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With its paw print logo, Jack Wolfskin apparel is readily recognisable, especially in its bread-and-butter world of hiking and leisure wear.
Recently, the brand has gotten into cycling apparel and now produces a range of items designed for city cycling or riding to work.
The Bike Commute Mono is waterproof and windproof cycling jacket sold in both men’s and women’s variants. Is it any good?
Jack Wolfskin Bike Commute Mono Jacket
A waterproof cycling jacket designed primarily for urban use. Features fully taped seams, decent waterproof and breathability ratings plus innovative use of recycled materials.
- Restrained looks
- Good neutral fit for city cycling
- Uses recycled materials and can be recycled
- Range of sizes and colours
- Four pockets
- The hood can’t be stowed or removed
- Lacks breathability
Jack Wolfskin Bike Commute Mono Jacket Key Features
With a long history, Jack Wolfskin is a behemoth in the outdoor world – certainly in central Europe and the United States. Buy one of their items of clothing and you can be confident in its ability to perform its job.
The Bike Commute Mono Jacket has a number of key features – here are a few that I noticed when I wore it in a variety of situations.
Texapore Ecosphere Core
Like many outdoor clothing brands, Jack Wolfskin has slapped a brand (Texapore) on the material it uses for manufacturing different clothing items. The company has four different tranches of Texapore: Core, Pro, Ecosphere Core and Ecosphere Pro.
Texapore Ecosphere Core is the exact variation of the material used in the Bike Commute Mono Jacket. According to Jack Wolfskin, the Ecosphere Core variant of Texapore features the first waterproof outer material made from 100% recycled material.
The membrane of the material is also made using offcuts and the lining of the jacket is made from recycled content. The whole jacket, minus the reflective elements, is also recyclable.
Not only is Texapore Ecosphere Core made from recycled material (old PET water bottles to be exact), but it’s manufactured – to quote Jack Wolfskin – “using a reduced amount of CO₂.” If you’re into your sustainability, it would be nice to know the exact ins and outs of the manufacturing process, but hey, I suppose that’s better than no detail at all.
Ecosphere Core has a waterproof rating of 10,000mm – that’s the minimum rating for a fully waterproof jacket – and in our tests, the jacket stood up well to a good dousing. Wearing it in constant light rain and occasional heavy showers, I remained dry and happy.
The jacket is more waterproof than the Rapha Commuter Lightweight Jacket but similar to the Helly Hansen Ride Hood Cycling Rain Jacket.
The Texapore Ecosphere Core material has a breathability rating of 6,000 g/m2/24h. In my experience, although I do run hot, the jacket did feel a tad sweaty in temperatures of 15° or more – worse when I started to press on the pedals trying to make an appointment.
Because it’s primarily designed for commuting, the Bike Commute Mono has a relaxed fit. It’s not super tight, nor super loose. It can be worn under a couple of layers with no problem and the fit ensures you won’t look out of place when off the bike.
I wore it with a basic T-shirt on warmer, wetter days and on colder commutes over a technical tee and a softshell fleece. For reference, I’m wearing the XXL size.
During a couple of unseasonably cold spring days, with the jacket zipped all the way up, it felt reassuringly snug. Around the collar and neck area, there’s a section of soft material that feels good against the skin.
When wearing the jacket I found that I needed to use the cord around the hem to help the jacket fit my build. This was especially important when wearing the jacket on the bike.
Like most cycling jackets, the Bike Commute Mono has a long tail for extra coverage and well-proportioned sleeves to prevent the material from riding up when reaching for the handlebars.
The sleeve design is worthy of further explanation. An extra semi-circle of material provides good coverage but perhaps more crucially doesn’t look silly off the bike either. Sitting under flaps at the end of each sleeve is a reflective stripe. Turn them up for extra visibility, and flip them back to blend in as you arrive at the office.
Being tall, with long arms, I tend to struggle with sleeve length on all items of apparel but this jacket felt just fine. That said, perhaps it would have been nice to have some velcro straps to cinch the sleeves even tighter or provide a nice fit against some gloves in really bad weather.
In warmer weather, with the top zip and hood pulled down, I did feel the jacket became somewhat baggy and unwieldy. To negate this Jack Wolfskin has included another zipper, that way you can add some extra venting if you feel yourself steaming up.
Other cycling features
The jacket includes a (non-removable or stowable) hood. It’s not big enough to wear with a helmet but when deployed it feels reassuringly snug. A small peak gives the hood structure and prevents water from dripping into your face.
In total, there are four pockets in the jacket. One large one at the rear, two hand pockets and one inside the jacket. The additional pocket inside the jacket is nice. but if I was being picky it would be better if it was zipped, rather than a simple flap.
On the back of the jacket are two vents for extra breathability. Clearly, if you ride with a backpack, they’re not going to be a useful feature, but I found they did a decent job of providing some airflow.
Such is the nature of riding a bike in the rain, it’s wet one minute and dry the next. Thankfully the Bike Commute Mono Jacket is packable and is easily stored inside a backpack, messenger bag or pannier bag. At a shade over 400g in weight, the jacket isn’t a drag to carry.
Despite a few comments from acquaintances like “nice fishing jacket” we like the ‘Grey Olive’ colour that was sent in for review. Because it’s not tight nor luminous yellow it clearly doesn’t mark you out as a cyclist when you’re on foot.
If you’re not a fan of the brown/green colour, a more traditional black is available – both in the men’s and women’s versions of the jacket. Perhaps that’s a better choice if you’d like to tailor the jacket to different outfits off the bike.
Is the Jack Wolfskin Bike Commute Mono Jacket worth it?
At £275/$349.95 there’s no denying the jacket is expensive. The urban jacket segment is competitive and at this price, it’s at the higher end of this market.
That said the jacket clearly has all the important features a cycling garment should have. When all is said and done the jacket is going to do its job, keep you dry when riding a bike in the rain. It marks itself out from the competition by using recycled materials – plus the fact that it can be recycled at the end of its life.
The neutral or relaxed fit means the jacket could easily adapt to some gravel rides or some bikepacking adventures, perhaps just not an all-out road bike ride.
If you are willing to overlook a punchy price, the foibles of the hood and a fairly low breathability rating, buying the Bike Commute Mono wouldn’t be a silly decision.
Where to buy the Jack Wolfskin Bike Commute Mono Jacket
Available to buy directly from Jack Wolfskin’s official website in the UK, US and the EU, the Bike Commute Mono Jacket should be at your door within 5-7 working days, depending on your location.