Based in Manchester where they design and manufacture their kit, the people at Lusso clearly have plenty of experience of the often miserable and very changeable British weather and they have drawn upon on all of this to create the versatile Ladies Aqua Repel jacket, which performs well in a wide range of conditions.
As yet Lusso doesn't do a women's version of the Aqua Repel Extreme V2 that so impressed Stu when he reviewed it, so this jacket sits at the top of Lusso's women's waterproof jacket range. And while it it may not have quite the all-out protection levels of the Extreme V2, it is 15 quid cheaper.
The Ladies Aqua Repel is made from Windtex fabric which Lusso describes as 'lightweight thermal, windproof, water-resistant and waterproof'. It has a four-way stretch to fit and adapt perfectly to the body.
In light rain and showers, water simply beaded and pooled on the fabric before running off, with no signs of anything getting in. Heavier and more persistent downpours proved more of a challenge and I got more than a little damp on occasion. However, it still did a great job at keeping the majority of water out in anything but the most unpleasant of riding conditions.
On windy days, I was impressed at how well the fabric kept the chill out, with the addition of a storm flap on the full length zip ensuring full protection. The fabric also proved incredibly breathable on warmer days. The general temperature regulation and versatility of the jacket is definitely a big plus point.
One thing worth bearing in mind is that the jacket does come up small and you'll almost certainly want to size up. I usually wear a UK size 8 (an XS on the size guide), but the small I tested was definitely the right size. (It's not me in the photos – it's definitely a bit too tight on Tass.)
The four-way stretch fabric offers a close and comfortable fit that isn't at all restrictive. There was a little extra material around the top of my back and shoulders, but I didn't notice this at all while riding. The sleeves are a good length and the cuffs are a comfortable fit, if loose, with room to tuck a pair of gloves underneath should you need them.
Around the front, the jacket is shorter than many, often leaving my jersey sticking out underneath. At the back, though, the long dropped tail keeps you well covered on the bike and offers a great bit of extra protection from spray off the roads.
The high collar offers extra protection and warmth, which is great in principle, but with the jacket fully zipped I found the collar uncomfortably high and preferred to ride with it slightly open.
The three rear pockets are very deep and easy to reach, offering plenty of storage, along with a fourth really well-sized zipped pocket for valuables. Reflective trimming all around the pockets and rear hem ensures plenty of visibility too.
As for value, £135 is about what I would expect to pay for this jacket; it's significantly cheaper than the similar and very popular Castelli Perfetto. That said, the £105 dhb Aeron Rain Defence Long Sleeved Jersey is worth a look. It's not quite as warm or waterproof, but still versatile and good value, especially as it is currently almost half price online.
Very versatile and comfortable jacket for cooler showery days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Ladies Aqua Repel Jacket V2
Size tested: Small
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?
An all-round jacket ideal for changeable conditions.
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.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Lusso says the key features are:
Full Front Zip
4 Rear Pockets (1 Zipped)
Reflective Strips on front and rear
SC9 Hem Gripper
Made in Manchester, UK
Very water resistant; only starts seeping through the seams in more persistent heavy rain.
A little excess material on the back but the stretchy material made for a flattering and very comfortable fit everywhere else.
Comes up quite small so you'll probably find yourself needing to size up. I am an 8 and wore an S despite being an XS on the size guide.
The collar is very high when fully zipped but otherwise it is extremely comfortable.
Not cheap but not bad value; great performance for what you pay.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I experienced no issues after several cool machine washes and water-resistance has remained thus far.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Kept out the elements when needed and extremely comfortable so all in all, great performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its versatility – the fact that it really keeps out the wind chill yet is incredibly breathable when climbing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I found the high collar somewhat uncomfortable when fully zipped.
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
A really versatile jacket that performs well in changeable British weather, for a decent price. It's better for showery days than persistent, heavy rain, though it keeps the majority out. An 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Planet X London Road My best bike is: Bowman Palace:R
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track
Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross. Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.