The iconic Parka jacket was born in the 1960s and has been through the odd renaissance or two since then. More often thought of as the uniform of the mod, the swaggering Mancunian, or Kenny off South Park, it's rarely thought of as the ideal jacket for cycling. The Lumo Regents Parka has the features, fit and fabric to change that – though at some cost.
Lumo first jumped into our consciousness about a year ago when we featured its Kickstarter campaign on road.cc, and this is the second piece of the company's clothing we've had a chance to get our hands on from its debut 'London Collection' range. Last month I reviewed the Herne Hill Harrington Jacket, and I was very impressed. Now it's the turn of its bigger (and considerably pricier) sibling.
As you'd expect, the style of the jacket is that of a classic Parka. All the typical hallmarks are present and correct: hood, dropped hem, minimal features, and a relaxed fit. To all intents and purposes it doesn't look like any cycling jacket out there on the market, but that's the point – it's not meant to. It's what's under the bonnet that counts and this jacket certainly has a few tricks up its well-thought-out sleeves, including the showpiece (and backbone of the Lumo range): the integrated lights system.
At night the Regents Parka goes from understated to 'LOOK AT ME' with the flick of a switch. The front placket and rear hem each feature a set of 14 4-lumen LEDs, white on the front and red on the rear. While they're switched off the lights are almost completely invisible; they just look like a section of piping in an almost identical colour to the main jacket. Once activated they become a real attention grabber, in a good way.
There are two modes to choose from, toggled with a simple press of a button: high energy pulse and a low energy flash, though no steady mode. They'll definitely get you noticed in traffic, though they aren't an alternative to a set of lights, more an enhancement.
The lights are powered by a small lithium polymer battery that sits neatly in a discreet pocket in the inside front panel of the jacket. This is plugged into a small lead that's sewn into the body of the jacket. The battery is small and light, and barely noticeable when you're carrying it around. It features a single large button that activates the lights as well as toggling between the modes.
Getting it in and out of its pouch can be a faff, but it's easy enough to press the button through the fabric of the coat once you get used to it. The battery life is between 6 and 14 hours depending on which modes you're using, and it's got a simple USB charger, ideal for plugging in at your desk ready for the ride home. The LEDs are waterproof and washable too, so no need to worry about getting caught in the rain.
The cut of the jacket is relaxed – it's designed to be worn over regular clothing but has enough give in it that it works well on the bike too. There's an elasticated panel across the shoulders that gives it some flexibility. The sleeves are cut long enough and with a scallop shape so they cover the top of your wrists when you're holding the handlebar, and they also have an elasticated Lycra inner cuff that keeps the wintry elements at bay.
The jacket also has a peaked hood which can be handy, but isn't much use if you're wearing a helmet. It's actually a bit more considered than your run of the mill hood as the edges are sculpted to give that extra bit of peripheral vision.
The collar is pretty snug for wintry rides. It does up high around the neck and is lined with a fleecy material so it's soft against the skin.
The front placket snaps shut with a magnetic closure and there are drawstrings if you want to pull it in tighter around your chin.
The Parka styling of the jacket dictates that the hem is dropped pretty low when you're off the bike, but this works well on the bike too, keeping your back well covered and any wintry gusts firmly locked out.
Lumo claims that the jacket is designed for colder conditions, its optimum temperature range between -5 and 15°C. This feels about right, though it can get a bit warm into double figures – how warm depends on the speed and topography of your ride, of course.
The main material used in the jacket is 'Schoeller® c_change', which combines a wool exterior with a weather proof membrane. It makes for a pretty sturdy barrier against the elements. The fabric is quoted as being able to withstand 10,000mm of water in a static column test, which means that to all intents and purposes it's fully waterproof unless subjected to very high pressures, but the jacket itself can't be classed as waterproof because of the untaped seams. In the real world it performs really well in the wet – nothing penetrated the fabric, even in some pretty miserable conditions. It's windproof too, so you're fully wrapped up against the winter.
Breathability is also impressive. Although it's quite a heavy jacket and gives a first impression that it will be pretty warm to ride in, it regulates body temperature surprisingly well. A large open vent across the back is a pretty simple solution to the problem, but this is combined with the Schoeller membrane, which does the clever bits. The c_change technology adapts according to the conditions: during physical activity when things start to heat up, the membrane opens to release heat and body moisture, but when things cool down the membrane closes up to retain heat. To put a more accurate measurement on the jacket's breathability performance, a materials Ret value tells you how breathable it is; 0-6 is considered 'extremely breathable' and the Regents Parka comes in at 2. Pretty impressive.
