Review: Showers Pass Men’s Ultralight Wind Jacket

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There are rain jackets and there are wind jackets and the Showers Pass Ultralight falls in the latter of the two categories without question. Its intent is to offer maximum protection for unexpected climate shifts while not being overly cumbersome to stuff in your back pocket or hip-sack.

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Without the aid of taped seams, the jacket is not waterproof but the PFC-free fabric offers DWR coating and will allow you get through light rain without any issues. The jacket also features elastic at the cuffs and a YKK zipper, which finishes off-center at the collar to provide added comfort around the neck and chin. The back of the jacket features reflective piping that runs from the collar down to the armpits on each side and the reflective Shower Pass logo on the drop tail. When not in use the jacket packs nicely into its own little drawstring-closed stuff sack.

This is all fairly straightforward and what one would expect from a budget-friendly wind jacket, right? What sets this jacket apart is that Showers Pass added a breathable, stretchy mesh that runs from the underside of each arm to the armpit and then down the sides of the chest to increase breathability while you fight off the headwinds and rain. I typically run too hot to wear a jacket even in sub-freezing temperatures and always found vests to be a better option for me personally. This Showers Pass Ultralight may be the one exception I’ve found. The breathable mesh on the sides of the jacket kept me from overheating while keeping my core warm enough on the cold, windy, damp commutes this spring.

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However, for an Ultralight jacket, I was not impressed with its packability. There are fully waterproof hooded jackets available that are both lighter and more compact than this Ultralight jacket. I would also prefer to see that the jacket packs into itself rather than into a stuff-sack that will ultimately just end up getting lost when the jacket is frantically pulled out mid-ride.

Fit is personal; we are all shaped a bit differently and when looking for garments which require the desired fit, I would highly suggest going to a shop and getting a first-hand look. The size large jacket I tested here is not an ideal fit for me–it is baggy in most places but the front of the jacket just barely reaches my waistline. I typically don’t experience fit issues like this, I am either a medium or large based on the type of cut.

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Additionally, I found that the jacket had a tendency to flap around heavily once I started to pick up speed on the bike.  Even with the jacket fully-zipped, the shoulders would thrash about in fury as I made my way down the hillside.

Overall, I think there are better options out there depending on what features you value most–breathability, water-resistance, weight, and size. If you are simply looking for an inexpensive breathable jacket to help get you through that random mid-ride storm cloud then the Showers Pass Ultralight jacket will do a fine job. Showers Pass Men’s Ultralight Wind Jacket retails for $80.

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Review: Women’s Club Ride Tour Pant

Club Ride Apparel specializes in bike-centric, functional clothing that is also fashionable and comfortable for everyday living. As the brand’s website pronounces, “Life doesn’t stop after your ride, and neither should your clothes.”

While a change of clothes after a wet, muddy, sweaty mountain bike ride is more than welcome, there are plenty of instances when riding bikes is much less separate from the rest of life than a dedicated trip to the woods. Ride to the party, to work, to the coffee shop or local bar to meet up with some friends or to the grocery store, and most of us don’t want to deal with bringing a change of clothes or let the entire world know that we just rode our bikes.

Club Ride does a nice job of integrating cycling-specific features in “normal-looking” garments that serve a purpose that reaches far beyond the bike. Recently I’ve been rocking the Tour Pants, which look like normal pants but include a number of features that make them comfortable and functional on a bike as well.

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The 95% Nylon/5% Spandex blend offers stretch for freedom of movement during athletic pursuits, as well as moisture-wicking, quick-drying and water-resistance properties. The cut features an extra high back to provide sufficient coverage while cycling and prevent them from riding down. The pants have front and rear pockets similar to normal jeans, as well as a side leg pocket that doesn’t cause discomfort or interfere with riding. Other ride-oriented features include a gusseted crotch and reflective accents.

Club Ride offers two different “styles” of fit for all its clothing: Comfort and Sport. Comfort Fit features extra technical features and a more relaxed, loose fit, while Sport Fit is a little tighter and more styled for post-ride pursuits while maintaining great functionality while on the bike. The Tour Pants fit the Sport category and are generally meant to be fairly form-fitting, so keep that in mind when sizing.

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Overall, I found that these pants (as well as a few other Club Ride bottoms that I’ve worn lately) run a little large on the waist. For reference, I’m a 27-inch waist and 33-inch hip. According to Club Ride’s size chart, I am solidly a small based on my waist measurement and an extra small based on my hips. I originally asked for a small, but it turns out that the extra small fit way better and wasn’t at all too tight at the waist despite the size chart hinting otherwise. Just keep this in mind when purchasing, but don’t let it discourage you from purchasing, because these pants are awesome.

