The jacket is a heavyweight piece designed for winter training, made from a fleece-lined windproof and water resistant fabric on the chest, shoulders and arms, and a Roubaix fabric on the rear. There’s plenty of room to store winter riding essentials (food, spare clothing, tools and the like), with three rear pockets, an additional zipped pocket at the rear and a concealed chest pocket.
On the bike, the cut works really well, with a close and contoured fit. The jacket has a pre-curved shape which matches the rider’s position and it feel just right – no flapping fabric, bunching or tight spots.
Once out in the lanes, I noticed how quickly I warmed up – sometimes too much so and you need to carefully select your other layers, but there are additional pit zips under the arms to offer a little more ventilation if required. These zips are easy to undo while riding and have a toggle which is handy to grab when wearing gloves. The pits have a mesh lining so you don’t lose too much heat too quickly, but it helps bring your body temperature down gradually.
Riding in temperatures in the low single figures and hovering around zero, and with a biting wind, the jacket worked well but. in milder and less blustery conditions, it sometimes felt too warm and I was reaching for the zips quickly. At which point you begin to overheat depends on how hot you run generally and your riding intensity, but this remains a really warm jacket.
The windproof fabric works well and does a very good job at keeping a chilly winter breeze at bay, but it lacks breathability when put to the test over short but hard efforts, when moisture can build-up under the jacket. The front chest pocket, in which I carried my phone, is also susceptible to becoming very wet as the pocket isn’t waterproof and is made from the same fabric as the rest of the jacket. Not ideal for keeping electronics dry.
The fit on the cuffs is good and they’re lightly elasticated to provide snug closure over gloves. The elasticated hem, which is lined with silicone gripper, is also very effective and stops the jacket riding up. I like the zip chinguard on the full-length zipper and the zip has a good overlap of fabric behind it to stop wind getting in at this potential weak spot. The neck is lined with a soft fabric which sits smoothly next to the skin and provides a little additional warmth.
The three, open rear pockets are well-sized and double-stitched, so they should prove durable, and, combined with the additional zipped pocket, provide enough room for everything you’re likely to need on a winter’s ride. Speaking of winter, the generous reflective elements on the zip, shoulders, arms and rear pockets make this a very visible jacket in low light, alongside the bold red colour (though the jacket is also available in black, and there’s a women’s version).
The Madison Sportive Men’s Windproof Jacket is best-suited to commuting and long, steady training rides, when you’ll either be stopping and starting at regular intervals, or just steadily rolling along clocking up the mid-winter miles. It’s undoubtedly a very warm and windproof jacket but that comes at a cost when it comes to breathability and things can get pretty sweaty during hard efforts.