The Galibier Colombière Insulated Jacket is ideal for on- and off-bike adventures, either in the wild or about town, and Galibier has made real strides in combating overheating when pedalling hard.
Northern Irish brand Galibier has been quietly producing high-quality cycle wear at very competitive prices for some years now, and the Colombière jacket can certainly be added to the list of its successes. An insulated jacket for on and off the bike, this works better than anything of its kind that I have tried before, with features such as lightweight panelling and a zip-off hood that reveal the thought and attention to detail that has gone into this product.
The body of the jacket uses an 80-gram insulation layer (using 50 per cent recycled bottles in a nod towards sustainability) sandwiched between two lightweight nylon layers – both of which have been treated with a water-repelling DWR treatment, as this is a reversible jacket.
I found the insulation level to be spot on for even the coldest weather (I even wore this to take the kids sledging), and the rain can be seen beading up on the outer fabric in a shower even after a couple of washes, so I trust this jacket to see me through any shower. It's not designed for prolonged downpours, but I've been caught in some pretty horrible weather and if has stood up to it well. Even when the rain eventually wins, the Colombière will at least keep you warm.
The cut is well suited to a riding position, with a dropped tail and slightly longer sleeves, but not so much as to make it look or feel odd when off the bike. That dropped tail will come into its own if you take this jacket off-road, where mudguards fear to tread, and you may well do so as Galibier says that bikepacking was the inspiration for the Colombière.
So far so good, but the jacket's winning features for me are the removable hood (which solves the age-old problem of whether to include a hood on a 'cycling' jacket, and makes it much more versatile off the bike than a lot of commuter coats) and the Roubaix fabric panels down the sides, under the armpit and down the inside of the sleeves.
My issue with 'down' jackets for cycling has always been a tendency to overheat when working hard, and even on a steady commute you're a lucky rider indeed if you don't encounter the odd hill. Especially in a reversible jacket, where both layers need to be wind and water resistant, ventilation is a serious issue. The addition of such a lightweight and breathable fabric where the wind rarely gets but the body produces the most heat was an absolute revelation. It seems like such a simple solution, but no doubt much work has gone into working out how best to marry the two fabrics. As an added bonus, it also increases the flexibility of the arms when riding.
With a quality zip, high neck and elasticated wrists, the Colombière is well equipped to keep the cold out, and it also features two inseam front pockets and a phone pocket on the chest, all of which zip up and work well.
And you get all this for an excellent price – Endura's FlipJak is a staple in this genre, and we liked it when we reviewed it back in 2015, but the latest Hummvee version has an RRP of £129.99, and Rapha's Explore Down Jacket will cost you around three times as much as the Galibier.
Overall, this is an excellent everyday jacket, whether the day includes riding a bike or not. But those Roubaix side panels are a revelation when it comes to preventing overheating when you do ride.
For the money, I doubt you'd find a better casual winter cycling jacket – you may not find better spending considerably more
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Galibier Colombière Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Galibier says: "High protection insulated jacket, delivers exceptional performance on and off the bike"
And continues with this extra info:
The Colombière jacket was engineered for extreme cold weather riding but we have produced a garment that blurs the lines between on-bike performance and functional leisure wear. Bikepacking may be the origin of this jacket: A dream of keeping you warm off the bike when cooking dinner in the wild, but the reality is we have worn the samples as much biking with the kids and walking for coffee in the rain.
The performance is drawn from Synthetic insulation (made from 50% recycled bottles) producing a breathable, odour defying, windproof layer that will retain structure after washing. The main fabric has had a water-repellent (DWR) treatment to fend off a shower and the hood is removable with a hidden zip. The Front hand pockets are 'inseam' and zipped to protect valuables. Elasticated cuffs, waist and high neck keep out draughts. It can be worn with a single base layer in exercise conditions at temperatures of 10°C and down below freezing. Or add a mid layer for slumber or outside living in the coolest of conditions.
The fit is contoured without being overly snug, giving room for a layer underneath. The Roubaix fabric panels keep it close to the body to enhance both the fit and thermo regulation properties, on the bike and off. We have designed it to be sufficiently long in the body and sleeves to work perfectly well when riding but at home. Roubaix panels are again utilised on the inside of the arms to enhance the fit and movement range of the jacket allowing you to put a bike on your shoulder with ease or reach for a beer right at the back of the fridge.
We have designed the insulation at 80gm, sandwiched between two lightweight woven nylon outer fabrics, to make it dry fast and leave the warmth to weight ratio just right. Reflective features on the chest zip and rear panel joins, add visibility without compromise on weight or packability. The hood is zip removable with a middle closure system so can be taken off completely for those packing lighter still. Embroidered logo on the chest in contrasting colours for each option.
Col de la Colombière is a mountain pass in the Alps in the department of Haute-Savoie in France. It connects Cluses in the Arve valley with Le Grand-Bornand in the Bourne valley. Both on and off road ascents to 1600 meters are only possible in summer time; for the rest of the year you need to be wearing this jacket for protection. (Other garments can be worn, it is not French law, but this is best).
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Elasticated waist and cuff openings
100% fluorocarbon-free Synthetic insulation (50% recycled mix)
TMC Japan glide zipper with reflective trim and toggle
Two front pockets, inseam, to keep your hands warm or stow essentials
Reflective details on the chest and back
Chest Phone pocket
Distinctive contrast stitching on the chest
Durable water-repellent finish (DWR)
As usual, Galibier delivers a high-performance product at a price to make you sit up and take notice.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I wore this in muddy conditions and everything washed out at 30 degrees, with the DWR coating continuing to function. This would obviously deteriorate over a longer period, but the options for refreshing it are plentiful these days.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The jacket was perfect for staying warm on and off the bike on casual winter rides, and the use of Roubaix fabric for the side panels and armpits is a huge help in preventing overheating.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
A stylish, well-fitted jacket that works on and off the bike... and those Roubaix side panels elevate its on-bike performance enormously.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
I'm struggling here...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For such a high-performance casual jacket the price is excellent. Endura's FlipJak is a staple in this genre, and the latest model has an RRP of £129.99, while Rapha's Explore Down Jacket will cost you around three times as much as the Galibier.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
An excellent and well-made casual jacket for commuting, bikepacking and everyday wear, and at a price that compares well with similar products. It's exceptional!
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Equilibrium My best bike is: Look 585
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, The nursery run!