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Okay, so this has been reviewed and given the plaudits by such sites such as The Washing Machine Post and Road.cc, so it would be easy to end this review here with: ‘what they said’. I’m not going to do that though because I know how much you’re dying to hear me to add to those said plaudits.
Cycling jackets are pretty much something which, if you’re going to become an active cyclist (commuter or more), you should invest in a good one. Meaning a significant investment on your part to get hold of something that will not only last the test of time and the weather, but also give you those functions you demand from a cycling jacket. Traversing the paths and roads on a non-cycle specific jacket just won’t give you the protection you need from whatever the day has for you whilst your pedaling.
There are loads of them, loads and loads and loads. A lot of them are great, but a lot of them aren’t great, so we’ll concentrate on those that fall in the top part of great cycling jackets, the Vulpine softshell.
A softshell is a great idea for your cycling jacket as it’s an all rounder. A powerhouse and will protect from nearly all the weather conditions the isles of Britain have instore for you (thrashing down rain will need something stronger) This is one said powerhouse and although designated as showerproof it does put up a jolly good fight in the lower part of the waterproof bracket although as I say heavy rain will probably be too much after a time on the bike. I say after a time, as I survived a good 10 minute pummeling from the heavens without feeling the effects of the rain attack. The great thing about the Vulpine softshell is that it drys quickly, so if you cycle in the morning rain to work you’ll be facing it dry again when you cycle home in the evening showers.
The Vulpine softshell comes with laser cut ventilation, helping make it very breathable which is perfect for a cycling jacket as you won’t get wet inside from heavy riding and stay at an even temperature throughout your ride making it an ideal jacket for more of the year. It also comes with a lightweight fleece inner that mixed with the outer fabric makes the jacket windproof as well, as I said: a powerhouse! During the really, really cold months it will need a bit of padding to keep you totally warm a base and mid layer and possibly a fleece and you’ll be good to go.
So, as function goes, the Vulpine softshell is certainly a great jacket but there’s the look and style to consider and Vulpine just comes and plants a very stylish flag in the middle of that area. A slick and sharp look with strong ties to military tailoring comes into view when you examine the softshell. A nice cut along the shoulders gives a really smart look it’s also fitted nicely to the contours of the body, another nod towards functionality, but also a strong nod to the fine tailoring that’s gone into crafting this jacket.
It’s superbly well made, quality exudes from every breathable pore of it’s being and the minimal design means it’s the definition of the stylish jacket perfect for on and off the bike. Reflective patches feature on the shoulders but are designed in such a way they fit the design perfectly. It’s not short of a pocket or 5 and best of all is the zip on the sleeve – ideal for access whilst pedalling. The 2 main pockets either side at the lower half of the jacket are finally tailored and are magentically sealed. There is pockets at the rear – an open one for quick access and a zipped one for more valuable cargo.
A real nice touch is the fold back sleeves with reflective patches underneath which really helps being seen signalling in the dark (I really must remember to use them next time) also another nice touch is the fold out splash guard at the bottom of the back of the jacket a must for wet roads to protect one’s posterior from grime and slime. As with the main pockets this is magnetically sealed. I must say I’m not at all convinced by magnetic seals – the collar too closes that way and I find it always opening and the splash guard always falling down. I think this is down to personal preference in the end though, but I would prefer a clip or trusty Velcro. Still it does give the jacket an identity and a very nifty idea when it comes to functional areas on a jacket, although I think it works a lot better on the Cleverhood rain cape.
The magnetic seals aside this shouldn’t and doesn’t take away that buying the Vulpine softshell is a fantastic investment and one that you will not regret. At £170 (although around £40 cheaper at Cycle Surgery) that seems a very good price for a jacket that comfortably achieves the majority of what you need from a cycling jacket. In fact most commuters/cyclists will never need another jacket as this stylish piece of cycling clothing is a great coat for about town and meeting friends (providing you keep the splash guard clipped up).
So I add my plaudits to the pack – superlatives aplenty – this is an excellent, very well made stylish cycling jacket – you’d be hard pushed to find many better. Bravo.
You can buy the Vulpine softshell jacket for £170 from the Vulpine shop or from Cycle Surgery for £131.42.