If you commute by bike over the winter months, you'll know it can get pretty nippy either end of a working day, as well as dark. It an also be chilly at lunchtime, when you might be walking to the sandwich bar or around the shops. To help you cope with the conditions, you need a jacket that'll keep you toasty and visible on the bike, cosy and warm off. Combining warmth with a smattering of other handy cycling features, the Endura Urban FlipJak Reversible Jacket is the perfect candidate for the job.
The FlipJak is a lightweight, insulated, reversible jacket designed for everyday use in chilly climates, on or off the bike. It's an all-occasions kind of jacket, and that's certainly been proven in the month or so of testing. It's perfect for a stroll around the shops, walking the dog, or an early morning two-wheeled blast through town.
The reversible aspect of the FlipJak is its key feature. The black side is low-key and minimal for blending into the crowd, but flip it and the retina-scorching high-vis green could probably be spotted from space. To add to the daytime high visibility there are also several flashes of reflective detailing, so it's just as visible at night.
The cut is somewhere between slim and relaxed – loose enough that you can layer up underneath without it being restricting, but not so much that it's billowing about in the breeze as you're cycling along. The sleeves are cut slightly longer and the cuffs are gently elasticated, so your wrists stay covered when you're holding the bar. The hem is dropped ever so slightly at the back and this also has the same elasticated band, keeping it snug around you without it being so tight that it rides up.
The collar zips up high and, with the integral hood, wraps snugly around the neck. The edging of the collar and hood features the elasticated trim, too, which helps to block out cold breezes. One noticeable omission is a zip garage, something you'd expect on a jacket like this, so if you're of a bearded persuasion you might have a few painful incidents.
There's not a smart fabric or an organic weave in sight on the FlipJak, it's made of good old polyester inside and out, trusty, dependable and hardy. Just don't stand too close to that bonfire.
It's insulated with Primaloft, a highly insulating microfibre synthetic material. It works brilliantly at keeping heat in on cold mornings on the bike, but wear it in anything above single figures and you might get a bit too warm. The Primaloft is really light and packs down pretty tightly, so if the mercury takes an unexpected rise then it's not too much trouble to stuff it into a bag.
The jacket does have breathable properties, but to be honest it does get a bit too warm in hotter weather, and realistically you're only going to be grabbing this jacket on properly cold days.
It performs pretty well when it comes to wind resistance, keeping cold draughts at bay when combined with a couple of other layers. It also has a degree of water resistance, but it's pretty minimal; it stands up to getting caught in a light shower, but this isn't the jacket to choose to head out in a monsoon. It's ideal for cold, crisp, dry mornings.
When wearing the jacket black side out you have two front hand warmer pockets, both of which are zippable, and a zipped chest pocket whether you're wearing it green or black, for easy access when you're riding. The zips can occasionally catch on the polyester on the inside of the pockets – and this can also happen on the main jacket zip – which can be a bit annoying, but it's only really a minor snag (sorry).
A hood can be a contentious issue on a cycling jacket, but as this is more of an 'all-occasions' jacket it's justified. It's not much use on the bike if you wear a helmet – it's not quite large enough to stretch over a lid and it's a bit too bulky to wear under one.
Endura claims its Urban range of clothing is 'Minimal, detailed, confident, yet supremely practical and versatile, without being elitist'. It's hard to argue with this statement, it meets all of these criteria with ease.
It also states: 'The Endura Urban Riding collection is the antithesis of the stock Hi-Viz and Black commuter uniform'... Ahem. This jacket must be the exception to the rule then.
The jacket is available in two colour options: black and high-vis, and ocean (that's blue to you and me) and high-vis. The sizing ranges from XS-XXL, or 35-47in chest.
The rrp of £99.99 falls about where you'd expect for this sort of jacket. There are definitely more expensive options on the market, such as Vulpine's impressive £169 offering that we reviewed at the start of November. But there are good designs at the opposite end of the scale too: BTwin's Tilt 500 shares many of the features of the FlipJak and is an outright bargain at just £39.99 – if you can find it in stock anywhere!
An excellent lightweight insulated jacket with a handy split personality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Urban FlipJak Reversible Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black/Lime Green
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 Endura Urban FlipJak Reversible jacket is an insulated, lightweight coat aimed at the commuting and urban cyclist.
Endura says: "Minimal, detailed, confident, yet supremely practical and versatile, without being elitist. The Endura Urban Riding collection is styled to look as great off the bike, as it works on the bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Reversible construction with in your face hi-vis option
- Lightweight windproof, showerproof shell with PrimaLoft® insulation
- Highly reflective print details and logos
- Zipped handwarmer and chest pockets
Well made, a minimal and simple design executed well.
Worked really well at keeping me warm on frosty morning rides across town. The Primaloft insulation does its job and the jacket is really light and flexible.
Shown no signs of wear and tear over the testing process, but the zip occasionally caught on the material which could be a problem over time.
Really nice and light.
Superbly comfortable, but only if you're wearing it within its best temperature range; anything into double figures on the thermometer and you'll start to cook.
This falls about where you'd expect for a jacket like this, there are both cheaper and more expensive options available on the market. Given its performance, it's well worth its price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed really well on cold, crisp commutes and has recently been the jacket of choice for all occasions whether it's for activities on or off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The style, its comfort, and the fact it can be worn in everyday life without looking out of place.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact the zip tended to catch on occasions and the lack of a zip garage, although this is a minor quibble.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, definitely.
Use this box to explain your score
The Endura FlipJack performed really well, and its price, comfort and versatility make for a very good jacket. There's nothing 'exceptional' about it, but with a few minor tweaks it could well be up there.
About the tester
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
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: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.