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Verdict: 
Waterproofing that works, a great fit and impressively breathable
Weight: 
385g
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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.

  • Pros: Phenomenal waterproofing, reflective panel on the rear
  • Cons: None

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.

> Buy this online here

First up is the material, Windtex Storm Shield, a waterproof membrane with an inner and outer fabric for protection from the elements.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - chest.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - riding.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - cuff.jpg

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.

> Survival tips for cycling in the rain

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - drop.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - reflective.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - collar.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - pockets.jpg

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.

Lusso Mens Aqua Extreme Black V2 Jacket - back.jpg

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.

Verdict

Waterproofing that works, a great fit and impressively breathable

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: 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?

From Lusso:

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.

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for waterproofing
 
10/10
Rate the jacket for breathability
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
9/10

A realistic fit for the majority of cyclists.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
8/10

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

Nothing.

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.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

10 comments

Avatar
nopants [34 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Hi Stu,

Sounds like you had a great experience with the jacket, but there's one thing I can get my head around: you say that 'water doesn't bead off the Lusso... 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.' Then you say '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.'

This just does not make sense - moisture vapour cannot escape through the material if there is a layer of water in the way. If the water repellant treatment does not work, the jacket cannot breathe when wet.

Perhaps it was sufficiently cold you weren't sweating much?

I can see how it can be very breathable in dry weather, and very waterproof in the wet, but it needs to repel water to be breathable in really wet weather (which is what most of us are looking for in a waterproof jacket).

Am I missing something? Sounds like a great jacket and I'd love to be corrected...

 

Avatar
Richard D [140 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Like the retroreflectives.  But black?  I refuse to wear anything that gives any opportunity to the blind driver to say "sorry mate, I didn't see you".

Avatar
crazy-legs [1023 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes
Richard D wrote:

Like the retroreflectives.  But black?  I refuse to wear anything that gives any opportunity to the blind driver to say "sorry mate, I didn't see you".

I've got a similar jacket that I use a lot in winter when it's dark. The black just lights up like a Christmas tree, it's way more visible than a "hi-viz".

Also - just use lights. I refuse to dress up like an accident in a paint factory, I just use a daybright light which stand out far more than coloured jackets.

Avatar
sammutd88 [91 posts] 6 months ago
1 like
crazy-legs wrote:
Richard D wrote:

Like the retroreflectives.  But black?  I refuse to wear anything that gives any opportunity to the blind driver to say "sorry mate, I didn't see you".

I've got a similar jacket that I use a lot in winter when it's dark. The black just lights up like a Christmas tree, it's way more visible than a "hi-viz".

Also - just use lights. I refuse to dress up like an accident in a paint factory, I just use a daybright light which stand out far more than coloured jackets.

 

Agreed. A lot of my stuff is black, however I don't cheap out on lights, and have spent good money on bright, top quality lights that are far more effective in letting drivers know where I am. The amount of commuters around dusk I see in fluro vests and bright jackets, yet have the weakest little lights and are actually harder to see than the rider in dark colours/black but who have bright lights are astounding. More education on lights and less lairy colours I say. 

Avatar
philhubbard [161 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
nopants wrote:

Hi Stu,

Sounds like you had a great experience with the jacket, but there's one thing I can get my head around: you say that 'water doesn't bead off the Lusso... 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.' Then you say '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.'

This just does not make sense - moisture vapour cannot escape through the material if there is a layer of water in the way. If the water repellant treatment does not work, the jacket cannot breathe when wet.

Perhaps it was sufficiently cold you weren't sweating much?

I can see how it can be very breathable in dry weather, and very waterproof in the wet, but it needs to repel water to be breathable in really wet weather (which is what most of us are looking for in a waterproof jacket).

Am I missing something? Sounds like a great jacket and I'd love to be corrected...

 

 

Depending what fabric you are using the membrane is normally sandwiched between 2 or 3 layers of fabric. It may just be that the outer fabric doesn't have a DWR coating which is normally the thing meaning the water beads off the fabric and this is what the fabric is soaking into.

This will make the jacket slightly less breathable than if it was DWR coated but the coating does normally make a jacket less breathable as well.

