Scott's Helium Plus is a very good jacket for the cold weather, offering windproof insulation and water resistance in an athletic cut.
The Helium Plus is made mostly of a soft Windstopper material from technical fabric-specialists Gore. It justifies its name by preventing cold air getting through while the inner face is Superroubaix soft, fleecy, deep pile polyester that provides a whole lot of warmth.
There's a Windstopper flap behind the full-length camlock zip while a drawcord around the waist and Velcro tabs at the wrists give you some extra control over the internal atmosphere. The Velcro hooks can catch on some types of gloves – woollen ones, for instance – and snag the Windstopper fabric too, so you need to be careful here. That's why I don't like using the stuff; I have an inability to be careful. But for the added adjustability, it's still a good idea.
The cut is certainly slim without much excess. If the same can't be said about you, a generous amount of crossways stretch in the fabric provides some allowance. You get a high, close-fitting neck, of course, and an extended tail to keep your butt covered.
The only section of the Helium Plus that's not made from Windstopper is the mid-back panel which is a stretchy Thermoair (polyester/polyamide/elastane) fabric. The Windstopper fabric is pretty breathable but this material lets more of your sweat out. It's not windproof but it doesn't really need to be back there.
I've ridden on wet roads a lot in this and it has kept me dry. The Windstopper fabric is highly water resistant but the Helium Plus isn't waterproof. It copes fine when there's damp in the air – fog, drizzle, stuff like that – but it's not designed to handle full-on rain.
There's just one pocket and it's a zipped one in the lower back that's big enough to take your keys and a wallet – as long as it's not bursting with cash. There's also a flap back there so you can get your hand inside to delve around in your jersey pockets.
The Helium Plus comes in just this colour so it's not the most conspicuous jacket on dull days. There's quite a bit of reflective trim, though, especially at the back, which is really noticeable when lights catch it at night.
This is a really warm jacket. You probably won't want to wear it unless the temperature is well down into single figures Celcius. My only real criticism on that front is that there are no vents that you can open if the sun comes out, you reach a big hill, or someone on your group ride decides it's time to hit the after burners. Of course, you've got that front zip but sometimes it's useful to have vents on the sides or under the sleeves too. Without them, this jacket doesn't have quite the temperature range of some of its rivals.
Comfortable Windstopper jacket for keeping you warm in the cold weather
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Make and model: Scott Helium Plus AS Windstopper Jacket
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product 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?
Scott don't do a write up on this product but they list these features:
"Front, sleeves upper and lower center back in Windstopper softshell for best performance
Middle center back in Thermoair for climate control
Full center front zipper with windstopper flap inside
Back opening to reach jersey pockets underneath
Small zipped side pocket for storage
Bottom hem cord adjustment system
Velcro adjustment at bottom sleeve
Reflective tape front & back for increased visibility
Windstopper softshell and Termoair fabric for high performance"
It's a soft windproof jacket for keeping sporty types warm in cold weather.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Windstopper fabric is completely windproof and it'll stay that way. It's highly water resistant too.
The Windstopper fabric is excellent, the YKK zip is good, and the build-quality is top notch
Scott say this is a jacket for use from -1C to 7C. In that temperature range this kept me perfectly warm.
Windstopper is durable. It should last for ages.
Very warm and comfortable. Extra vents might help in milder temperatures.
Soft Windstopper jackets are never cheap but the price here is pretty good considering the materials and the quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The warmth and the slim cut.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I think underarm zips would add to the performance
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.