Sugoi is so confident in the breathability of the new RSE rain jacket that they designed it without vents.
What's the No. 1 reason cyclists hate putting on rain jackets? While they may keep the water falling from the sky from soaking you, most do a poor job of letting the sweat and heat from your body escape. This is why the folks at Sugoi were so excited to show off a pair of new-for-fall rain jackets at Bike PressCamp 2013 in Deer Valley, Utah.
The jackets, one for mountain (dubbed the RSX), and a slimmer fitting model for road (the RSE), are constructed from Polartec's soft-to-the-touch NeoShell fabric. Obviously the main objective is to keep you dry, but if Sugoi's impressive demo is to be believed, the fabric also is incredibly breathable.
As you can see in the photo below, two jackets - one made with Polartec NeoShell, the other not - were sandwiched between a pair of columns. Both jackets had no problem keeping water in the upper column from dripping through to the bottom (aka, rain). But when air was pumped into the lower chamber (aka heat, sweat, etc) the difference was palpable. The "other" jacket didn't breath at all, while the bubbles on the left show how much the NeoShell does breath.
If this demo is to be believed, cyclists may no longer hate rain jackets.
Is that exactly what happens in the real world? Probably not. But Sugoi are so confident in the fabric's breathability that the jackets were constructed without traditional venting. The Canadian company even went so far as to enter into an exclusive agreement with Polartec, making it the only apparel maker able to use the NeoShell fabric in cycling wear through 2014.
The road'centric, snug fitting RSE with back pockets will set you back $280, while the looser fitting mountain bike model with removable hood and side pockets is set to retail for $300. Neither jacket will pack down into jersey pocket size, but Sugoi is banking on the fact that you wont bring it along unless you're really going to need it - and you wont have to take it off when the rain lets up because it breaths so well.
During our 40 minutes with Sugoi, we also got a look at their new-for-2014 flagship jersey ($200) and bibs ($230) combo. Dubbed RSE, for Racing System Elite, it has bonded seams, aero bands on the sleeves and leg openings, a mesh back, and four rear pockets, including one with a zipper. The bibs are equipped with an Italian-made Formula FXE chamois pad that is infused with gel for extra dampening on rough roads.
We also got a look at the women's specific RS Pro Bib with Pitstop Interface. As the name implies, this $160 bibshort is Sugoi's answer to, what does a woman do when it's time to go to the bathroom? Instead of having to pull off the jersey to then remove shoulder straps, this bibshort has two removable shoulder straps that unclip in the front. That allows the bottoms to drop. When business is done, pull the strap back down, re-clip, and pedal on.
No need to take the jersey all the way off thanks to a pair of suspender clips.