Paramo are keen users of this in the walking/mountaneering scene where the fabric will get soaked but you should stay dry

 

 

Avatar
Simon E [3440 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

@Richard D,crazy-legs and sammutd88 - my experience does not mirror your comments. I have been observing the effect of clothing for a long time now and find fluro colours stand out particularly well in low light and dusk; orange is best, followed by yellow and red. Bright lights are good, of course, but even the best light can easily be obscured if a another vehicle gets between a driver and the rider or when other vehicles' lights are bright enough to prevent the driver noticing yours.

Pedestrians often wear black without getting run over every time they leave the house. I'm not a fan of black or muted tones that blend in with the surroundings but the argument that you need bright clothing and/or dazzling lights is being talked up too much as if it's some kind of necessity.

For every poster saying you should do it there are invariably responses saying that they're dressed in hi-viz and use more lights than a Christmas tree but they still got SMIDSY'd so don't get complacent thinking that your big-lumen lights mean you're safe.

By all means dress and use lights as you feel appropriate but it won't help to hector everyone else into doing the same. 

So after all that, what about the qualities of this jacket?

Avatar
sammutd88 [91 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

@Richard D,crazy-legs and sammutd88 - my experience does not mirror your comments. I have been observing the effect of clothing for a long time now and find fluro colours stand out particularly well in low light and dusk; orange is best, followed by yellow and red. Bright lights are good, of course, but even the best light can easily be obscured if a another vehicle gets between a driver and the rider or when other vehicles' lights are bright enough to prevent the driver noticing yours.

Pedestrians often wear black without getting run over every time they leave the house. I'm not a fan of black or muted tones that blend in with the surroundings but the argument that you need bright clothing and/or dazzling lights is being talked up too much as if it's some kind of necessity.

For every poster saying you should do it there are invariably responses saying that they're dressed in hi-viz and use more lights than a Christmas tree but they still got SMIDSY'd so don't get complacent thinking that your big-lumen lights mean you're safe.

By all means dress and use lights as you feel appropriate but it won't help to hector everyone else into doing the same. 

So after all that, what about the qualities of this jacket?

 

Each to their own - I live in a CBD, and drive at dawn and dusk amongst many commuters, and can say as a "driver" that good lights catch my eye more than high viz clothing. Hence I choose to have good lights on my bike when I ride. However as I said - it's just an opinion, everyone has a different one and thats fine.

Avatar
Curly [74 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

I have the Orange version of the Lusso  Aqua Extreme Jacket and its been a god send this terrible winter weather we have been having, Good breathability and plenty thermal for me just with one base layer underneath.  Well done Lusso and keep up the brillant work  1

Avatar
hsiaolc [369 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

@Richard D,crazy-legs and sammutd88 - my experience does not mirror your comments. I have been observing the effect of clothing for a long time now and find fluro colours stand out particularly well in low light and dusk; orange is best, followed by yellow and red. Bright lights are good, of course, but even the best light can easily be obscured if a another vehicle gets between a driver and the rider or when other vehicles' lights are bright enough to prevent the driver noticing yours.

Pedestrians often wear black without getting run over every time they leave the house. I'm not a fan of black or muted tones that blend in with the surroundings but the argument that you need bright clothing and/or dazzling lights is being talked up too much as if it's some kind of necessity.

For every poster saying you should do it there are invariably responses saying that they're dressed in hi-viz and use more lights than a Christmas tree but they still got SMIDSY'd so don't get complacent thinking that your big-lumen lights mean you're safe.

By all means dress and use lights as you feel appropriate but it won't help to hector everyone else into doing the same. 

So after all that, what about the qualities of this jacket?

 

Observing but not really thinking clearly. 

Reflectives are only passive but Lights are proactive. 

If I was a driver at a T junction and pitch back you can wear any colour high vis without light and I wouldnt be able to see you coming perpedicular at me. 

Want to be seen? Lights period. 

 

 

Avatar
Global Nomad [16 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Curly wrote:

I have the Orange version of the Lusso  Aqua Extreme Jacket and its been a god send this terrible winter weather we have been having, Good breathability and plenty thermal for me just with one base layer underneath.  Well done Lusso and keep up the brillant work  1

 

Hi Curly,

 

its not clear from Lusso's website if the orange version has the same reflective back panel and cuffs.