I think I've found one of the best waterproof jackets on the market. Made right here in the UK, in Manchester, the Lusso Aqua Extreme Repel Jacket V2 keeps serious rain out without creating that boil in the bag sensation found with many others on the market. A huge amount of reflective detailing makes this jacket perfect for night rides too.
If you click back through the review section you can follow the evolution of the Aqua jacket, with the Repel version being tested in 2016 before things got Extreme in 2017. Well, for 2018 things have got even better with a full redesign.
First up is the material, Windtex Storm Shield, a waterproof membrane with an inner and outer fabric for protection from the elements.
When testing most kit there is always one ride that really defines a product, the one you always remember. Wearing the Aqua Extreme I had a round trip to the office for a bike swap to contend with which, with a little detour to get some miles in, would take just over three hours. Two and a half of which were in heavy rain and a temperature a few degrees above freezing.
Unlike many materials found on waterproof garments with various coatings, water doesn't bead off the Lusso, something that as soon as I started riding in the rain I was concerned about. The fabric quickly looks sodden and I was waiting for that feeling of the rain starting to seep though but it never came. The membrane clearly does its job very well indeed.
The return ride from the office was into a full-on headwind; the rain was coming down not necessarily hard but steady enough to soak my gloved hands, tights and shoes. I like a ride in extreme conditions but this was just downright miserable.
Even with the lack of taped seams, though, nothing was getting through. It was noticeable how dry my arms and back were.
I was warm too, while the rest of my body was taking a bit of a battering from the cold temperatures.
For such a waterproof jacket, the Aqua Extreme is surprisingly breathable. That ride home, even with the full-on effort into the wind, left me barely more than moist when I removed the jacket indoors.
Lusso gives a temperature rating of 0°C to 16°C which I'd say is, for me anyway, optimistic at the top end. Maybe 10°C tops before I found it a bit overwhelmed.
Apart from the fabric, one of the key upgrades is the longer tail flap, much longer than you find on the majority of jackets. It really works, covering your bum right down to the saddle. When riding through a cold puddle you don't get that refreshing blast on your rear end and if you are riding without mudguards it makes a massive difference.
Like the Termico bibtights I recently tested, the Aqua Extreme uses the same reflective detailing woven into the back panel of the jacket. It's subtle during the day but really stands out in the dark in car headlights especially when paired with the reflective piping across the top of the pockets, the logos and that found beneath the storage.
The front isn't forgotten either, with reflective strips, shoulder detailing and cuffs using the same method as the rear panels.
The jacket also has a high neck to keep the weather out, plus the zip tucks into a neat garage to stop irritation.
Round the back you get four pockets, the traditional three plus an extra zipped valuables one to store keys, cash and the like. It isn't lined so if you're going to keep your phone in it, you might want to add a little extra protection.
The pockets are plenty deep enough and the fabric is taut enough to stop any sag or bouncing. I had no issues with anything escaping.
When it comes to the cut, the Aqua Extreme gets the thumbs up too. It's close to stop any flapping in the wind but you don't need to be race fit for it to look good on you. I suppose being designed and manufactured in Manchester guarantees a true British sizing.
When it comes to value, £150 is a big outlay for a single piece of clothing but to be honest we've seen windproof jackets for nearly that much, and it holds its own against other waterproofs I've tested. All of them have shown their limitations eventually, but the Lusso keeps on surprising.
Three and a half years ago I tested the POC Essential and it's still my go-to waterproof; it's immense but the Lusso knocks it into a cocked hat.
More recently we've tried out the Gore Power jacket, which looks to achieve a lot of what the Lusso does when it comes to waterproofing but for a higher price, although it is obviously packable whereas the Aqua Extreme isn't.
Overall, considering the quality, the cut and more importantly the waterproofing of the Lusso, I can't think of a better piece of clothing that I've tested in the wind or rain.
Waterproofing that works, a great fit and impressively breathable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Repel V2 Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Lusso says, "The award winning Aqua Repel Jacket has been redesigned for 2018 with a new fabric which has improved breathability and water repellency. The Jacket also has a new thermal lining which has improved moisture transfer capabilities and we have added a 360° refelctive for added safety & security."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Windtex Storm Shield Fabric which is a lightweight thermal, windproof, water repellent and waterproof.
Designed with 4-way stretch that fits and adapts perfectly to the body.
Breathability: >10,000gr/m2 x 24hr
Water Column: 10,000mm guaranteed
Temperature range 0°c to 16°c
* Full Front Zip
* Storm Flap
* Long Tail
* 4 Rear Pockets (1 Zipped)
* Reflective hem
* Reflective Strips on front and rear
* Available in Black and Italian Blue
* Made in Manchester, UK.
A realistic fit for the majority of cyclists.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple machine or hand wash at 30 degrees brings things up clean and tidy.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a waterproof it can't be faulted.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its performance against the elements.
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 overall score
For its waterproofing and breathability I can't criticise the Aqua Extreme, plus the quality is great, as is the fit. It's exceptional. If I scored it 9 that would put it on par with the Poc and the previous iteration and it's better, so I'm going for full marks. There's nothing I can criticise it on.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!