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Best winter cycling windproof jerseys and jackets

Ride out the storm with a windproof cycling jersey or jacket that'll withstand whatever you throw at it

Winter cycling
Cyclist magazine
13 Feb 2020

Want to survive three seasons' worth of weather without lugging around multiple layers of clothing? Then invest in a good windproof jersey or jacket. Where once you’d have needed to throw on a hardshell to keep out the chills and stay dry, these clever tops can hold their own in most conditions.

This is partly due to a raft of ingenious fabrics which have allowed clothing makers to integrate flexible wind and water-resistant layers or treatments into a variety of designs.

Causing the distinction between jersey and jacket to collapse, both styles can now pack in serious weather protection. Focusing on those that are at least windproof, here are eight of the best...

The best winter cycling windproof jerseys and jackets

1. Endura Pro Sl Waterproof Softshell

Buy now from Tredz for £161

What the makers say: Winter riding demands protection from the elements without compromising performance. The Pro SL Softshell delivers through a fully waterproof construction with enough stretch to achieve a flap free fit on the bike.

What we say: Jersey and jacket, windproof and waterproof. The Pro Sl Waterproof Softshell mixes all these elements. First, it’s properly weather-resistant with a waterproofness rated at 1,5000 mm. However, thanks to fabulously stretchy fabric and matching breathability of 1,5000 g/m2, it feels more like a jersey than a shell.

Triple rear pockets and an elasticated hem with silicone gripper complete the effect. Cut for racers there’s very little fabric to catch the wind, although this also leaves you less space to hide if you’ve anything other than a racer’s physique.

Verdict: Able to face down the worst conditions. Versatile and tough, yet comfy and close-fitting

Buy now from Tredz for £161

2. Gore Wear C3 Windstopper Phantom Zip-Off Jacket

Buy now from Tredz for £135.99

What the makers say: One for all. Versatile and reliable Windstopper softshell jacket with zip-off sleeves for the ambitious cyclist. Combines a windproof jacket, jersey and vest, all in one.

What we say: More of a jacket than a jersey, the Phantom’s relaxed cut flatters slightly less athletic physiques and is happy being thrown over multiple layers.

Being Gore, the Windstopper fabric’s breathability is exceptional while still being able to endure short showers without wetting through. Once summer rolls around again, the sleeves are detachable. Underneath are regular short lycra sleeves, making this ideal for year-round use.

Verdict: Highly adaptable, this could be a useful all-seasons ally for everything from club runs to commuting

Buy now from Tredz for £135.99

3. Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

Buy now from Rapha for £110

What the makers say: A packable cycling jacket designed to protect you from the chill of early morning starts and long descents.

What we say: With plenty of other windproof garments in its range, Rapha’s Pro Team Wind Jacket is free to assume the form of a light throw-over style jacket. The sort of thing you remove from your jersey to pop on as you crest the summit, its back is composed of mesh for breathability and low weight.

More one for warm days and high altitudes, or to carry as minimalist insurance against changeable conditions - Rapha describes it as filling the gap between a gilet and a thicker jacket.

Very breathable, it’s fabric leaves it less aero than more stretchy alternatives. Styling is predictably lovely, although given the garment’s type you could probably get away with something cheaper without noticing much of a drop in performance.

Verdict: A lightweight throw-over option for long descents or sudden chills. An old-school but useful design

Buy now from Rapha for £110

4. dhb Aeron Equinox Softshell

What the makers say: The perfect jacket for in-between seasons. The Equinox Softshell Cycling Jacket is a hybrid of warmth and breathability and combines the protection of a jacket, with the performance of a jersey.

What we say: Barring the effects of global warming, this is the sort of jersey you’ll get a ton of use out of if you ride in the UK. Marrying windproof and water-resistant front and arm panels with a breathable fleece-lined back panel, it’ll keep the weather off your front while allowing your back to let off steam.

Happy across a huge temperature range, and playing well with a variety of baselayers and throw-over jackets, it’ll also deal well with short, spitty showers. Cheap to buy, it won’t sell you short - with laser-cut cuffs and reflective detailing boosting its looks above what you’d expect given the price.

Verdict: Yesterday's Roubaix style jersey reimagined with water-resistance and windproofing. A keenly-priced wardrobe staple

5. Shimano S-Phyre Wind Resistant Jersey

What the makers say: Designed to keep riders at their optimal 37ºC temperature while riding through a range of conditions, anatomic 3D construction delivers exceptional fit and aerodynamics plus cold-weather versatility.

What we say: This close-cut jersey goes as far as incorporating an uber-flexible zipper in its quest for the perfect form-fitting silhouette. Made of multiple panels, and with three flat sitting rear pockets (plus a secure zippered one), it’s very obviously aero.

Stylish certainly, but given its high-cost, you might expect it to manage full-waterproofing rather than just wind resistance. However, the enhanced breathability pays off in almost all situations, while the water-resistant coating means its slow to wet out anyway.

Cut tight, it’s one to consider sizing up if you’re on the stocky side.

Verdict: Wincingly expensive for something not fully waterproof. Still, an excellent cut and real-world performance see the S-Phyre perfo well

6. Santini Vega Xtreme jacket

Buy now from ProBikeKit for £179.99

What the makers say: High performance, cold climate cycling apparel designed for the harshest weather conditions. Powered by Polartec’s Windbloc fabric, this is a three-layer shield with an advanced membrane for maximum breathability while protecting from wind and rain.

What we say: Mixing all over wind resistance, with waterproof panels in key areas, the Santini Vega Xtreme jacket is as able to fend off all but the heaviest and most prolonged of showers.

Using a host of smart Polartec fabrics, these provide target warmth and protection. Inside, this includes a grid-like lining that traps heat against the body, while the high fleecy collar seals the gap where your neck pokes out. The cut is racy, but not restrictive, with a little bit of space helping the insulation work to the maximum of its ability.

Neoprene cuffs and glove-friendly pulls on both the front zip and rear pocket show the level of thought that’s gone into its finishing touches.

Verdict: Clever fabrics and a less-constrictive fit make the Vega a cosy place to hang out. Expensive but justifiably so

Buy now from ProBikeKit for £179.99

7. Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket

What the makers say: Fitting like a jersey yet protecting like a jacket. With front wind protection and all over waterproofing, it’ll make you rethink how you classify cool-weather clothing.

What we say: Incredibly light and eye-catchingly colourful, this winter jersey from Italian company Sportful certainly feels pro. Despite not having a fleece lining, the wind didn’t stand a chance – as you’d expect from the Polartec NeoShell fabric.

The back panel is made of more breathable material, stopping the whole piece getting too clammy. It’s not waterproof, though; instead, it has a water-resistant treatment, meaning it will eventually get soaked.

Verdict: Great-looking, feathery light jersey. It’ll manage the elements rather than lock them out

8. Lusso Aqua Repel

What the makers say: Windtex Storm Shield fabric is lightweight, thermal, windproof and water repellent. Its four-way stretch fits and adapts perfectly to the contours of the body.

What we say: Highly flexible and breathable, this feels almost like a conventional jersey, meaning it’s comfortable and there’s little chance of you overheating.

Unfortunately, while it dealt with light showers, we still ended up getting soggy in heavy, sustained rain despite its high waterproof rating.

On the plus side, with a long-sleeved base layer underneath, the windproofing meant that even when wet-through, the jacket wasn’t too cold or uncomfortable. Still, it’s not quite as tough a customer as we’d have liked.

Verdict: A nicely cut and featured jacket with excellent breathability but not as waterproof as we’d hoped

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