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Lightweight Cycling Jackets

As we know all too well our summers aren’t always totally dry, so having a lightweight breathable rainproof jacket is always handy to save a chill turning into a summer cold. We find summer jackets really useful for long descents or early morning rides when the temperature’s not quite warm enough for short sleeves. If you’re going off for a long ride in the hills or mountains then a wind and shower proof top is a real essential and a lifesaver in an emergency.
For summer use the fabric needs to be lighter weight than a winter jacket and will need to provide a high degree of breathability too unfortunately rain and warm temperatures make riding in a jacket uncomfortable, feeling rather like a boil in the bag meal. We recommend lightweight, windproof and shower proof fabrics such as 2-ply Goretex and Pertex that are highly breathable, other manufacturers may have their own equivalents and can be equally as breathable.

It may not be necessary to by an expensive jacket with sealed seams for summer use, you probably won’t get as much use from it as a winter jacket, other features worth considering are packability and ventilation such as pit zips etc. Hopefully you’ll have the jacket stuffed in your jersey pocket for most of the time, so it’s best to opt for something that packs down small for comfortable stowage.


Parrot Amazon Shell
Price:
£48.99
Web: www.parrot-online.co.uk
Contact: 08709 988001
Sizes: S-XXL
Colours:Black/Grey, Golden Yellow, Yellow/Grey

The Amazon Shell is a lightweight and highly versatile jacket capable of spring through to autumn use for any active use including running, walking and cycling. With Pertex fabric’s excellent windproof properties coupled with Velcro cuffs and high fleecy neck you’ll stay warm on chilly descents and have the flexibility of ventilation thanks to the mid length zipper. Capable of holding out a shower or two, the Pertex fabric isn’t designed to keep out heavy rain, but with its lightweight properties and good breathability it’s ideal for warm weather use. Best of all the shell packs up into its front zipper pocket and can be stuffed into a jersey pocket.
Male and female versions are available, both with plenty of Scotchlite piping too.



Verdict:
Great for performance use, highly breathable and lightweight too.

Performance:

4/5

Value:
4/5


Gill Ventilator
Price:
£45.99
Web: www.gillbike.com
Contact: Gill Bike – 0115 946 0844
Sizes: S-XL
Colours: Black/Grey, Golden Yellow, Yellow/Grey

A fully waterproof jacket with sealed seams and 2-layer breathable fabric to withstand heavy downpours, yet it still packs away small enough to carry for summer emergencies. It’s highly breathable too and the generous venting at the sides helps keep you cool even with it’s mild and the pressure’s turned up on a training ride. The jacket folds up into its own rear pocket and Velcro straps can be attached to the frame. The design is comfortable for on and off the bike use with articulated arms and drop down rear hem for comfort and a dry bum.
Good value for money and capable of some winter use too, so you could make this your only jacket, the two way storm zip is handy to adjust ventilation and the unique collar adjustment avoid bunching and bulk round the neck.



Verdict:
A well priced and serious jacket capable of more than summer use.

Performance:

4/5

Value:
4/5


Lusso Aquacape
Price:
£19.99
Web: www.lusso.co.uk
Contact: Lusso – 0161 724 5222
Sizes: S-XXL
Colours: yellow

A bargain cape that stuffs easily into a jersey pocket, if space is at a premium then you’ll be glad of a jacket that packs down small and neatly, there’s no excuse to leave the house empty handed now! The Aquacape is not fully waterproof but can handle a good shower and will keep you dry unless it really starts to pours down, the breathable panels help to keep moisture from sweating to a minimum. At this price you can’t expect to stay dry and have total breathability, however the Aquacape does a decent job for short rides and commutes. It’s highly visible and perfect for riding to work through the dryer months, the long tail design helps keep your bum dry from road spray too.



Verdict:
Lightweight and packs into a compact bundle for easy stowage, great value too!

Performance:

3/5

Value:
5/5


Nike Rain Shell
Price:
£49.95
Web: www.trekbikes.com
Contact: Trek UK – 01908 282626
Sizes: S-XXL
Colours: White/clear

A breathable jacket that keeps out the rain and keeps you dry from the inside too, with the microfibre polyester mesh liner that moves seat away from the skin quickly. The large rear flap allows excess heat to escape and lets vapour and moisture out too, so you shouldn’t overheat.
The roomy pocket on the rear has a zip opener and is fitted with a large reflective strip for night time safety.
The Rain Shell doesn’t pack up as small as the Lusso jacket but it’s still reasonable and most of the bulk is due to the long rear flap, which, when it does pour down, you’ll be grateful for. Draughts are kept at bay thanks to the cord pull hem and elastic waist and cuffs and the lined collar is a touch of luxury too.



Verdict:
A comfortable and waterproof jacket, with breathable fabric.

Performance:

4/5

Value:
4/5


Gore Paclite lll
Price:
£144.95
Web: www.gorebikewear.com
Sizes: S-XXL
Colours: Royal/Stone, Red/Black, Yellow/Black

A super lightweight and high performance jacket constructed from Gore-Tex Paclite, it weighs in at 30g lighter than last year’s model apparently. The Paclite fabric has amazing breathability and folds up really small as no inner liner is required making it more packable than 2 and 3 layer Gore-Tex fabric jackets.
Stormproofing is good with concealed zips, adjustable wrist cuffs and a cord to keep draughts out at the collar. Fit is comfortable with a Raglan cut, making the shoulders more waterproof by positioning seams away from shoulder and where rucksac straps contact, the long drop down tail keeps rain away from the bum and lower back. The jacket packs away into its own rear pocket and has attachments to be carried on the frame or attached to the saddle rails.



Verdict:
Great for performance use, highly breathable and lightweight too.

Performance:

5/5

Value:
4/5

Author’s pick

You don’t have to spend much on a summer jacket, but the more you spent the more breathable the fabric will be, providing enhanced comfort and greater performance. If you ride hard or commute long distances we’d recommend the Gore Paclite lll for full waterproof and highly breathable jacket that will last well too and could cope in winter with the right layers underneath. If you don’t need that kind of weatherproofing and want a compact stowable jacket for occasional use the Lusso Aquacape is a useful option.
The Gill Ventilator and Parrot Amazon are equally good value for money, whilst the Gill offers full waterproofing with slightly heavier fabric and sealed seams, both fit the mid market requisites well though and it’s a tough choice between the two.
We liked the Nike Rain Shell too, with its durable and lightweight fabric that breaths well, not a bad price either at just under £50.
Overall the Gore Paclite wins for performance and if you can afford it then why not go for the best.



Got any hot picks of your own for rain jackets? Tell us about them on the forum, or review your own jacket in the member review section.

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