toe into the world of TT