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703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The situation:
After a year away, I'm going back to full time commuting on my bike. This means also dealing with inclement weather. I'm in south eastern Michigan, so we run the gamut from 100°F with 90% humidity in the summer to -20°F with 30 mile an hour winds in the winter. I need a waterproof jacket up to the task.

The Criteria:
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable (zip vents preferable)
  • Seriously, waterproof
  • Pockets - this jacket will have walking around town duties as well.
  • Tolerates riding with a bag

REI is having a sale at the moment and, as a member, I get 20% off something. Timing seems right. The old jacket isn't entirely dead, but it isn't up to a downpour.

The Contenders:
Showers Pass Elite 2.1
Black Diamond Sharp End
Mammut Methow
Castelli Tempesta
Castelli Gabba 2

The Castelli gear isn't at REI, but it's still within my target price range. I don't mind wearing gear that's obviously cycling specific around town, but it has to be comfortable enough that I don't want to rip it off as soon as I can. Room for layering will be important. In the winter I usually ride with a wool t-shirt, 260 gram wool midlayer, and then a hardshell on top. That has me in good shape down to around 10°F. If my shell makes it possible to ride in colder weather, that would be great (right now cold feet and severe frostbite advisories from the weather service are the primary concerns that keep me off the bike below 10°F). If not, that's okay. There are bigger fish to try and when it's that cold rain isn't a consideration anyway.

Please share your thoughts! I have until the end of the month (5/30/2016) to make my purchase.

Bianchi Nuovo Alloro, Lemond Etape
2,299 Posts
I think you need at least two jackets. I am in the Gulf Coast. We have strong thunderstorms come up at any moment, so it is nice to have a rain jacket that folds up really small. I use a Red Ledge Thunderlight jacket. It looks lighter than some of your choices, and I could not imagine wearing anything much heavier on a humid day above 75F. It packs up really small. This would be like having a small umbrella to handle most days' weather, but not all.

In colder weather, I just layer this with whatever. It has a sporty enough cut and feel that I can cycle in it, although I -prefer my cycling-specific Canari jacket for cycling - more form-fitting/less wind resistance and flapping, and longer in the back, but fewer pockets and no venting.

For under $50, you might want to see how versatile the Red Ledge Thunderlight is.

2,580 Posts
I also follow the layers philosophy. It' gives more flexibility. Lots of options for layers allows for riding in any conditions. Wool under the jersey is great for chily fall and spring. Add a jacket/shell for colder winter rides.

Having a windshell of some kind, that has variable breathign options (zipper slots, etc...), combined with a 100% waterproof rain shell that is small and can be carried in a jersey picket is ideal.

Re: the REI sale, I just picked up a Novara Stowable Rain Jacket to deal with pesky northwest spring showers. It's currently on sale for $41. It stays in my jersey pocket on days when rain showers are in the forecast.

I have a couple of options for colder weather that I can wear under that shell.

A Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier jacket is a great wind and rain shell
Men's ELITE Barrier Jacket | Pearlizumi

I also have a Gore Winstopper (older version of this one I think).
Men's OXYGEN WINDSTOPPER® Active Shell Light Jacket | GORE BIKE WEAR®

I like PI and Gore stuff for fit. I'm fairly long torso and arms, and these seem to fit well.

I also have a set of Pearl Izumi thermal arm and leg warmers and a pair of Pearl Izumi thermal tights. Again, I like PI's stuff. It's reasonably priced and fits me well.

I combine these with a variety of base layers depending on how cold and wet it is.

27 Posts
Here are the 2 jackets I use for my trips to Europe each summer. I just got back from Spain this weekend from 2 weeks of riding and I'm glad I brought both jackets. We had rain, cold, and lots of wind the first week so having good gear was a necessity! Also, the fact that they're Gore-Tex allowed me to keep them on longer even when it started to warm up a bit. Nothing sucks more than ruining a good climbing cadence because you overheat and need to stop and shed layers!

I also use a set of Gore Alp-X Windstopper pants but will try proper rain pants next year instead. They tend to soak out after 20 minutes of hard rain and just add to the cold. Since I live in SoCal I don't really have much use for rain gear and they were a compromise that would be ok for my travels plus winter mtn bike rides at night.

Note: The links I provided are of the newest models in the Gore Bike Wear lineup.



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