The jacket has a couple of zippered hand warmer pockets with rain flaps to add a bit of extra protection against the elements, and inside there's a zipped chest pocket. On the back there's a rear pocket with a magnetic closure that's angled perfectly for reaching into even, if you're steady enough, while you're riding.
There are small reflective tabs on the cuffs and the rear pocket, but they are pretty small and are eclipsed by the power of the lights when activated. More a back-up plan if your battery were to fail on you mid-ride.
Off the bike the jacket is pretty understated, in a good way. There's nothing about it that would suggest 'cycling' to the untrained eye. It's a Parka that could easily be donned by a Gallagher brother without a second thought. The simple colour and styling, combined with the slight flashes of the Lumo signature polka dots on the placket and pocket flaps, is sophisticated and tastefully done. The jacket is as at home on the high street or in the pub as it is flying along at 20mph on a frantic cycle across town.
The Regents Parka is available in just the one colour, and in both men's and women's cuts. Men's sizing ranges from XS (36in chest) up to XL (46in chest), and the women's are XS (size 6) up to XL (size 16).
The final hurdle the jacket has to clear is the price, and this is where the Regents Parka takes a tumble. At £400 it's up there with one of the most expensive single items of clothing we've reviewed on road.cc, and certainly raised a few eyebrows around the office. It's a big jump from the £250 Herne Hill Harrington that we reviewed previously. For that extra cash you're getting: more jacket (it's bigger and thicker), and more impressive and advanced material technology, but that's about it. It's certainly a jacket that's going to stand the test of time and the styling is pretty timeless, but nonetheless £400 is a massive outlay and it's hard to find a way to justify it. You do get free delivery and returns, but I think you'd kind of expect that.
The silver lining on this considerably expensive cloud is that the jacket actually qualifies for the government's cycle to work scheme. It comes under the 'reflective clothing or safety equipment' remit of the scheme. Depending on whether your employer is signed up and your tax rate, you could save up to 42 per cent on the rrp, which might just sugar the pill a bit.
A superb take on a mod classic with some great cycling twists and a price tag to make you wince
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lumo Regents Parka jacket
Size tested: Medium, Blue/Grey
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?
The Regents Parka is a urban cycling jacket modelled on the 1960s Parka jacket.
Lumo says: "A futuristic adaption of the 1960's classic mod Parka, Designed for the eye, built for the bike"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Scalloped fitted hood to enable peripheral vision
- Zipped closure internal and external pockets
- Back pocket with magnet closure for easy access whilst riding ]
- Dropped hem to keep you covered on the bike
- Reflective trims on back pocket and cuffs for additional visibility
- Elasticated shoulder panels for added flex
- Fleece lined collar
- Vented back for maximum breathability
- Sculpted outer cuffs with Lycra® inner cuffs for wind proofing
- Additional sleeve length
- 14x 4 Lumen LED light strips running vertically down the front centre and also horizontally across the rear hem of the jacket
- Two settings: high energy pulse and low energy flash
- USB rechargeable with connector lead
- 6 - 14 hour operation time, with battery life indicator
- LEDS are fully waterproof and washable
- 1100mAh 3.7v lithium polymer battery unit
- Schoeller® c_change™ fabric
- Waterproof - Water column test result of >10,000 mm
- Highly breathable - MVTR value: 10,000 g/m /24h
- RET value: < 2
Well made with good quality fabrics and features, built to last.
Excellent on and off the bike. Stood up well against the elements and delivered on all it offers. The lights are its showpiece feature and they work excellently.
Really good during the review period, very little sign of wear and tear.
It's classed as water resistant rather than waterproof, due to the untaped seams and vents. It stood up well even in persistent rain.
Appearances can be deceptive, looks like it will be a really warm jacket to ride in but it's surprisingly breathable.
The fit is just right, relaxed enough to wear a few layers underneath, sleeves and hem are long enough to stay covered when you're in the saddle.
Quite weighty for a jacket to ride in, but it's made for the winter months so it's to be expected.
It's a highly specced jacket with a unique feature and uses some great material technology...but the £400 price tag is still hard to justify. It's £150 more than the other jacket in the same range, but that extra value doesn't quite add up.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fairly easy, it's hand wash only as the lights won't stand up to the vigours of a washing machine.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, perfect for transferring between being on the bike and off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The lights work brilliantly, as does the material technology.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Maybe, if it was in a sale, or slightly cheaper.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, a rich friend.
Use this box to explain your score
The Lumo Regents Parka jacket performs really well, has some great features and looks good on and off the bike. It would be a 9 if it wasn't for the value aspect.
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.