Karrimor EPO jacket - Bike Magic

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Karrimor EPO jacket

Some years ago Karrimor came out with a Gore-Tex jacket with a difference – it was stretchy. Stretchy fabric has a lot of advantages for bike clothing, allowing the manufacturer to get a close, non-flappy fit without having to put in dozens of seams. And the fewer seams the better, really – fewer joins between bits of fabric means simpler construction and, in the case of waterproof jackets, considerably reduced opportunities for water ingress.

The problem with Karrimor’s stretch Gore-Tex was cost. The fabric was expensive and the finished product was hugely expensive. Enter the EPO jacket made from Karrimor’s own Harikiru stretchy, waterproof and breathable fabric…

There’s more than a touch of the ninja about this jacket, what with its blackness, stretchiness and Japanese characters on the sleeve. As well as being stretchy the fabric is wonderfully soft and has let Karrimor cut a close-fitting jacket that’s a revelation if you’re used to loose, crinkly waterproofs. The stretchiness means no limitations on freedom of movement. Baggy freeride types probably won’t get on with the look, though.

All of the essential features are present and correct. The full-length front zip is of the “inside-out” waterproof type with an internal storm flap. There are two pockets on the front, also with waterproof zips. All the zips are equipped with big glove-friendly pulls. At the top there’s a high microfleece-lined collar with a drawcord and a zipper pouch to avoid neck irritation, at the bottom there’s a drawcord with toggles on both sides and at the ends there are Velcro-fastening cuffs. The blackness is relieved slightly by reflective trim on the back and sleeves.

You don’t get pit zips, but the Harikiru fabric is impressively breathable (if not up to the performance of the eVENT fabric used on Pace’s 3×3 jacket) and a mesh liner keeps any clamminess away from you. And you can wash it in the machine at 40degrees – usual washing powder precautions apply.

Positives: Sleek, comfy, excellent performance
Negatives: Still quite pricey; perhaps not the best colour for commuters


It’s a lot cheaper than the original stretch Gore-Tex jacket but the EPO is still big money (although by no means the most expensive jacket out there). You cut a mean dash for your cash, though, and there’s no questioning the fit and performance. We like.

Performance: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Overall: 4/5


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