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The new dawn of the insulated cycling jacket

The cycling-specific puffer jacket is the new must-have winter attire for on and off the bike.

Insulated cycling jackets
Sam Challis
16 Feb 2016

In their constant quest to keep us riding through even the coldest months of the year, clothing manufacturers are finding new ways to keep cyclists cosy when the temperature drops to freezing levels. And the latest weapon in the winter armoury is the insulated jacket.

With the advent of hyper-efficient synthetic insulation from the likes of Primaloft and Polartec, these jackets promise to be exceptionally warm and light, without losing too much performance in the event of getting wet, which can happen with natural down fillings. They’re not as figure-hugging or as weather proof as many winter jackets and jerseys out there, but for cold, clear training days when speed isn’t the priority, they could prove to be the perfect partner.

Some brands such as Castelli and Vulpine have created puffer jackets that are not designed for hard rides, being better suited to short commutes or time off the bike. Others, such as the Sportful, Mavic and Adidas, are aimed specifically at long days in the saddle.

Thermal dynamics

7mesh Outflow jacket

Paul Whitfield of C3products, Sportful’s UK distributor, accepts that some riders might be wary of overheating on training rides in a jacket that provides so much thermal protection, but says, ‘For most riders it is just a case of adapting their riding style. Also, for every cyclist who “runs hot” and can be seen in the deepest of winter conditions wearing just the bare essentials, you’ll equally find guys that “run cold” and are perpetually wrapped up even when it’s mild. When you factor in the type of riding that is common in the winter – longer, low intensity rides – you can see why it’s useful to have something like the [Sportful] R&D jacket.’ 

Rule#9 states that ‘If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.’ With the introduction of the cycling puffer jacket, you can now cement your badass status without the discomfort of having to suffer in the cold. That sounds like a win-win to us.

Jackets left - right (main image)

Vulpine Ultralight quilted jacket - £169, vulpine.cc

Castelli Meccanico jacket - £180, saddleback.co.uk

Sportful R&D jacket - £149.99, c3products.com

Sugio R&D Alpha jacket - £149.99, cyclingsportsgroup.com

Endura Urban Flipjak reversible jacket - £99.99, endurasport.com

Adidas Belgements jacket - £140, adidas.com

Mavic Ksyrium Pro Thermo jacket - £190, mavic.co.uk

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