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Le Col HC jacket review

19 Jan 2018
Verdict:

A jacket that does its job but needs to be refined before being perfect

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£300
For 
Water and wind proof, reflective panels, stylish design
Against 
Tight neck collar, will need multiple layers under 5c

Buy the Le Col HC jacket now from Le Col

If you buy a cheap Winter cycling jacket, chances are you will pay the price. If it's not a lack of water or windproofness that's the problem then it's likely to be a case of not keeping you warm. If it keeps you warm, then chances are it will make you overheat, sweating like a pig in Summer.

Therefore, most of us will happily spend a hefty price for a top-of-the-range jacket in a bid to keep us cosy on the bike thoughout the wet and windy months. But for this price, we expect it to tick a lot of boxes.

British-based brand Le Col has tried to tick these boxes with its HC jacket which promises to keep you warm and dry while remaining comfortable, aerodynamic and highly visible to traffic.

If the jacket could come close to ticking all of these boxes, then it would certainly justify its £300 price tag.

I can't stand the rain

It's the jacket's ability to keep the wind and rain from your body that Le Col seems most proud of and so it should be.  

My first experience of this jacket was in a barrage of bad weather on a three hour weekend club ride.

Riding along some fairly exposed roads, the HC jacket appeared to do what it said on the tin, keeping the water and wind out keeping me dry and warm in the process thanks to what Le Col calls a 'storm shield' fabric. So far, so good.

However, I'm going to add a caveat to my claim on keeping me warm. I was kept toasty, even in wind, most of the time, but when the temperature truly dropped so did the jacket's ability to keep me as warm as wanted.

Strangely, I wasn't left cold because of a failure to keep the water or rain out, more due to the jacket simply being unable to withstand close to freezing temperatures.

This was eventually remedied by adding a third or fourth layer yet this impacted another aspect of the jacket.

Le Col designed the HC to be race fit. It's tight, with the main body fitting not too dissimilary to some jerseys I own. This is a good thing, because it reduces drag and the annoying flapping sound of some jackets in the wind but does leave a conundrum in the very cold.

If you want to use this as a traditional Winter jacket then you will want to layer up. In order to layer properly, you may have to go up a size therefore losing the aerodynamic benefits.

If you plug for the wind-cutting benefits, then you may have to accept that the temperature ranges of this jacket will be slightly limited but that choice is something for you to decide more than me.

Beyond this, the Le Col HC jacket is actually pretty good when it comes to the small things.

Take the geometric patterns on the arms and rear pockets. This isn't here just to look stylish, which I think it does, but also to keep you seen. 

Your wrists, shoulders and the middle pocket have reflective strips that help with visibilty at night while the contrast of white sleeves and a black body helps alert drivers to your presence even more.

Then there are the zipped sleeves, which can be undone, making the jersey just that bit easier to get on with a long sleeve baselayer or jersey while also helping keep the elements from your body.

A high neck collar has been designed to 'maintain the unaltered mirco climate of the body', which, in simple terms, means it keeps your body temperature stable.

This is all well and good for most but if you're like me and have a thick neck from years of playing rugby and eating, the zip will desperately try to come undone. Is that my fault? Maybe.

All in all, the Le Col HC jacket is actually a decent piece of kit. This Winter, it has become my go-to jacket for bad weather, which should act as some testament.

£300 is very expensive, but when you look at the price of cycling in general, then it shouldn't be that surprising. A set of wheels can set you back £3,500 these days.

If you have the body of a cyclist, by that I mean slight, give this jacket a go and you probably will not be dissapointed. Yet, if you've enjoyed Christmas a bit too much, you may need to look elsewhere.

Details

Available at - lecol.cc   
Size tested - XL 
Colours available - Navy/Rosso, Nero/Battleship, Nero/Nero, Nero/Rosso
Weight - 490g

Buy the Le Col HC jacket now from Le Col

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