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review

Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket

8
£172.56

VERDICT:

8
10
Excellent quality and well-designed warm and protective jacket with casual potential too
Superb quality
Stylish
Very warm
Better for cold, drier weather than persistent rain
Weight: 
408g
Contact: 

The Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket is an eye-catching top designed for cold-weather cycling of all types. Wind resistant throughout, it also features a quilted panel at the front for extra torso protection. It's not cheap, but the quality is high and Iris is a small independent European designer, so you'd expect a premium price.

The first thing you notice about the Evergreen Winter Jacket is how cosy it is. This is a jacket designed with deep winter in mind, and it comes with all the technical details you'd hope for from this sort of garment.

> Buy this online here

It's made from a high-quality brushed Roubaix-type fabric offering a mix of good breathability and insulation, with a tougher wind-resistant outer face. That contrast coloured quilted front panel with light synthetic insulation inside offers further warmth and windproofing to protect the torso, and an ecological treatment adds some water-repellency.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - inside material.jpg

Reflective sleeve seams and a reflective strip along the bottom of the rear pockets help with low-light and after-dark visibility, and cosy stretch contrast cuffs and a matching contrast coloured front zip (with protective storm flap) add to its cool looks.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - collar.jpg

The fit of the jacket is on the neat side, but not overly so. It is, after all, designed to be worn as a technical cycling garment, and its levels of warmth mean you probably won't need to wear much under it other than a good baselayer. Iris has said that the next version of this jacket (due out in October) will feature a slightly different cut, one that's not quite so athletic and with a bit more curve at the hips.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - riding.jpg

In its current iteration it offers a sleek fit, with plenty of stretch and movement throughout so no feeling of restriction. The sleeves are roomy without being loose, with sufficient stretch, length and space for riding on the drops, plus the jacket doesn't bind across the shoulders.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - back.jpg

The stretchy cuffs give good space for pairing up with warm gloves no matter how you like to wear them, over or under.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - sleeve.jpg

A gripper tape at the hem keeps the jacket secure on the hips.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - gripper.jpg

The three rear pockets are plenty spacious enough for ride essentials, and there's a small zipped pocket for valuables.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - zip pocket.jpg

On the bike, the fabric breathes well, and is pleasantly windproof without causing the overheating and sweat build-up issues of some hardshell type jackets. The front panel offers a nice alternative to a jersey/gilet combo without the additional back cover.

2020 Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket - hem.jpg

While the water repellency stood up to some decent showers, I'd be hesitant about wearing this jacket alone on a day of persistent rain. It's fine for shorter wet rides, and dries quickly afterwards, but for longer rides in the rain I'd still seek out a waterproof hardshell.

> Buyer’s Guide: 26 of the best waterproof cycling jackets

It's definitely a very warm jacket, strictly for cold rides rather than mildly chilly ones, but it's designed with that in mind. I'd be happy taking this one out from single digits to well into minus figures.

With its funky design, it also serves as a more casual jacket for on or off the bike, increasing its value for money. There's no denying it's far from an inexpensive jacket, but given that it's from a small independent designer (the founder and designer Iris Slappendel is a former pro racer) and that it does double duty as a more casual jacket, it helps justify the price. Plus, the quality and attention to detail is undeniable.

As an unusual insulated windproof winter jacket, it's hard to find direct comparisons for value, but at €189 it works out at around the same price as both the highly technical Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Jacket and Sportful's BodyFit Pro Women's Jacket (Stu tested the men's version in January).

I'd say the Iris is better compared with the Café du Cycliste Women's Heidi Winter Jacket, which now costs £191.

A cheaper – if bulkier – option is Endura's £120 Urban Primaloft Flipjak, although that's a more casual affair.

The Iris is a niche jacket that not everyone will be drawn to, in terms of their favoured winter layering, but it's well made, beautifully designed and a good investment. Being able to wear it casually, off the bike, adds to its appeal.

Verdict

Excellent quality and well-designed warm and protective jacket with casual potential too

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Iris Evergreen Winter Jacket

Size tested: Large

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?

Designed for all types of cycling in cold conditions. Technical features and fabrics and good levels of warmth and windproofing make it ideal for seriously cold rides where rain showers could be a possibility. Nice off the bike too.

Iris says, 'This versatile and technical jacket is designed for every form of winter cycling. It features a bi-elastic fabric with a special membrane of ecological waterproof treatment with high breathability, combined with a quilted, windproof fabric on the front. The 100 gram inner padding guarantees absolute warmth. Reflective details are smartly integrated in the design – the red zipper being an eye catcher on the other hand.

'While this jacket is designed for high performance, the contrast between the quilted front panel and printed base gives the jacket a casual look. So, don't be afraid to try it off the bike too. Perfect for evening walks, work commutes or coffee stops that turn into bar hopping...'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Iris lists these details:

Super-soft, bi-elastic polyester fabric

BIO-WR treatment makes the jacket water-repellent, breathable and rapidly drying

Quilted, breathable polyester fabric torso with 100 g padding

Integrated reflective lining on the arms and back

Full-length YKK zipper with camlock puller and internal zipper flap

Three back pockets, including a water resistant zippered pocket for valuables

High collar with a soft, fleece lining

Anatomic construction

Stretchy, soft inner cuffs keep the wind out so you stay warm

Silicone waist gripper for a perfectly secure fit and grip on shorts

Machine washable at 30

Available in sizes XS - XL

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Superb build quality and fabrics.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10

Great in cold conditions.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

Very well made from top-notch fabrics so should last well. Water repellency can be topped up with a technical wash when required.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

The water-repellent treatment protects well in up to a heavy shower, but for persistent rain, a waterproof shell would be a better choice.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

Pleasantly breathable, but wind resistance means it's less so than a standard thermal jersey.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
9/10

Well cut and stretchy, it fits nicely and doesn't shift when riding. Plenty of stretch in sleeves and body.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
7/10

Sized on the neat side, but designed for a performance fit with minimal layering. Those wanting a looser fit for more layers might want to size up.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10

Neither heavy nor light, this is designed to be a full-day wear jacket, not a packable layer.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10

Extremely comfortable, soft stretchy fabrics and pleasant levels of warmth, breathability and protection.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

Compares well with the Café du Cycliste Women's Heidi Winter Jacket, and around the same as similar options from Bioracer and Sportful.

If you're guaranteed a prolonged cold dryish spell and intend to wear it off the bike too, it'll earn its keep.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Easy to care for, washed well and dried quickly.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Style, quality, cold weather performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Water repellency could be a little better for more persistent rain, pricey if you're not going to wear it on and off the bike all winter.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As an unusual insulated windproof cycling jacket, it's hard to find direct comparisons, but it's around the same price as the Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect and Sportful BodyFit Pro jackets, and less than Café du Cycliste's Women's Heidi Winter Jacket, which is £191.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Very much.

Would you consider buying the jacket? Probably, and definitely if in the sale.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes. Particularly one who suffers from the cold.

Use this box to explain your overall score

This stylish and high quality jacket is made by a small European designer and offers excellent cold weather protection. It won't keep out persistent rain, but for cold, dry days it's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

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, sportives, 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. 

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