Words: Ali Todd
Photos: Ben Winder
It’s about this time of the year that we usually start putting the winter riding gear towards the back of the wardrobe, but this “spring" isn’t having any of it. It’s promising to be a bumper year for waterproof riding jackets, so what should you get? Well here’s one versatile number that covers all of the tick boxes at a price that doesn’t make my eyes water. Sound good? Read on…
This Endura Photon jacket landed at Bike Magic towers a few weeks ago, falling straight into my lap. I’m not usually a Medium in jackets (or any clothing), as I’m about as skinny as you can be before you start to look malnourished. This jacket, however, wasn’t voluminous, even after the “relaxed fit". It’s not tight either, but maybe something to bear in mind.
The detail involved in riding jackets is sometimes overlooked, but it is pretty important. The Photon packs full waterproofing into a jacket that weighs very little, there’s a good size pocket on the back and the hem on the dropped tail is elasticised, along with the cuffs and collar. There aren’t any vents, but there are more important things in life if you’re just looking for a jacket to remove the misery from your weekly soaking-wet ride. Oh, and it packs down to the size of a coke can to go in your backpack/pocket...
So what about the performance on the trails? Well it’s become a staple in my riding wardrobe from the first day I tried it, and for good reason. Firstly, it’s not restrictive in the slightest: you can actually move your arms around without tearing the shoulders off – or pulling the cuffs up to your elbows. Bar the warmth (welcome at the moment, and aided by the combination of multiple base layers and the zip being done up pretty high – in other words it shouldn’t be too hot in warmer springtime weather either), I barely know I have it on. It doesn’t look like something designed with an etch-a-sketch and Microsoft Paint, either, and it’s not a sweat machine. The wind proofing is good, and while it hasn’t been tested in a full-on storm, I appreciate not having a wet back. Finally, there’s no hood, but I find the parachute-esque behaviour of hooded jackets irritating anyway, so I’m quite happy.
So is it an all-round good jacket? Well, I can’t find much to fault. The red colour scheme doesn’t make me look like a site-worker-gone-AWOL, but makes a nice difference to the usual stealth black. So what is wrong? Well don’t expect huge amounts of breathability on long climbs, but I’m yet to find any waterproof that achieves that holy grail of jacket designing.
Overall it’s a good, solid jacket for £70 that’ll see you through a fair bit of the best of British riding (I haven’t tested its rip-proof resilience to the ground, but I don’t intend to) without any problems. Reasonably light on the wallet and light in your backpack, those folk from Edinburgh have done well yet again.
More information: Endura Photon jacket
What Endura says about the Photon jacket:
- Ultra Compact 2.5-Layer waterproof breathable fabric
- Slimline inner storm flap with wrap over zip guard
- Reflective print trims on shoulders and sleeves
- Rear pocket with structured bonded opening
- Elasticated cuffs, hem and neckline
- Complete with mini stuff sack
- Relaxed fit