Shimano's Transit Hardshell Commuter Jacket is great for urban commutes with a very good and relaxed on-the-bike fit that doesn't look out of place with casual clothing. The waterproofing is excellent, but the jacket can be a little sweaty if you have a big climb to tackle.
In normal times, my commute to the road.cc office is not the longest. Just a few flat kilometres through Bath doesn't require any Lycra, and the lack of traffic on my cyclepath route means I'm happier with something that I can wear to post-work drinks rather than something fluoro-yellow. This casually styled jacket from Shimano fits that perfectly. And It's waterproof too. Handy, because it rains in Bath sometimes.
While Shimano says that this jacket features an on-the-bike fit, it's a slightly relaxed commuter cut rather than 'road racer'. The tail of the jacket is slightly dropped and there's just a little more length in the arms than I'd expect on a regular jacket. I found that this offered the perfect balance between fit while riding, with coverage of the wrists when wearing with gloves, and fit when off the bike.
The waterproofing is very good indeed. Coming out of winter and into spring is the prime time for getting caught in heavy showers, so having a jacket that will cope with heavy rain is essential for commuting in the UK. The Transit is, as the name suggests, a hardshell jacket. It deals easily with rain and has performed perfectly here.
That waterproofing does mean that breathability is a little compromised. There are overhang vents under the arms and across the back that help a little, but this is a casual commuter jacket, and I would recommend you keep it for more relaxed commutes. If you've got hills to contend with, things can get a little sweaty. For my riding in town, with just a few short drags, it was fine.
For maximum defence against the rain, the full-length zipper is waterproof and the seams are sealed too.
The jacket features no insulation, but the windproofing afforded by the hardshell design does a lot to keep you warm. The relaxed fit means that there's also room for a thick jumper underneath in the depths of winter.
The cuffs are finished with an elastic section that makes getting gloved hands through easy. The inner surface of this material is also slightly grippy, offering a great fit with gloves that won't leave you with exposed skin in cold weather.
The rear hem of the jacket is slightly dropped, giving a good fit on the bike while still looking like a normal jacket off the bike.
Soft fabric lines the neck, keeping the jacket comfortable against your skin here, although some might not like the lack of a barrier fabric between your skin and the jacket elsewhere, but I can't say it bothered me.
You get two zippered side pockets and a small zippered chest pocket. There's also a pocket on the back on the right-hand side, where you'd find a normal jersey pocket. While the main zip is waterproof, none of the pocket zips are.
The chest pocket is quite small. It's too small for my iPhone 11 with a case, just to give you a size reference. My phone, wallet and keys live in my rucksack while riding anyway. But for off-the-bike use, I'd prefer a larger chest pocket with space for a modern smartphone, possibly even moving the access to inside the jersey.
One neat feature that I didn't know I'd like until I tried it is the detachable hood. As I don't commute with a helmet, the hood allows me to keep my head dry, and can be rolled up and stowed in the back pocket on nicer days.
Shimano has placed small reflective details around the jacket, but if you're looking for maximum visibility, this isn't the jacket for you. The construction is good though. Everything feels solidly put together and the taped seams have not been troubled by my daily use of this jacket.
While the £179.99 price tag might seem high, the Transit jacket compares pretty well to other commuter jackets that we've tested recently. Resolute Bay's Reflective jacket is £200, though you do get the added visibility, and Rapha's Hooded Rain Jacket II is more expensive still at £230.
If you're looking for a casual jacket that performs well on urban commutes and can be worn off the bike without screaming 'cycle commuter' then the Shimano Transit Hardshell is well worth considering, doing a great job of protecting you from chilly winds and heavy rain.
Casually styled waterproof that fits well, on and off the bike, but best suited to easy commutes as the breathability isn't brilliant
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano Transit Hardshell 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?
From Shimano's UK distributor Freewheel's website: "Urban style meets weather protection, to keep you dry, safe, and comfortable"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
DRYSHIELD waterproof fabric with seam-sealed construction and waterproof zipper
Ventilating under-arm zippers
Detachable hood stows in snap-button collar
Low profile, elastic arm-cuff design
Two zippered side pockets, plus one zippered chest pocket
Discreet reflective elements for low-light visibility
Adjustable drawcord waist
On-the-bike cut so size up for a more casual fit
Zero issues here in heavy rain.
It's okay. If you're rolling through town to meet friends or heading into the office, the venting is fine.
Slim fit with enough room underneath for a thick jumper.
This medium (what I wear in normal clothes) was perfect.
Some might not like the lack of a barrier fabric between your skin and the jacket, but I can't say it bothered me.
It costs a lot more than some commuter jackets, but is cheaper than others.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
As rain runs straight off, it stays very clean. Mud splatter can be wiped off using a damp cloth.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well on casual commutes and urban rides. I had no issues in the heaviest rain and the fit is good too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The casual styling means that this doesn't scream 'cycle commuter'.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The chest pocket is a little shallow for my phone.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than some: the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket is £199.99, Rapha's Hooded Jacket II is £230 and Resolute Bay's Reflective jacket is £200; but more than others: Vulpine's Portixol and Rapha's Commuter jackets are both £100, Howies' Herald is £139.
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
Top-notch waterproofing, great fit, and a casual style that works on and off the bike – it's not cheap but it's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.