An update of Endura's previous design, the Pro SL PrimaLoft Jacket II is a luxuriously warm, soft and comfortable top that's fantastic either on its own or beneath further layers. It's windproof, brilliantly breathable and extremely light, despite its slim and easy-to-pack nature. Endura only does two colours – this 'kingfisher' blue or black – but beyond that, it's hard to find fault.
Endura fills this with two types of PrimaLoft, with the bigger chunk being the 'Gold' grade across the front and the upper sleeves. The rear panel is lighter-duty Silver Active, which breathes better and can stretch – two qualities the company says it's improved with this updated jacket. The stretchy lower half of the arms, stretchy side panels and the rear pocket area have no insulation at all, and each armpit has a small triangle of ventilation holes.
All together the insulation accounts for 200g of the jacket, with the remaining 73g being a lightweight (but reasonably robust) outer shell that's impressively windproof, some subtle reflective printing on the neck and pockets, and a plastic-toothed, metal-zippered two-way zip with usefully large grippers.
The Pro SL is extremely soft and comfortable against the skin or over full-sleeve layers, and there's no detectable sense that some parts are insulated and some aren't – it's just warm and cosy on the bike, without ever seeming to build up heat beyond a comfortable level.
Worn as an outer it's also very windproof, making it excellent for cool, dry days. Endura also says that PrimaLoft itself is 'highly water resistant', so if you do get caught in a shower you shouldn't instantly swell up like a cotton ball. It's really not a rain jacket, though – it's far happier beneath a waterproof shell, and its excellent moisture management makes it a great choice of mid layer too.
For the first few (cold, wet, windy) rides with it beneath a water-resistant softshell, I was convinced the Pro SL was keeping me toasty warm without ever building up humidity or even real sweat. I felt both warm and dry. However, afterwards I found my baselayer absolutely soaked. It was actually quite strange – this is the first top I've ever used, either on or off-road, that is so warm and yet so good at dispersing vapour it's fooled me into thinking I was dry.
So, while you might sweat in this, it never feels too hot or oppressively humid, even when it's hidden beneath further layers. Your core just stays warm and comfy, which is in itself luxurious on nasty winter rides.
As an outer, the fabric of the three pockets is pretty thin and tight, but there's a good bit of stretch and the pockets narrow towards the opening for extra security.
There's also a zipped opening on the side of the righthand pocket, which swallows even large phones easily.
The cut is slim and very well fitted, with good length in the sleeves and a high, warm neck (complete with zip garage), while elasticated side panels with silicone grippers keep the lower edges in place.
The front hem could sit just a tiny bit lower for me, but the rear is just right and I never had issues with any of it when on the bike.
Endura offers six sizes, and the medium I tested came up exactly as expected.
There are cheaper ways of staying warm, but far more expensive ones too – and I'd argue that the Pro SL's price is good for the exceptional performance.
If you've got cash splashing about like rain this winter, there's always Gore's C5 Infinium Thermo jacket, which is soft-lined, warm and (mostly) waterproof to boot, though the downside is a £220 price ticket.
Rapha goes one better with its Pro Team insulated jacket, which uses Gore-Tex (the fully waterproof version rather than the mostly waterproof Infinium mix) and Polartec Alpha insulation to create serious winter protection, though the downside is an even bigger, £320 price ticket.
Closer in price but still more expensive are the likes of Lusso's Aqua Pro Extreme softshell at £165, which matches the Pro SL in many ways but at 444g is considerably heavier and less packable – as are most softshells – and Sportful's Bodyfit Pro, also £165, which Stu loved.
The Pro SL PrimaLoft II offers fantastic warmth for its low weight, is easy to stuff into a pocket and is versatile as either an outer or mid layer. It's also fantastically soft and comfortable, with a build quality to match its lovely feel. It's not cheap – especially as you'll still need a dedicated waterproof outer – but it's good enough to make grim winter rides palpably less unpleasant, and for that it's worth every penny.
Very warm yet breathable and light, this fantastic jacket is a versatile hint of luxury on winter rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Pro Primaloft Jacket II
Size tested: Medium
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?
Endura says: "Building on the success of the original Pro SL PrimaLoft® Jacket, this updated version has improved breathability and stretch panels for an even better fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
The company list these aspects:
-Lightweight, windproof shell panels with PrimaLoft® GOLD insulation
-Stretch panels on underarm and back for unrestricted movement
-Triple rear pocket system with zipped security pocket
-Lightweight internal hem elastic with silicone gripper
-Ventilation via underarm perforations
-Clean bonded hem
-Subtle reflective details
Always cosily warm, never humid. Lush.
Feels easily up to normal use, but slinky fabric probably wouldn't take kindly to crashes.
Expels vapour so well that even serious sweat never leads to a build-up of humidity.
Slim and well judged.
Extremely light for the level of warmth.
There are cheaper ways of staying warm, but the Pro SL's price isn't actually that high for the exceptional performance. It compares well against similar offerings from Sportful, Lusso and Gore, and is definitely worth the money.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Takes cool washes without complaint.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Warmth, comfort, fit, versatility, windproofing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The front hem could be a tiny bit longer (though I do have a relatively long torso).
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Sportful's Bodyfit Pro is £165, as is Lusso's Aqua Pro Extreme, while Gore's C5 Infinium Thermo is £220 and Rapha's Pro Team insulated jacket is £320 (though you do get full waterproofing there).
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
Very light for its warmth, easily packable, good as either an outer or mid layer, very breathable, luxuriously soft... it feels nicer and works better than most jackets I've worn, and totally deserving of a nine.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking