The Endura Equipe Thermo Windshield jacket is a versatile garment with an excellent fit and many pleasing features, but the inclusion of a single, zipped pocket at the rear, rather than three open pockets of equal size, lets the side down.
We wore the jacket in range of temperatures from freezing to about 12 degrees, and with the same layers on every occasion: Endura’s Baa Baa merino wool base, and their FS-260 Roubaix jersey. In lower temperatures, specifically at zero degrees and its near neighbours, it failed to keep us warm, although for such conditions Endura would doubtless edge you towards their three-layer Exo Softshell jacket. Its also worth noting that riders with greater natural insulation than your correspondent (most of the population) are likely to enjoy a wider temperature band.
Once into double digits, however, the Equipe Thermo Windshield jacket came into its own. We’re likely to find ourselves reaching for it when spring hits its stride, and again in the autumn. The windproof panels at the front performed as advertised, while the stretchy back and side panels allowed movement and prevented overheating. We wore it during a ride blighted by two heavy downpours, and while it claims for waterproofing are limited by an absence of taped seams, it did a pretty good job at keeping out the worst of the conditions. Once the rain had passed, it dried quickly.
Having discovered its minimum temperature threshold (12 degrees for this correspondent; likely to be lower for the more, ahem, upholstered rider) we were able to enjoy the Equipe Thermo Windshield jacket’s other qualities, the chief of which is the fit.
Endura describe the cut variously as “extremely athletic” and a “snug fit” and we’d tend to the latter; a description likely to reassure the Scottish clothing firm’s key market (go to any sportive and witness the number of riders clad in their garments). The Equipe collection has been developed with input from last season’s all-conquering Endura Racing road team, but we’d be surprised if their influence extended to sizing. We’ve tested considerably smaller garments from the ‘pro’ range of rival brands, typically those based further south than Livingston.
The arms seemed a little longer on our first acquaintance, one conducted off the bike, but once in the saddle and stretching for the bars the extra length played its part in keeping our wrists well covered. The narrow but effective cuff is due some praise in this regard, too. We tested the jacket with Endura’s Equipe Thermo Windshield glove, whose deep cuff slotted nicely beneath the sleeves.
Our one area of concern before testing, and highlighted in our ‘first look’ at much of the Equipe collection, was the rear pocket, which sadly proved no more amenable on the road. Retrieving the contents of a rear pocket is always an exercise undertaken ‘blind’ and adding a zip to the proceedings merely complicates the issue, in our view. The zip is long, which demanded quite a stretch, and as one that unfastens from left to right, forces the right-handed rider to reach as far as his left kidney.
Inside, the openings of the internal mesh pockets were only slightly wider than anything we stowed inside them (energy bars, mobile phone, multi-tool), which made removing their contents while wearing gloves a delicate operation.
There’s a good reason why generations of cycle jerseys have been produced with three, evenly-sized, zip-free pockets on the tail and Endura, who produce their fair share of garments with this configuration, would do well to apply it to his otherwise excellent jacket. That said, the deep hip pockets proved useful, especially for stowing a mini pump, and their magnetic closures were a pleasing detail.
The collar was effective: sufficiently high to offer protection from the wind, but without irritation, thanks largely to an off-centre zip that terminates below the jaw rather than on the throat. We think it looks stylish, too.
In summary, the Endura Equipe Thermo Windshield jacket is an excellent garment that could be made indispensible with a redesigned rear pocket. Claims for pro fit shouldn’t necessarily deter those unpossessed of a physique that results from racing bicycles for a living, but as ever, the maxim remains ‘try before you buy’.
Website: Endura Equipe
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: Black, Red, Lime Green