Oneten, if you’re not familiar, is the in-house clothing brand of Chain Reaction Cycles and the Alpha is a new addition to the range. On paper it certainly appears to offer all the crucial elements required of a winter jacket. The look is akin to Assos, mainly due to the red perforated fabric that makes up the main areas of the jacket, so I was interested to see how it performed.
The jacket is primarily made from two fabrics. The first, used on the front, is made up of a 42 per cent polyamide/nylon, 40 per cent polyester, ten per cent elastane and eight per cent polyurethane mix (got all that?), which has a ‘metallic membrane’ designed to boost insulation and a ribbed lining, again to add warmth but also improve breathability. It’s also said to be windproof and has a waterproof rating of 2,000mm (but in reality the jacket is more accurately described as water resistant).
Taking it out on the road on a cold early spring morning with sideways rain, I was impressed by the insulation and water resistance offered by the fabric, and the jacket continued to hold on to heat after water had soaked in through from cuffs and neck. While the Alpha may not be as effective as a full waterproof jacket and you’d want an additional barrier in heavy and prolonged rain, it does offer a good level of water resistance (for around an hour in fairly persistent rain, or on a day with short on/off showers), coupled with plenty of warmth.
It’s not a lightweight jacket when you pick it up, but while the membrane and the ribbed insulation add a little to the weight, the also add to the effectiveness of the jacket, and it doesn’t feel hefty when on the bike, particularly compared with an alternative jersey and jacket combination which may offer comparable warmth but with extra bulk.
The back of the jacket has a simpler construction, made up of a 76 per cent polyamide and 24 per cent elastane mix, and forgoes any windproofing to improve breathability, offering a more obvious route for heat and moisture to escape.
Overall, I’d describe the fit as average. The fit could be a little closer on the arms, where it feels a little loose, if not baggy. I like the snug neckline and, at the other end a silicone gripper holds the jacket down, while the dropped tail protects the lower back. The cuffs are close and stop any cold air sneaking in but they could do with being a little longer to provide more overlap between gloves and the jacket.
The jacket has a number of nice features, including a good amount of storage thanks to four pockets (two zippered and two side pockets, almost on the hips). The zips are also waterproof, there’s a reflective strip on the rear and the collar is high and fits well.
The Oneten Alpha Winter Jacket can be worn with just a base layer and it’ll keep you comfortable in low temperatures, without any boil-in-the-bag moments. While the fit could be tweaked, on the whole the jacket is very effective in near-freezing early morning conditions and the water resistance will see off mist, road spray or showers, while if you pair the jacket with a jersey then you’re well setup for sub-zero riding.
Note: Oneten are expecting additional stock of the Alpha Winter Jacket in mid-April.