Endura's Luminite II jacket has been around a few seasons now and is, in my view, one of the better budget options for commuting and winter training. However, it does face stiff competition from continually improving store brands.
In technical terms, we have a polyester 2.5-layer laminate shell, which works to the same principle as Gore-Tex, albeit less efficiently. The outer layer is completely waterproof, with sealed seams, while still allowing the inner to traffic rider-generated heat outwards.
Overall performance is good, and I've felt extremely comfortable on 20-mile round trips at a steady 18-20mph in temperatures between 2 and 10°C. Wearing it over two polyester layers, I could feel icy winds and rain swirling outside, while remaining completely temperate.
The front zip has a double storm flap to help keep out the weather, and the long back and decent cut ensured that the whole jacket didn't flutter like the proverbial builder's tarp when hurtling down steep descents.
More sophisticated fabrics steal a notable march when temperatures and tempos climb, though. At 23mph for the best part of 50 minutes on a milder morning, breathability was struggling to keep pace, resulting in some clamminess around the armpits and lower back. As long as conditions aren't too wild, though, dropping the zipper a few inches will retain a dry inner climate.
Our Hi-Viz Green option is more subtle than the yellow, but there's a black version available too if you wanted something more 'civilian'. All three feature acres of sensibly positioned Scotchlite that burst into life under vehicle and street lighting.
Integrating LEDs into clothing has been a quietly popular trend in recent years, though some are still better designed than others. This version – the light incorporated into the rear pocket – is reckoned eight times more powerful than its predecessors, and has three flashing modes.
The integral lens-cum-switch is easily operated with gloved hands, though it does require a definite prod. Flashing modes seem visible to approximately 150m on murky days, and I've managed 37hrs 49mins from the original CR2032 cell in these settings; that's 12hrs 1min short of the 50hrs quoted, but in fairness, there's no telling how fresh the battery was.
Detailing elsewhere is pretty good too and I was pleased to discover nelson and hip pockets in addition to the rear one with the light. The former gulps small-to-medium smartphones or mini CSC/large zoom compact cameras. The latter provides parking space for hands when mooching about sans bike, and the cut stops your keys from clouting your knees when you're belting along. There's also that increasingly obligatory headphone port.
Likeable technical jacket for commuting and general riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Luminite II Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Hi-Viz Green
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Endura describes the Luminite II jacket as a "commuter essential". I'd generally agree with that, but it's also a good budget option for general riding and touring.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Fully seam-sealed compact 2.5-layer waterproof, breathable fabric
Emblazoned with high visibility 360 degree reflective safety chevrons
Luminite LED light unit integrated into the rear pocket for additional security 3 flash phase options
Zipped chest and handwarmer pockets
Rear zipper pocket with storm flap
Adjustable neck and hem cords concealed in front pockets
Bonded and laser cut double storm flap on centre zip
Cosy-touch lining in handwarmer pockets and inner collar
Reflective Velcro cuff adjusters
Sturdy and impervious to the elements.
Good all-round performer, although it faces stiff competition from in-house superstore brands.
Good compared with other polyesters, though it doesn't match that of Gore-Tex and similar top flight materials.
Endura has a reputation for being quite generous, hence medium was bang on for my 181cm 70kg frame.
Good by price point and polyester standards.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward so long as you take the usual precautions. Remove the LED, avoid fabric conditioners and anything else that will strip the technical properties and stick to 30-degree cycles.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall the Endura Luminite II jacket has proved a well-equipped and comfortable jacket for commuting and general riding, especially on really cold, wet rides. Plentiful pockets mean easy segregation of tech, keys and tools without feeling over-burdened. Climate control and moisture management are reasonable, although there's that familiar lag before the fibres commence wicking.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good fit, cut, nice colour, plentiful pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Nothing given the design brief, although moisture management less effective at higher speeds in milder weather.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Possibly
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, for commuting and general riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)