A cyclists' choice of a robust winter jacket often boils down simply to a question of looks. Advances in fabrics that combine windproofing, breathability and a good level of moisture resistance mean that there are now many jackets to choose from, all in a similar price range, that cater for all tastes. From hi-viz to black with just the slightest hint of reflective piping, the cyclist is increasingly spoilt for choice.
From the reputable Italian brand, Giordana, comes an updated version of their popular Silverline Windtex jacket. Designed and made in Mantua, it offers some genuine Italian style, coupled with a reputation for quality and performance. Giordana has associations with several pro teams and the feel and cut reflect this. The jacket combines cutting edge fabrics and design, yet Giordana have ensured it performs comfortably too.
For me, the measure of a good winter jacket is when you are riding in temperatures a little over freezing, with a only simple base layer beneath but still feel warm. In these conditions, wearing the Silverline Windtex, I felt positively snug. Although the conditions were dry, it was also reassuring that the jacket withstood the spray of the road too. So, though the jacket is not waterproof, its outer layer has a water repellent treatment and on this evidence, this is a jacket that is going to deal with light rain with ease.
It also has a substantial feel, without being heavy - possibly due to the 3 layer construction including Roubaix rear panels, and Windtex fabric - both of which provide good comfort and breathability. It's worth noting the breathability in fact - even in more strenuous points on the ride I never felt uncomfortably warm, which suggests the jacket succeeds in allowing excess body heat and perspiration to escape.
The cut is slim but there is no stiffness in the fabric so it remains comfortable in all riding positions. Three roomy rear pockets easily accommodated all provisions and I particularly liked the higher cut of the collar - simple, but effective.
So what of the 'look' of this jacket? OK I admit, the logo of the Giordana brand - a centaur with loaded bow and arrow - may not be to everyone's tastes! Perhaps the designers could have been a little more subtle in its application rather than emblazoning it across the white horizontal breast panel and it's notable that in the Women's version, the centaur has been left off altogether. It's a minor quibble though and certainly not an issue for anyone who is going to wear this jacket, who may hanker for such overt branding.
If I have any telling criticism of this jacket it is to do with visibility. Two small reflective strips on the rear central pocket is minimalist to say the least and if I was wearing this at dusk or at night, especially on non-lit roads, I would like to have a little more reflective material. Saying that, the jacket does feature a white stripe down the back that will enhance visibility from other road users approaching from behind, but the black version (I was road testing the red) would certainly leave me feeling a little more vulnerable in dimmer conditions.
If you are after a jacket with a some Italian style, that performs well and feels good then this is certainly one to consider and judging from some of the favourable comments I received from my cycling colleagues, the design is understated, yet distinctive.
The jacket comes in three colours - red, blue and black - and can be matched with other garments in Giordana's Silverline range, including bib tights and jerseys. The woman's version of the jacket that comes in three colours - white, red and violet. And for those of us who hanker for the complete look the jacket marries perfectly with Girodana's accessories!
Distance: 55 miles
Weather: Dry, with a large amount of water on the roads due earlier heavy rain.
Men: RRP £129.99. Sizes/Options: S / M / L / XL / XXL / XXXL
Women: RRP £142.99 Sizes/Options: XS/ S / M / L / XL / XXL
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