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review

Santini Guard Nimbus Jacket

8
£145.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Excellent slim-fitting jacket for windy and wet days
Sleek but stretchy, unrestrictive fit
Breathes well
Nice big zip pull
Bright colours available
Scrunches pretty small
Sleeves and tail could be just a little longer
Shoulders can flap a little if the back rides up
Weight: 
134g

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The Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket is great – slim fitting, almost entirely flap free, comfortable and effective. The sleeves and tail could be just a smidge longer, and while it's entirely pocketable it's not the smallest when scrunched, but otherwise there's really nothing to complain about. I'd say it's up there with the best waterproof cycling jackets if you're looking for high performance and packability without paying premium prices.

Santini says this is for mild, wet days, and the autumn test period was exactly that – so mild, in fact, that it rarely reached the 5°C minimum the company recommends, and spent far more time up towards the 15°C max. Meanwhile, the showers came and went almost as quickly as prime ministers.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - back.jpg

This jacket, however, delivered everything it promised to, which leaves relatively little to say about it – it just works, and very well too.

The fabric is very stretchy and completely unrestrictive, and the overlocked, taped seams are impressively neat and strong. The interior has a slightly rubbery feel that's perfectly fine against skin, if not actively luxurious.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - inside.jpg

It can feel just a tiny bit clammy if you're working hard on mild days, but I never found myself even close to wanting to take it off (some jackets leave me itching to), and I found the breathability impressive for its level of wind and rain protection.

I never felt any draughts, even on some extremely stormy rides, and its 5,000mm water column rating kept me comfortable in rain too – no cold rivulets from anywhere, and any dampness was impossible to distinguish from my own sweat.

I found the sizing spot on against the chart, and with seven sizes to choose from you should be able to find one to suit.

There's a single small pocket but it's on the left, which might not please everyone, and it's just big enough for a phone. The jacket will pack into it too, if you prefer that to just ramming it into a pocket.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - zip pocket and packing pouch.jpg

The tail stays in place pretty well, though I did find it rode up a few inches after a while (it's elasticated but has no silicone gripper), and it could be longer in the first place too. It isn't bad; it could just be better.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - tail.jpg

The cuffs, meanwhile, are pleasingly slim and tight fitting without being uncomfortable, but again they could be just a little longer to reliably meet with gloves; I tended to have a bit of skin or jersey showing. On the bike in wet and mild (10-15°C) conditions, however, I didn't actually notice any issues at the wrists, and certainly nothing is getting up the sleeves. If it were down at that 5°C level, though, perhaps chilling would be an issue.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - cuff.jpg

The neck is well judged, and again makes a good seal against the elements, and the zip has a neck-protecting garage at the top and a shorts-protecting backing flap at the bottom. The zip puller is one of my favourite details of all – it's a big metal ring, and very easy to find and use in gloves.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - collar 1.jpg

At 134g the Guard Nimbus is light enough to be easily portable, if not the lightest option of all, and it scrunches down well enough to cram into a jersey pocket. You can get smaller and lighter things, though, if that's important to you.

2022 Santini Guard Nimbus rain jacket - packed.jpg

As you can see from the photos, the jacket comes in low-vis black as well as high-vis yellow ('Flashy Green') along with the high-vis orange ('Flashy Orange') I'm actually testing. All of them have reflectives for night time.

Value

With its price tag of £145 this isn't exactly cheap, but against its high-end competition it actually looks a bargain. The Rapha Men's Brevet Gore-Tex Rain Jacket is very good, for instance – Stu reviewed it back in the summer – but it's over £100 more at £265, while Gore's Race Shakedry Jacket, which Dave reviewed in May, is more still at £299.99. The Shakedry fabric is seemingly some kind of wonder material, though.

You can get good things for less, however: the Stolen Goat Men's Navy Waterproof, for one, which is £140 and actually super-duper waterproof with triple the resistance rating of the Santini at 15,000mm.

Overall

I really like this jacket. Even in stormy but weirdly mild weather I was happy wearing it pretty constantly and with very little zip adjustment; it's comfortable, protective and easy to forget about... until you glance at your arms, anyway, at least in the pleasingly bright orange I tested. If the next version gets a longer tail and sleeves, it'll be even better still.

Verdict

Excellent slim-fitting jacket for windy and wet days

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Santini Guard Nimbus Rain 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?

Santini says: "The Guard Nimbus rain jacket is designed for mild temperatures with rain. Fully thermo-sealed it is the best protection during rainy days rides."

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

Santini lists:

Sleek fit

Five sizes

TEMP RANGE

+5/+15

100% RAIN PROTECTION:

100% waterproof with double-layer Grimpeur fabric and thermo-welded seams for the best protection during wet rides.

AERODYNAMIC FIT:

Ultra-light and aerodynamic design. Ergonomically-cut waterproof sleeve cuffs and super-elastic make GUARD NIMBUS the perfect racing jacket.

HIGH-VSIBILITY:

Reflective dots on chest plus reflective Santini logo on the back to ensure maximum safety in low visibility.

EXTRA WATERPROOF STORAGE:

Zippered and waterproof side pocket.

POCKETABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING:

GUARD NUMBUS can be easily folded into its zipped back pocket so you can carry it with you during your rides. This system is also used as the product's packaging, reducing plastic waste.

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

Excellent everywhere, though the sleeves and tail could usefully be a little longer.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10

Can get a little sweaty at the milder end of the scale, but it breathes well enough to never boil you up. It stretches and fits very well.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

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

No issues.

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

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Big ring on zip, and it's very orange.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Sleeves could be a few centimetres longer for a more secure fit with gloves.

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

At £145 this isn't exactly cheap, but against its high-end competition it actually looks a bargain. The Rapha Men's Brevet Gore-Tex Rain Jacket is very good, for instance, but over £100 more at £265, while Gore's own Race Shakedry Jacket is more still at £299.99. The Shakedry fabric is seemingly some kind of wonder material though.

You can get good things for less, however: the Stolen Goat Men's Navy Waterproof, for one, which is £140 and actually super-duper waterproof with triple the resistance rating of the Santini at 15,000mm.

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

This just does what it's supposed to do, and does it well. If the sleeves and tail were a little longer it'd be a 9, but they're still not deal breakers and it's an 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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