A light, windproof shell is a useful part of any layering system, and the Paramo Alize Windproof Jacket offers good wind resistance without much of a weight penalty. It packs down small and gives decent protection in a shower, but the hood doesn't work with helmets and the cut just won't suit everyone.
Designed as a multi-activity jacket rather than an out and out cycling one, this incredibly light windproof shell still has cycle-friendly aspects. The fit is long and neat, with a curved tail for good on-bike coverage.
The fabric is a soft, supple wind-resistant polyester microfibre, and has a Nikwax durable water-repellent finish to bead water away. There's a roomy, stashable hood with a lightly stiffened peak, and a drawcord for a closer fit at the bottom, and simple elasticated cuffs.
You get reflective accents scattered here and there for road safety, while the zipped side vents double as pocket access, and the whole jacket packs into an integrated pouch roughly the size of a jersey's central pocket.
The cut of this jacket won't suit everyone. The size medium I tested is good and long in the torso/sleeves and will suit all but the tallest of riders, but while the cut's deliberately generous to allow for layering, it's roomier at the bust than the hips.
More pear-shaped riders might find it doesn't suit so well, while hourglass and athletic figures should be fine.
Wind resistance is excellent, and water resistance is impressive too, protecting really well against heavy showers despite not being a dedicated waterproof. It's ideal for taking along as a layer for descents, rest stops and when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
The fabric is nicely breathable, creating no issue with sweat build-up, and the zipped vents are effective too – if a bit fiddly with gloves on. The main zip, by contrast, is easy to use single-handed and pretty glove friendly.
Paramo says the hood is 'helmet friendly,' but I disagree. It just does not fit well over a bike helmet – it pulls on it uncomfortably – and doesn't fit well well underneath either, while affecting visibility either way.
The Alize also suffers a little for a lack of zipped pockets, relying instead on access to your own pockets via the vents, and perhaps on the empty stuff pouch.
It's probably not the best value jacket as a dedicated cycling windproof, with options such as the Pearl Izumi Zephrr Barrier Jacket offering a dedicated cycling cut-specific cut, a rear zipped pocket and 100% recycled fabric at just a few pounds more (£99.99).
That said, Paramo does offer a recycling programme for all its products.
However, if you're after a lightweight packable windproof for a variety of outdoor activities including – but not limited to – cycling, the Paramo makes for pretty good value. This is, of course, if the cut suits you.
Light breathable, packable and protective windshell – but better as an all-rounder than purely for cycling
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Paramo Women's Alize Windproof 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?
Paramo says: "The Alize Windproof offers packable protection for runners, cyclists and walkers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
100% polyester microfibre (fully recyclable via Paramo)
Internal stuff pocket
Zipped side vents accessing internal pouch pockets
Adjustable hem drawcord
YKK front zip
Adjustable roll-away hood with softly stiffened peak
Durable water repellent treatment
Very well made from good quality fabrics.
Performs very well as a windproof, water-repellent shell.
Good quality fabrics that wash well and can be treated to maintain water repellency.
Protective in fairly prolonged, heavy showers, but water repellent rather than waterproof.
Quite long in the body, but roomier at the bust than at the hips. Best suited to an athletic or slightly hourglass shapes.
Slightly generous, but allows easy layering.
Comfortable thanks to breathability, windproofing and the soft, supple fabric.
Better as a multi-activity jacket than bought purely for cycling.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washes very well, super easy to look after.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. A zipped pocket would be handy though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Very light and packable, good wind protection, can be used for walking and running too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Cut won't suit everyone, no zipped pockets.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's probably not the best value jacket as a dedicated cycling windproof, with options such as the Pearl Izumi Zephirr Barrier Jacket offering a dedicated cycling cut-specific cut, a rear zipped pocket and 100% recycled fabric at just a few pounds more (£99.99). That said, Paramo does offer a recycling programme for all its products.
The bike specific Altura Airstream Windproof Jacket is significantly cheaper at £49.99 and somewhat surprisingly even the Rapha Women's Commuter Lightweight Jacket comes in cheaper at £80.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Probably, but more for walking and running than cycling
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, definitely one who is generally into the outdoors
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a well-made, high quality jacket that breathes well and gives good levels of protection from wind and rain. If it had a zipped pocket it could score higher, and it's odd the hood is referred to as "helmet-friendly" when it just isn't. It's above average, though, especially for all-round use, and a six.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: Over 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.