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This is the new Original Rain Jacket from Vulpine which is the mark 2 version of their original rain jacket which was called the Cotton Rain Jacket, got it? It probably doesn't matter if you haven't the bottom line here is that it's very good.
While we're on the subject of consufion though what is also confusing is that this jacket looks more like an original Harrington jacket (you know, the one that mods wore with the tartan liner over their pristine Fred Perry polo shirts) than Vulpine's Harrington jacket does. I think maybe trying to sell a cotton jacket for a walloping 200 quid without first explaining that it is made of very special cotton could have been off putting and a lot of people don't associate cotton with being waterproof, hence the name change.
Despite being the newly named rain jacket that looks more like the jacket it's sibling is named after, it is in fact a very well thought out garment, even if the name isn't. It's laden with little design features which all help you, as a cyclist, get greater enjoyment from wearing this waterproof (it is still a rain coat).
Made using Epic cotton (that's a trade mark not a description) you would think that this jacket would only be available in monochrome but no, you get a choice of four understated organic colours: grey, beige, indigo and the military green that we have for review.
What makes Epic cotton special is that is it is cotton with coating that makes it act more like a modern technical fabric so it can do things like repel moisture. It still retains many of the qualities of cotton like its breathability and the the way it hangs or feels and it isn't shiny which makes it look normal rather than techy.
The material works effectively at fending off bad weather in all but the most severe rain. Water beads off the surface like water off a ducks back until it finally gets beaten by lashing relentless down pours and the cotton then darkens as water penetrates.
But it doesn't give in to the fight just there. This is Epic cotton remember, it just isn't breathing any more, but it still keeps water out. Crank a bit harder and get hot and you will get more sweaty than the fabric will let in water. Even when it looks drenched remarkably little water goes through but the material will be damp inside; it reminds me of the old canvas tents we had at Scouts.
This may not be the choice for a fast training ride but it performs well enough to be able to put a fair amount of effort in before the large vents at the back can't let out any more steam.
Looking normal is what this jacket does so well, and by normal I mean it looks good on and doesn't look like it is part of your P.E. kit. The cut works well on the bike but doesn't stand out as being a cycling garment when you are in the pub.
The pattern adjustments for cycling aren't extreme. The waist is slightly higher at the front to reduce scrunching up when stooped over the bars and the tail is dropped enough to cover your modesty and prevent your bottom becoming a gutter. To further help the jacket keep shape on the bike, an adjustable elastic cord runs around the rear midsection of the jacket reducing that bull frog effect at the front when you are leaning forward. Another elastic cord at the bottom helps gather any loose material, and similarly there is one at the neck. All work effectively.
Tucked up the back of the jack is a bright red splash guard with some reflective edging and Vulpine V logo. When the weather gets really horrid you can pull the guard off its magnetic fastenings and let it drape down like a maladjusted cape. It only really works well when you are off the saddle but it does offer better visibility with its reflective bits.
The problem with the flap is that the tiny magnets aren't strong enough to keep it tucked up in the jacket leaving you blissfully unaware that you have this bright red bum flap while poncing around the pub trying to look cool. Thankfully the flap is easily removed with a zipper.
Even with broad shoulders the sleeves are just long enough to still meet your wrists when gripping your handlebars, but they are tapered so only the top of the sleeve covers the wrist. When your arms are back at your side the arms of the jacket don't look like you've stolen it from an orangutan.
The cuffs aren't adjustable which is odd for a rainproof but it does make for a cleaner aesthetic. The aperture at the cuff is generous enough for big fists to be fed through. There is a much needed fleece inner cuff which does a good job of stopping drafts channeling up your arms. The cuffs can be folded back a couple of inches to expose the highly reflective sleeve liner which is a great idea although it does leave your wrists out in the cold.
If you haven't got the skinny arms and torso of a pro cyclist and instead have great big guns bolstered to your manly chest you may have issues with the slim cut of this jacket. There isn't any stretch in the fabric but at the same time, this can act to your advantage and hold everything in.
Front pockets a la original Harrington jacket (the ones worn by mods) are a good focal feature of what would normally be just a view of a stomach. The pocket flaps are lightly fastened by tiny hidden magnets and cover the water proof zips. Your hands are welcomed into the pockets with a soft luxurious material which is highly welcome when trying to keep warm while spectating cyclo cross or waiting for your mate to finish his fag before getting back indoors.
The finish of this jacket is superb with lined and hemmed seams, quality materials and water proof zips, reflective bits, it's all here. This is what you pay for. There is even a little pocket by your left wrist, hidden under another magnetized flap, with enough room for your credit card and there's a tiny caribiner for you to clip a key on. I didn't get to use the pocket, though, because my life never seems to be that simple that I can leave home with just one key and a card.
In summary this is a smart jacket that performs well and is heavy in features. It is a cycling jacket for cyclists and designed to look good and perform well, a casual jacket that can keep up with fast guys in. This is a great choice for your urban cycling needs and then some.
Casual-looking rain jacket that you can keep up with fast guys in.
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Make and model: Vulpine Mens Original Rain Jacket
Size tested: Medium Military Green
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?
In their modest words "The Vulpine Original Rain Jacket is designed to be the most comfortable and stylish rain jacket in cycling." - I say that they have made a jolly good jacket that looks great and is comfortable and keeps the rain of and is definitely one of the best jackets out there.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Super high-end breathable Epic Cotton™
Water, wind and stain resistant
Magnetic neck & pocket closures
Rear air vents
Magnetic removable splash guard
Large inner front storage pockets
Rear reflective light loop
Fold-back, lined reflective cuffs
Adjustable neck, waist and hips
Lined inner seams
No scratchy labels
Flapped arm pocket with key caribiner
Only the heaviest, relentless downpours will get in but it can.
Cotton is tough and can take tumbles better than most synthetic materials.
This is where those modern technical synthetic fibres win over cotton. It also doesn't pack down very well.
Snug fit could be improved with some stretch in the material. Comfy pocket lining, collar and cuffs.
For how universal this jacket is you could get a lot of wear out of it but the initial spend is high.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well in all but the worst days. Continued looking good too despite daily abuse in the city.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really good cut, breathable and waterproof enough for a long commute.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bum flap that would un-tuck itself.
Superfluous arm pocket.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I would.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I have.
Age: 40 Height: 179 Weight: 75
I usually ride: Condor pista My best bike is: Condor Pista fixed. Look KG241, Jean Thomann vintage
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, bare back