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Rohan certainly couldn't be considered Johnny-come-latelys in the outdoor clothing field, but cycling apparel is a new direction for them. This Elite Stormer jacket manages to be light, breathable and waterproof – normally you have to pick two – and is certainly packs in some high performance to justify the £195 price tag. It does come up slightly odd in the fit department though.
First things first: the fabric. It's a Rohan-designed three-layer fabric with a waterproof membrane sandwiched between a polyamide outer coating and a soft, open-weave nylon liner. At 70g per square metre it's very light; the whole jacket weighs in at 340g and will pack pretty easily into a jersey pocket.
The Barricade™ membrane "responds directly to your body temperature and the humidity of the surrounding environment" according to Rohan, so if you get hotter it lets more moisture out. The outer surface is treated with a water-repellent coating to help the rain bead up and roll off the jacket to keep it breathable. The coating is designed to withstand 20 washes and still be 80% as effective as when new.
Construction is as good as you'll find. All the seams are taped, as are the sewn logos. There's thin fleece on the collar, a garage for the zip on the collar to stop it rubbing your neck, drawstrings at the neck and bottom to adjust the fit. there's a zippered chest pocket and one at the back, and subtle reflectives in the seams; white at the front and red at the back - nice touch. The cuffs are velcro-adjustable and the orange colour is just the right compromise between getting you noticed and not looking like a roadmender.
We've been blessed with all sorts of rain while I've been testing the Stormer. Such rain as April has not known in 100 years, so we're told. Anyway, if you want a jacket that'll perform in a deluge then this is one for the list. The performance of the fabric is about as good as I've come across.
Waterproofing is the easiest part of the cycling jacket equation to crack. No problems here: the Stormer didn't let a drop of rain in, even in some frankly atrocious conditions. Normally the payoff for that kind of protection is that you cook on the climbs, but that's not the case here and it's down to two things.
Firstly, the material is properly breathable. It's best with a full-length wicking baselayer underneath, but even against bare arms it does a pretty decent job of not getting clammy, even when you're going after a Strava segment on the ride home. I don't know how much of that's down to its active moisture control claims, but hey, it's good.
Secondly, the surface treatment on the jacket is as good as they come. You'd expect a new jacket to get the rain beading nicely and rolling off, but normally after a while in the rain the fabric eventually gets wet and that's when breathability starts to suffer. That just didn't happen here, even when pulling an already damp and crumpled jacket out of a pocket to face a second shower. The surface treatment just keeps on doing the work. After a couple of deliberately aggressive washes, a quick tumble dry and the jacket was as good as new. I didn't have the time or patience to put the 20-wash claim to the test but I'm impressed so far.
What's not so good is the fit. It's okay, but I can't help thinking that Rohan could have made the cut a bit more aggressive. The fact that they talk about the chest pocket being ideal for a brevet card, and the reflectives being for road safety, suggests it's primarily aimed at tourers and roadies, but the cut could just do with being a bit lower at the back, and a bit longer in the arm. It's more of a MTB cut.
The sizing's a bit odd, too. I started the test with a medium, which fitted pretty well around the body but was a touch shorter than I'd like in the arms. Given that I'm 1.90m and 100kg, that's a pretty big medium, so be aware of that if you're not going to have the chance to try before you buy. I've got a large now, which is just right in the arm department but a bit big around the chest so it can get a little flappy when you're going quickly. It's not a deal-breaker but it's a shame it isn't a slightly closer fit.
The advice, as always, is to try it on if you can to get a handle on whether the cut and sizing will work for you. If it does, then you'll have spent £195 on a jacket that promises a lot and then delivers on those promises.
Best-in-class performance from the fabric, let down a touch by the fit.
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Make and model: Rohan Elite Stormer Jacket
Size tested: Blaze, Medium
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 no-compromise waterproof jacket for the keen rider.
Our Elite Stormer jacket is an ultra-lightweight waterproof jacket which takes advantage of cutting-edge fabric technology, rarely seen in cycling gear, to offer the keen rider the ultimate in protection and comfort.
It's made from the same fabric that powers our award-wining and hugely popular Elite Jacket. It's a 3-layer material consisting of a polyamide outer, our high-spec Barricade™ membrane and a fine tricot lining. It's amazingly durable – but, at only 70 grams per square, astonishingly light. By any standards.
Obviously it's totally waterproof but it's also phenomenally breathable. And that's because Barricade™ works a bit differently from ordinary waterproof-breathables. It operates dynamically and responds directly to your body temperature and the humidity of the surrounding environment. We call it Active Diffusion™. Basically, the steamier it gets inside, the more vapour escapes - keeping you more comfortable. Even on those long climbs.
We've also treated the fabric with our advanced Durable Water Repellency™ finish to stop the outer fabric wetting out and keep the jacket breathing at its maximum capacity.
The Elite Stormer has been designed, from the ground up, to meet the needs of cyclists – without any compromises. It's built around our Forward Pitch Cut™ - it's a bit short at the front, a bit long at the back but, when you're on the bike, it's absolutely spot on.
It features a full-length, water-resistant front zip and a water-resistant slash pocket on the chest, sized for a mobile phone or brevet card. The rear zipped pocket doubles as a Packpocket™ into which the whole jacket stows.
Adjustable cuffs seal out the elements and feature reflective bands for clear, poor-visibility signalling.
The collar features a soft, wicking lining and has a drawcord adjuster at the rear.
The shoulder seams feature reflective piping at both the front and rear. They're silver at the front, red at the back - we call them Running Lights™. Because, when it comes to keeping safe on the road, every little helps.
It's a beautifully made jacket.
Very waterproof, very breathable, super lightweight.
It's really light given the performance.
Comfy enough but the fit is a bit of a compromise.
£195 is a lot of money. You're getting a good quality jacket though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, though the fit isn't quite there.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Performance in the rain.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly odd fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe - the fabric is excellent; the fit isn't quite there.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, the better-off ones that are the right shape.
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.