Sizing snafus worked out, I began turning to the Tour Pants as a daily driver no matter what my activity, from riding bikes around Philadelphia and hanging out at the Philly Bike Expo to riding down the street to the local backwoods bar. They are also great for non-bike-related outdoor pursuits, such as hiking or canoeing. I would even wear the black ones as dress pants and they could pass off as such with a nice sweater for those holiday parties (and, even better, you could ride there comfortably!).

The Tour Pants from Club Ride are versatile outdoor pants for just about any pursuit, not just riding bikes. Water-resistance, comfortable stretch and breathability make them superior to denim for such activities, but they’re stylish enough that no one will ever know you are wearing bike pants, unless they are in the know. There’s a place for these in your wardrobe, even if you rarely wear them on a bike.

Price: $99.95
Sizes: XS (tested), S, M, L, XL

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Win a Pactimo Reflective Kit

Contest ended. Congrats to James Cook of Amarillo, TX!

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The promotion you are trying to access has ended.

Pactimo has partnered with us to give one lucky winner a pair of Summit Raptor 2.0 RT Bib Shorts and a Summit RT Jersey. Enter to win below.

 

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Pactimo, a Colorado manufacturer of premium cycling apparel, has developed this endurance kit for cyclists who regularly ride 6+ hours at a time or who want the ultimate in comfort. A good pair of padded shorts can make a world of difference on long distance rides and these bibs are designed for long miles. The kit has a compression fit and Pactimo’s proprietary Reflective Technology (RT) in the arm, rear and leg grippers for increased safety in low light conditions and inclement weather.

Winner can select color, size and gender preference.

Complete the survey below the video by 11:59 p.m., February 08, 2016 to be entered to win. We will choose and notify a winner the following day. Some terms and conditions apply, but don’t they always? Open to U.S. residents, only. Sorry, but that’s not our choice.

If you are on a mobile device, click here to take the survey.

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Bicycle Times Issue #40 is here!

Two-wheeled travel has always been a lightning rod for innovation. Steel tubing, ball bearings and pneumatic tires can all trace their origins to bicycle applications. By the late 19th century a full one-third of all U.S. patent applications were for bicycle-related designs, according to the Franklin Institute. Some interesting ones we found include a sail-powered bike (Patent No. 6932368), a double bicycle for “looping the loop” in circus performances (No. 790063) and a wild one-wheel bicycle with the rider sitting inside the wheel (No. 325548).


Get a copy: You can order Bicycle Times Issue #40 here.


Of course the bicycle builds on inventions that came before it. The wheel is seen as perhaps the greatest invention of all time, and its creation is a far more complex tale than the bicycle’s. In this issue we excerpt a portion of Richard W. Bulliet’s book, “The Wheel,” that documents how there are actually three distinct types of wheels, each with its own origin story.

Since the “ordinary” design with two wheels of the same diameter was introduced in the 1870s, the bicycle has largely rolled along an evolutionary path. But now with the introduction of so many new technologies so quickly, will the bicycle be radically transformed from the simple, mechanical form we know it as today? And how will our experience interacting with it change? See some of the interesting examples that could represent the future—or failure—in this issue.

And what about the bikes themselves? How are they changing? We got our hands of one of the most distinct bicycles in years, the new Cannondale Slate, for our lead product review. Its unorthodox and distinctive suspension fork is derived from mountain bikes, and it might take you places on a road bike you could never go before.

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The best thing about technology is that it is always expanding. Old technologies are rarely lost. Bicycles are still being ridden that are generations old, but still bring a smile to our faces and wind across our cheeks. Whether your interest in technology celebrates the new or the old, the bicycle has something for everyone.

In this issue

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Inventing the wheel

The history of wheeled travel is diverse, opinionated and often circumspect. In this excerpt from “The Wheel,” by Richard W. Bulliet, we learn how something as ubiquitous as the wheel isn’t as simple as you might think.

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Wear with care

Proper cycling apparel is an investment, and if you want it to stay functional and comfortable for the long haul, you need to take care of it. We discuss textiles and apparel care with the experts.

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Bikes in paradise

On the tiny Marshall Islands there are no private vehicles, so bicycles are the only way to roll. And just as Darwin would have predicted, there they have evolved some distinguishing characteristics all their own. By Jordan Vinson.

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Bike to the future

The cycling industry has always drawn entrepreneurs and innovators. Take a look at some of the ideas that could change the way you ride. By Adam Newman.

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How LED Lights Work

Learn how these tiny diodes can emit such powerful light. By Karl Rosengarth.

Plus

Catching up with Charlie Kelly

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Product reviews

  • Cannondale Slate
  • Felt V55
  • Scott Sub EVO 20
  • Faraday Porteur
  • GT Traffic 1.0
  • Bike lights
  • Commuting gear
  • Shoes and pedals
  • Electronics
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Boost your luck with the Aero Tech Designs St. Patrick’s Day jersey

Our friends over at Aero Tech Designs have a sense of humor when it comes to their holiday jersey designs. After unveiling some special “holiday technology” with their winter jersey, the latest is this… um… distinctive St. Patrick’s Day kit.

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By mid-March we’re all ready to shake off the winter cobwebs and get back to full-time biking, so if you want to start the season with a little luck-‘o-the-Irish, this is your ticket. Whether you’re celebrating with green snacks or green-tinted-beer, everyone will know you’re ready to party.

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You can pre-order a jersey before February 15 for $70, and $80 after that. They are expected to ship on February 22, so there’s plenty of time before the big day.

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Aero Tech Designs unveils special holiday technology

American cycling apparel manufacturer Aero Tech Designs has unveiled the Ugly X-mas Jersey 2.0 with holiday technology. Available for a limited time only, this jersey was created for the all-around, off-season holiday party animal. Perfect for events at the office or going out for a classy dinner with that special someone.

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New for 2015 is the Holiday Performance Enhanced Fabric that will keep you warm and toasty this winter. The fabric is engineered specifically for holiday over-eating and post-ride beers. It will keep your midsection supported through holiday dinners so you can conquer all manner of cake, pie, cookie and nog post dinner.

The Ugly X-mas Jersey 2.0 is a cycling jersey at heart and is best used to shred up fresh powder on your fat bike. The three rear pockets are custom shaped to fit exactly one dozen cookies (or two pieces of pumpkin pie) in the middle pouch and two side pockets for your favorite bottle of beer or cider. Perfect for the go-getter holiday cyclist on the move.

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Every Ugly X-mas Jersey 2.0 is made by elves at the Aero Tech Designs Top Secret Holiday Laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There it is sewn by X-mas tree light while Alvin and Chipmunks and Nat King Cole echo in the sound proof walls.

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Let the X-mas Jersey be your go-to gift this holiday season. The inner neck line of the jersey is sublimated with special “To:” and “From:” tags. This will ensure that your thoughtful gift will keep on giving for many rides to come; on the other hand, the tag is on the inside of the neck line and if you don’t like who gifted you the jersey, you’ll never be able to see their name while wearing the jersey. Win-Win!

The Aero Tech Designs Ugly X-mas Jersey 2.0 and other USA-made cycling gear is available at the Aero Tech Designs website.

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Giro’s new Chrono line adds style to speed

Giro’s New Road line of clothing has offered a different take on the all-lycra-all the time status quo of road cycling. But lycra has its place too and the three-tiered Chronos line is a less garish way to dress for speed on a bike with subdued style and lots of options for women as well.

Chrono Pro: All-­out Road Performance

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The Chrono Pro Bib is the result of over two years of exhaustive design, research, and testing. All-­day comfort comes from a host of performance features, including the custom Chrono Pro chamois, custom bib straps, and a unique lumbar support panel. The Chrono Pro Jersey pairs lightweight and breathable fabrics for the best fitting performance jersey possible. Subtle design benefits include a tapered collar and secure zip pocket that features a moisture barrier for your valuables.

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  • Chrono Pro Jersey/ Chrono Pro Women’s Jersey: $180
  • Chrono Pro Bib: $250
  • Chrono Pro Women’s Short: $150

Chrono Expert: Make a Statement on the Pavement

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The Chrono Expert Bib utilizes premium Italian materials to ensure the right blend of compression, comfort, and durability. Also available as a short, this bib features a custom Chrono Expert chamois, developed in partnership with Cytech. For women, the Chrono Expert Halter bib pairs the performance of a bib with the convenience of a short, with a unique breathable mesh halter that can easily be pulled over the head for nature breaks. The Chrono Expert Jersey features stretch wicking polyester in a contoured, race fit.

  • Chrono Expert Jersey/ Chrono Expert Women’s Jersey: $100
  • Chrono Expert Bib/ Chrono Expert Women’s Halter Bib: $150
  • Chrono Expert Short $120

Chrono Sport: Elegant and Affordable Essentials

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The Chrono Sport Bib is an affordable option with many of the design features of its higher end companions such a custom chamois developed with Cytech, mesh shoulder straps, and a radio pocket, while the Chrono Sport short is priced within reach of every enthusiast. The Chrono Sport Jersey has a more forgiving performance fit with a mesh back panel for ventilation, three cargo pockets, and features 90 percent polyester and 10 percent elastane for a comfortable fit..

  • Chrono Sport Jersey/ Chrono Sport Women’s Jersey: $80
  • Chrono Sport Bib: $120
  • Chrono Short Short/ Chrono Sport Women’s Short: $80

The full line can be found at Giro’s website.

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