Sportful Survival Gore-Tex jacket £200
Developed with the Saxo Bank – SunGard professional cycling team, the Survival jacket is designed for racing, with a performance fit and features that will be appreciated by the hard-riding road cyclist.
It’s packed with features that help to justify the high price tag. Top of the list is the excellent new Gore-Tex Active Shell fabric, providing complete water resistance in the face of torrential storms. It’s an ultra-lightweight jacket, with a very slim and fitted shape designed for use in the crouched racing position.
Active Shell is Gore-Tex’s latest fabric and has been several years in development. It’s a 3-layer fabric using a new lighter and thinner membrane bound on the outside to fine fibre high-performance textiles, with the lining directly integrated into the Gore-Tex membrane. The result is an super-compact design promising a higher level of breathability than previous shells and excellent next-to-skin comfort.
Being developed with input from a pro team means this jacket really stands out, not only for it how well it fits, but the features that have been added. It’s unique (as far as we know) in having a main zipper tab lined with strips of Velcro. Why? you ask. So that, when you pull the jacket on while still riding along, you can just push the jacket closed and the Velcro will hold it in place, which is a quite brilliantly simple feature. Saves fiddling with the tiny zip puller when you’re on the move. It’s adequate for short periods, to last a short downpour, or can be zipped up a more convenient point for longer durations.
Another nice detail is the long zipped cuff. The cuffs make it easy to pull on and off over winter gloves, so you don’t have to remove them just to get the jacket off. Combined, the cuffs and Velcro closure make it a very easy jacket to remove and pull on quickly, and this makes it indispensible for riding into unpredictable weather. Roll it up into a rear pocket and have it there ready just in case the weather turns.
Elsewhere there’s a tail that drops down like a large flap to cover your butt from spray, handy if you don’t have mudguards on your bike but still like to ride along rain-soaked roads. Other nice details include armpit zippers for ventilation, and the tall collar for wrapping your neck up.
The beauty of this jacket, in using the new Active Shell fabric, is that any worries about boiling in the bag, the usual problem with waterproof shells, are banished to the history books. It’s incredibly breathable, certainly right up there as with the current highest-performing jackets.
It’s still possible to overheat however, if it’s not quite cold enough or you wear too many layers, but with the Velcro closure it’s simple to open up the jacket and dump a load of heat.
Being available in seven sizes means getting the jacket to fit nicely shouldn’t be a problem. We advise trying on before you buy, so visit your local bike shop and try it out first.
As far as dealing with the rain, wind and cold, the Survival jacket is a cut above the rest with design features that excel in the real world.