At just £25, the BTwin 500 Women's Waterproof Jacket seems a real bargain. BTwin is the own brand of sports superstore Decathlon. The jacket has a good cut, feels comfortable and has some good features such as the mesh-lined ventilation gussets at the front of the shoulders and on the back. It's a great lightweight, high-vis waterproof to stuff in a jersey pocket or wear on your commute from spring through to autumn.
The 100 per cent polyester fabric keeps the wind off and is remarkably breathable – I noticed a bit of clamminess on the inside of the lower sleeves after riding hard, but no more than with far more expensive jackets such as Endura's Luminite and Altura's NightVision. There's no mesh lining on the inside of the jacket, which keeps the weight and bulk down, and it feels fine against the skin – I'd happily wear it over a T-shirt.
The jacket also scored highly for waterproofness. Given a lack of sufficiently heavy rain, I tested it by standing under a fairly powerful shower for about 10 minutes and was amazed how the water ran off it like the proverbial duck's back. A quick shake and the material was all but dry. And despite aiming the shower at the lower sleeves – an area I often find water soaks through on other jackets – my arms remained dry as a bone, as did the rest of me. Quite impressive given that Decathlon rates it for only two hours' wet weather. The seams are all taped inside too, which prevents water ingress through the stitching.
The fit is fairly flattering without too much excess material, although I had to go for a medium/large (UK 14/EU 42) when usually I'm a small or medium size, in order that the shoulders didn't feel constricted when in the riding position. It's a good length in the body and isn't too short at the front, which I prefer. The drop tail protects your bottom from tyre spray.
The sleeves could be one or two inches longer – they're all right if you ride in an upright position but creep up if you're more stretched out (and exposed wrists are my pet hate). There are narrow elasticated cuffs that are the right tightness, and the hem is slightly elasticated too.
I thought at first the neck was maybe a bit big, but in fact on the bike it felt quite snug, although it gapes slightly at the back of the neck in the riding position. The collar is nice and tall, too.
Aside from the fluoro colour, which should make you immune to SMIDSYs (sorry mate I didn't see you), one of the notable features is the slightly off-centre zip. I'm not sure this makes any difference to comfort but it looks quite nice. There's a storm flap behind it and a garage at the neck to prevent the zip rubbing your skin.
As well as the ventilation gussets there are perforations on the sides below each armhole to let moisture out. Some more holes on the underneath of the sleeves would have aided breathability.
There is a zipped pocket with storm flap at the rear, big enough for wallet, phone and keys, and the jacket packs away into it too. I'd ideally like a front pocket for easy access to keys and train tickets, but you can't complain at this price. For night-time visibility there is a large BTwin logo front and rear, reflective piping on the back and lower sleeves, and a reflective strip all around the hem.
All in all, it's a truly great jacket for the money.
Excellent value lightweight windproof and waterproof jacket
road.cc test report
Make and model: BTwin 500 Women's Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Medium/Large, Fluo Coral Pink
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?
Decathlon says: "A rainproof cycling jacket for women for regular cycling in wet weather (2-hour rides)."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Main fabric: 100% Polyester, Yoke: 100% Polyamide
Waterproof membrane with taped seams
Ventilation gussets with mesh lining both at the front and back
Off-centre zip with storm flap and chin guard
Reflective logos and piping front and rear
Rainproof zip pocket at the back
Guarantee: 2 years
I'd recommend sizing up if anything for sleeve and body length.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash 30 degrees.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The performance and excellent visibility.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
For the super-low price, this really is an exceptional jacket.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax