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Madison's Sportive Stratos Showerproof Jacket is one of those ultra-thin yet surprisingly rugged micro models designed to pack unobtrusively into jersey pockets, and to offer decent defence against rain and chill when required. It does the job very nicely too.
A penny shy of £50 isn't cheap for what is essentially a rip-stop polyester shell, though it is well made and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This basically covers the original purchaser against manufacturing defects, not damage resultant from a nasty spill.
Talking of which, I've bombed along bridlepaths with no signs of scarring despite some disconcerting scrapes with prickly foliage, so durability seems on par with some jackets costing twice as much.
The cut is precise, so there's no risk of it fluttering like a builder's tarp when it's blowing a gale, and our medium had just enough room for a baselayer and jersey-cum-jacket without feeling restrictive.
Elasticated hem and cuffs are nicely executed, preventing the tail from riding up after long periods hunkering low on the drops as well as stopping wet, gusty stuff from blowing inside.
Climate control is good, the fabric providing enough warmth to ward off chills – I'm talking milder days, not sub-zero – but still allowing moisture to escape pretty convincingly. It took about 40 minutes of riding at 18mph before the misty damp became apparent around the usual areas – armpits, chest and lower back – but this quickly dissipates.
Showerproofing isn't bad, though in terms of being genuinely dry, we are talking heavy, persistent drizzle. It'll hold out short, sharp deluges for around 15 minutes, and any dampness evaporates in around the same timescale. Personally, I find this preferable to old school "condom" jackets that kept Mother Nature out but left you sweating like the proverbial pig.
Madison has opted for a design that folds into itself via the surprisingly roomy rear pocket, rather than a separate little bag. The bags are great, but invariably seem to get buried by my mother's spaniel or eaten by the washing machine, or otherwise vanish, so using the pocket perhaps makes more sense.
There's just enough room in this pocket for a spare tube, CO2 inflator, small mini pump, multi tool and even a banana, although given the thin fabric, they're better distributed in jersey pockets, otherwise they bound around annoyingly. The long elasticated zipper tag does make accessing it an absolute doddle even in gloved hands.
Generous reflective patterns on the rear keep you on the radar, and as well as our red version there are black and white options should you prefer.
Versatile and well-designed micro-jacket jacket with few faults
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Sportive Stratos Showerproof Jacket
Size tested: Red
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?
Madison says: "When it comes to lightweight protection from the elements the Madison Stratos jacket sets the standard."
Not sure it necessarily sets the standard, but a competent lightweight shell nonetheless.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made from a lightweight Ripstop Polyester that is both wind and showerproof with 4-way stretch waterproof panels in key areas to allow freedom of movement
Articulated and pre-curved body and arms give a superb on bike fit
The single zippered rear pocket is large enough to store all of your essential items and doubles up as a stow pocket when the jacket is not needed
Reflective prints ensure good night time visibility
Lycra bound cuffs and elasticated silicone hem help keep the elements out and the jacket firmly in place
Limited lifetime warranty
Maintains a relatively dry, ambient inner climate and keeps the wind locked outside.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Madison Pac-It Showerproof Jacket fits the wind and water repelling design brief very well. Persistent showery rain made no impression and it dries pretty swiftly following more serious soakings.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit and with some very nice features/detailing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, though £40 is pretty much my limit for a micro-type jacket.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Worth considering.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good quality micro-jacket that fits nicely while repelling the elements very convincingly. Performance is easily on par with models I've used costing twice the price, but some store branded versions represent better value.
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)