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Campagnolo clothing is divided into three main types - Challenge, Tech-Motion and Heritage - and this Flame 50/50 jacket comes in the Challenge department, meaning it's designed for winter weather conditions. But for this jacket, that means winter conditions that aren't too wet and not totally freezing either.
In other words, the Flame is great for spring and autumn as well. It's certainly windproof and it's fairly water-resistant, but it's not built for arctic or monsoon conditions - although you might not want to wear a stylish piece of kit like this in dirty weather anyway.
The jacket is made from two main types of material - presumably the source of the '50/50' suffix in its full name. The front panels, arms and shoulder-tops are a stretchy fabric called Thermo Textran which has windproofing and insulation properties, while the back panel is thick Lycra. The lining also has thermal properties, and there's a water-resistant membrane in there too.
With three layers and all this thermal insulation going on, you might think the Flame would be heavy and bulky, but it isn't. It's remarkably light to wear, and the stretchy material makes it close fitting but very flexible and comfortable all over. It's also very breathable, especially because the windproof material is on the front of the jacket where you need it most, so it doesn't get too clammy inside.
I tested the jacket on several rides through the winter. For days when the temperature was going down towards zero, I wore it with a long sleeve cold-weather base layer and short-sleeve racing jersey underneath, and this package kept me nice and warm. For colder or windier conditions, I would have needed a slightly thicker jersey as my mid-layer underneath the Flame.
In spring conditions, a long sleeve base layer was just about enough under the jacket. I have thin blood though, so even when the weather was a bit warmer I had a think base layer and a thin jersey under this jacket. Hardier riders will be fine with just one layer underneath.
Riding in April showers, the Flame kept most of the water at bay, and I remained warm inside. I didn't test this jacket in any storms, as it's not designed for those conditions, and doesn't claim to be waterproof.
On sizing, our test model was a large, with a comfortably snug fit around the body, with arms plenty long enough, and the back of the jacket lower than the front, with a scalloped hem. This means the jacket easily covers the rear-end, even when riding on the drops, while the front doesn't ruck up too much.
The jacket's main features include large internal cuffs with a thumb-hole to ensure the sleeves don't ride up your arms, and keep the gap between jacket and gloves securely closed. There's also a full-length zip, with a nice little cover to keep the zipper from scratching your neck when fully done up - although there isn't one on the base of the zip to stop it scratching on your tights fabric - which you might expect on a premium product like this.
There are three back pockets (the right-hand one with an additional external zipped pocket, and the left-hand one with an additional internal pocket held fast with Velcro - perfect for a phone), but these present a couple of problems. First, the tops of the back pockets are not elasticated, so they hang open a bit, meaning stuff inside is not held as firmly as I'd like. Second, I found them a bit too low. Of course the jacket itself needs to be long, but it would be much more comfortable if the pockets were slightly higher so the stuff inside was held across the small of the back, rather than hanging down over the rear end. A simple extra seam, so the bottom of the pocket was, say, two inches above the bottom of the jacket would sort this out - but this might just be a personal thing, and not bother most riders.
Another very minor niggle: inside the jacket collar is the usual loop of cord so you can hang it up, except this loop is tiny. You could hang this jacket on a thin nail perhaps, but it's a squeeze to get it on any normal coat hook.
Other features include reflective strips and piping on the upper arms, the back of the neck, across the tops of the rear pockets and round the back hem. There's also some discreet Campagnolo logos on the left chest panel and on both lower arms.
And finally, a word about the 'look' of the Flame. It has to be said, it's pretty damn cool. It's neither modern or retro. Timeless, I suppose.
We tested the blue, white and black variety. This jacket is also available with blue exchanged for red, or in good old black and white.
The recommended retail price for the Flame is a penny under £170, which is a lot of dosh, but this is what you pay for a premium brand like Campag (yes, Campag, never "Campy"). Of course, you can get jackets with similar performance for half this price. And as Campagnolo renew their collection every year, older models appear in the usual on-line stores at discount rates, by which we mean around £130, so it's still not a bargain.
Stylish and high-performing windproof jacket from the iconic Italian brand, ideal for spring, autumn and winter riding. With a suitably high price-tag.
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Make and model: Campagnolo Flame Windproof Thermo 50/50 Jacket
Size tested: Lake - L
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?
The Campagnolo Sportwear or CSW website (which is different to the main Campag site that displays components and such like) says the Challenge collection is: "bike apparel for those who are proud to wear Campagnolo Sportswear even in the worst weather conditions for outdoor activities. Our search for extremely functional clothing solutions comes to a head with Challenge, where every accessory and detail are a must-have investment offering tangible values. Quality, lightness and thermal insulation have been studied to guarantee correct performance with the maximum comfort."
The bit about "investment" and "tangible values" makes it sound like you're buying a pension, but underneath the bumf this is saying the gear is light, warm and comfy. And that's a fair claim.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The CSW website highlights some of the jacket's main features as follows:
" - Jacket with front panel in water-repellent, windproof breathable stretch Thermo Textran™
- Three-layer fabric with thermal layer inside.
- Protection guaranteed by the 10 my membrane that withstands a water column of 10000 mm H2O
- Back in winter Lycra® for maximum comfort
- Zip on front of jacket and back pocket in IQ Seen® reflex with semi-blocking zip pulls
- Reflex inserts on sleeves and back IQ Seen® reflex elastic on back hem and pocket (visible at 160 m)"
Construction appears to be sound, but not totally amazing. External seams were very good, but there were several loose threads on the internal seams of our test model, especially around the zip.
The Flame is certainly windproof and fairly water resistant, exactly as described. It would score a 9 here, but gets a point knocked off for the problems in the pocket area, as described in the main review.
If you look after this jacket, its durability is likely to be very good, but it gets a point knocked off for those loose threads.
Given the level of performance, this jacket is very light to wear.
Again, given the level of performance, the weight and flexibility of the fabric means this jacket is very light to wear.
The RRP is £169.99. With other jackets out there doing pretty much the same job for half this price or less, value is not one of the Flame's strong points.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This jacket is designed to be windproof and water-resistant. It does exactly that. But some of its design features mean it isn't perfect.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light weight, close fit, comfort, style.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes - all except the pockets.
Would you consider buying the product? Personally, no. But I know a lot of people who would.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes - the stylish ones.
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,