I was passed this jacket for review earlier in the year as its medium size is too large for my friend @girodilento. To be fair, medium is a marginal size for me – I would probably opt for a large, however, since it fits me quite well, I was resolved to ride it and review it. The jacket has been hanging on a rail for some time now, awaiting the right weather for a reasonable test of its function.
Such weather presented itself over a single weekend towards the end of 2014, when I wore the jacket on two consecutive days for 50km+ rides, so a total of 100kms and 4 hours or more to find out how it performs.
Both ride routes are very familiar to me, and include a reasonable mix of climbs, flats and descents – but definitely nothing too extreme. Saturday was a miserable day – overcast and dark, with light showers and temperatures as low as zero degrees.
The following day was altogether brighter – one of those crisp, cold
and dry days with sharp winter sunlight. The average temperature,
according to my Garmin Edge, was 3 degrees, although colder in places.On both days I rode during the afternoon as I have several friends who’ve fallen foul of black ice, so I wanted to avoid early mornings when this sort of thing appears more prevalent. In any event, the rides provided a cross section of the sort of weather you could expect to be riding in at this time of year.
Donning the Shutt VR Performance Jacket, the first thing that struck me is that it appears very light in weight – almost insubstantial. Shutt VR say that the garment is crafted from a technically advanced, 3-layer, bonded, Swiss sports fabric. Now, girodilento and I had had a discussion a few weeks ago about how a fleecy warm appearance might provide a placebo effect – the anticipation of warmth maybe contributing to a snug feeling. The Performance Jacket takes no such approach.
On both days I wore the jacket with a lightweight long sleeved base
layer, plus Castelli winter bibs (one day with Windstopper, one day
without), my favoured Woollie Boollie socks, Northwave Fahrenheit GTX winter shoes, Gore winter gloves and a peaked cap beneath my cycling helmet. So, I really felt I was putting a lot of trust in Shutt’s 100 percent windproof promise to keep my core warm. I wasn’t disappointed.
I’d say that the Performance Jacket fully lives up to its windproof
claim. Together with its fleecy lining, the jacket kept me at a very
workable temperature at all times. That’s not to say that I was toasty
warm, to coin a phrase, but that I remained comfortable throughout
both rides. In fact, only my toes were slightly chilled after the
first ride, the rest of the time I felt just fine.
Shutt VR say that in addition to being windproof, the jacket is both
waterproof and highly breathable. I’m a little bit wary of claims like
this; in my experience, things designed to keep moisture out also keep moisture in, while those designed to allow moisture to pass through do so in both directions. To deal with it’s waterproof layer, the rain I rode in was not really heavy enough to give this a proper shakedown. However, it shook off whatever the heavens threw at it us quite adequately.
Inside the jacket, I did get a build up of sweat, making the fleece
lining quite damp. I’m not really sure how you solve this problem –
maybe a better wicking base layer could be the answer. On a cold day, even with the best windstopping fabric in the business, you’re going to get chilled down when descending if the inside of your outer layers is wet. However, in its defence, although my temperature dropped and I was aware of the cold, I wasn’t uncomfortably so wearing the Performance Jacket.
The jacket is made of a rather good looking black fabric outer layer
(with lighter microdots on it), and all the seams have a reflective piped grey finish. The cut is relaxed and allows for additional layering underneath, and thanks to its white side panels, also quite flattering to the shape – if you’re worried about such things. It means that you can keep dry and warm on winters days without looking like a beached seal. Shutt VR have done a nice job with subtle branding and the jacket features two reflective logos, plus the company’s signature rainbow tab.
Elasticated grippers hold the cuffs and the bottom of the jacket
nicely in place, and a full storm flap (again with reflective elements) does a great job keeping moisture thrown up from the road and down from above, off your rear end. I particularly like the high neck of the jacket, which is very effective keeping body warmth in, and the zip garage which deserves a special mention. Finally, no jacket would be complete without pockets and Shutt VR have included two capacious cargo pockets and a waterproof zipped compartment for you mobile phone, money and house key.
Because I’m not experienced in such things and was unsure how
believable manufacturers claims should be, on the first day I packed
the cargo pockets with a Shutt VR lightweight gilet (the same one I
reviewed for this website), a fleece neckie which also serves as a
beanie (both items in case I couldn’t get warm enough), spare tube,
pump, 4 gels, drinks tabs and a flapjack bar. I also had my glasses,
keys, phone and money – you can see how much of a bulge it all created from the picture – but the jacket swallowed it all willingly.
If you’re going to ride outside during winter, a decent jacket is
essential to your wardrobe. On the whole, my opinion is that the Shutt VR Performance Jacket is a great piece of kit, and lives up to the claims which the company makes about it. The fabric is very effective as a windstopper, and certainly weatherproof as far as I tested it – but bear in mind the test didn’t involve full immersion. At an RRP of £149.00, the Shutt VR Performance Jacket is priced in the mid range for a winter jacket and is a lot less than some Italian and UK brand offerings.
Find out more at Shutt’s website: http://www.shuttvr.com/shop/productdetail/Performance-Jacket/
Thanks for reading.