A coat strictly for those who don't want to look like they are wearing cycling kit, this Water off a Ducks Back Livia Cycle Coat isn't a standard short cut waterproof shell or hi viz zip up affair, it's a long, belted Macintosh style coat.
As such, our photos don't really do it justice, since I didn't dress as I would have to wear such a coat in real life, not was I actually photographed on a laid back café cruiser pedaling in a relaxed and stylish manner. So, please bear in mind it probably doesn't look 'at home' on me!
Water Off A Duck's Back specialize in high end designer ladies waterproof coats, made for functionality and style combined. The Livia is primarily a winter coat, waterproof and warm, but could easily handle spring and autumn wear too. Available in a vibrant red (with beautiful royal blue lining) that won't float everyone's boat (I liked it), it also comes in basic black and is designed to give all the added extras a cyclist could need, while still looking like the kind of coat you could wear a dress underneath or a business suit.
Neat features the Livia has include a reflective backing to the generous collar, a reflective backed belt (flip it over and it's reflective- simple) and optional reflective tabs on the cuffs. It's also designed to not catch in the wheels and it's machine washable to keep it fresh from the inevitable road grot and smelling sweet.
The sizing was a little on the tricky side, with even the size small being quite generous, so definitely a try before you buy situation. On the bike, it was extremely comfortable, with the no-rustle waterproof fabric pleasant to wear and very protective, without being overwarm or sweat-inducing.
It didn't catch on the bike, but you'd really only want to ride on a sit-up-and-beg style, if only because the style of the coat doesn't really suit a sportier ride. You'd look pretty daft riding a narrow barred fixie in this (although the website does claim it's road bike friendly in design).
Warmth levels were good, although at speed the front did flap open slightly, but again, this is not a coat aimed at headlong dashes so much as more sedate cycling. The collar was nicely shaped, and fitted comfortably, as well as looking good. The sleeves with fold back cuffs were a little on the overlong side when not on the bike (even folded up) but protected the hands nicely when on the bike.
The cycling specific reflective features are well considered and easy to use, and translate just as well into use as a pedestrian, giving extra low light safety there too. All in all, it's a good looking coat, best suited to those who dress well when out riding, rather than being a coat you'd mix with standard riding gear. It's a definitely niche market, but it's one that certainly exists.
Well made and stylish coat with nice cycling specific features. Strictly for women who dress up to ride on an upright.
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Make and model: Water off a Ducks Back Livia Cycle Coat
Size tested: Red, Small
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?
Aimed at women who don't want to look like they're wearing cycling kit, but without compromising on performance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fully waterproof 100% polyester fabric
Optional reflective cuffs/belt/collar
Tailored for the bike across the shoulders and in arm length
Machine washable at 40
Available in sizes XS-XL (UK8-16+)
Very well made from nice fabrics and good quality workmanship.
Comfortable and stylish as long as the rest of you is dressed right.
Very well made and good quality. Washable at 40 too which is always a bonus.
Very comfortable. Kept the body a good temperature and was pleasant to wear.
It's fully waterproof, it's got features for cycling and you could wear it around town on foot, so it's a versatile purchase and bearing in mind it's made in England and on a small run, I'd say it's pretty good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, sleeves and collar, details, fabric quality, lining colour.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really. Needs careful styling for the rest of the cycling outfit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. Especially if I spent more time riding smartly dressed.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, particularly a more office based one.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Well made and nicely featured, and a good versatile coat for those who like to be more smartly dressed when they ride.
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.