We bring together all our reviews of this season’s winter cycling jackets and pick some winners
Welcome to the 2018 road.cc review box set of winter cycling jackets. In this box set we’ve got six newly published reviews plus seven more that have appeared in recent weeks. If you’re in the market for a winter cycling jacket we hope you’ll find the set useful especially if used in conjunction with our Buyer's Guide to 18 of the best winter cycling jackets.
The modern winter cycling jacket is a cold-to-cool conditions technical garment that at first glance looks more like a jersey than a jacket. Most are designed to be worn with a minimal number of layers underneath, often only a short or long sleeved base layer for most of the temperature range they are designed for (usually 0-12°C) and to be combined with an outer shell when things dip below freezing. Most of the 2018 models feature a combination of a wind blocking fabric — Gore Windstopper is flavour of the moment with many brands — and an insulating material to keep you warm, Polartec being a popular choice.
Winter cycling jackets are not the same as waterproof cycling jackets or windproof cycling jackets, although they contain elements of each. The emphasis in a winter cycling jacket is on keeping you warm and comfortable and the assumption is that you will be riding fairly quickly in them and generating some heat too, which is why most are designed to be as breathable as possible. Usually the back section is breathable while the job of the front of the jacket is to keep the wind out.
These jackets are not waterproof although many are surprisingly water resistant and have been designed so that even when the water gets in you won’t get cold.
Pulling all these jackets together in this box set has also helped us to judge them against each other — just like in a group test — so we’ve chosen a Best Buy, a Bargain Buy and a Benchmark Product (the jacket we think sets the standard against which the others should be judged). When it comes to winter cycling jackets we think that mantle is currently held by the Castelli Alpha Ros.
Best buy - Endura Pro SL Thermal Windproof II
Well priced, well featured, well made jacket that really delivers in typical British conditions
Bargain buy - Galibier Mistral Foul Weather Jacket
Really great jacket at a reall great price
Castelli Alpha Ros - the jacket against which the others are measured
It’s also worth saying that the standard of winter cycling jackets in this box set is very high and the margin between being a winner or not was in some cases extremely fine — especially for the Best Buy award so it’s worth having a look at all the jackets here. They all offer slightly different combinations of fit, features and colourways and some may be more suited to your particular needs than others. None of these jackets will let you down.
There’s still quite a lot of the winter left and we’ve still got a few (late) reviews outstanding so we’ll be updating this box set in the New Year when — who knows? — some of the winners might change.
Finally, we’ve tried to include as many women’s winter jackets as we can and mentioned where there is a female version of one of the reviewed jackets.
As it says at the top of the page, box sets are where we pull all the latest reviews in a particular product category together to make it easier for you to compare them. Box sets are designed to complement our buyer's guides, which offer in-depth advice on what to look out for when buying a particular product as well as a selection of some of the best. Box sets are more like an online group test – a way for you to compare all the latest products in a particular category.
Box sets combine a whole slew of new reviews with the latest existing reviews of a particular product type. Bringing all the latest reviews of one product type together helps us to draw some conclusions and pick some winners – just like in a group test. The categories we’ll be giving out gongs for are:
The product we think gives the best combination of performance and value for money
The product that sets the technical and performance standards against which we think the rest are judged
The product that gives the biggest bang for the least buck – closely related to Best Buy, but with a slightly greater emphasis on value for money
This being the web, though, there’s the extra wrinkle in that if after a box set is published we review more winter jackets, tubeless wheels, or whatever, we’ll also be able to update the box set and even pick new winners if something better comes along.