Words: Katherine Moore (@katherinebikes)
Designed by Evans Cycles’ own clothing team, the FWE Coldharbour waterproof jacket and gloves are a strong choice for any hardy city commuter when the weather turns foul, or the devoted road cyclist who wants to stay seen in a downpour.
Dark evenings and inclement weather are no match for this kit; thoughtfully designed to withstand the best of British, from icy mornings to gales and torrential rain. Choosing the right kit lets you focus on remaining safe in the saddle and getting to your destination in comfort.
Coldharbour Womens Waterproof Jacket
When it comes to being seen, it doesn’t get much brighter than FWE’s Coldharbour jacket. Fully flouro for daytime visibility and with taped reflective detailing across the shoulders, arms, collar and back for hours of darkness, you’ll have the best chances of being spotted on the road. But there’s so much more to this essential winter commuter’s staple than first meets the eye.
The shaping of the waterproof jacket is incredibly practical without leaving you feeling like another member of the hi-vis brigade. With enough space for layering on colder days, it’s easy to throw on over lycra underlayers or even a casual outfit to nip out in the evening. FWE have managed this without producing a baggy, shapeless jacket, as the clever cut nips in at the waist and flares at the hips, producing an unmistakably feminine outline. Then there’s the adjustables - an elastic pull cord on the hem and velcro sleeve cuffs help to optimise the fit and exclude any chilly draughts.
The jacket material, although slightly rigid to hold its shape, is stretchy to aid comfort in the saddle, as well as the soft fleece lined collar and zip housing that prevent any sores. The Coldharbour is a versatile outer layer, available in a wide range of sizes from XS to XXL and also comes in navy blue with the same reflective detailing. At a retail price of £84.99, this is fantastic value for a highly technical jacket that’ll keep you on the road all winter long.
Evans claims that their FWE kit has been “Avidly tested by our cycling mad staff on the roads and trails of West Sussex and Surrey", which is totally believable when it comes to the jacket, packed with commuter friendly features, such as the chest ‘napoleon’ pocket. Large enough for a phone, cash or set of keys, it’s a great way of keeping valuables close to hand and gives that peace of mind that they’re safe.
On the rear of the jacket, sitting on the lower back is a single large pocket. With zip entries on either side, it’s the perfect size for a number of items from essential bike tools through to the last ingredients for dinner. In winter we always seem to be carrying more with us on our bikes; extra layers or snacks, so this large pocket comes in very handy indeed.
So just how waterproof is the FWE Coldharbour jacket? With fully taped seams, zips and specialist three layer fabric, the jacket withstands precipitation from a light drizzle to torrential rain. Droplets bead instantly on contact and simply roll off the fabric. What’s even more impressive is that the jacket also remains both warm and breathable at the same time, unlike some waterproofs that’ll keep the rain away but make you sweat buckets inside!
Available in sizes XS - XL, in Yellow or Black. Reduced from £84.99 to £67.99 - see it here.
Coldharbour Waterproof Gloves
These women’s-specific waterproof gloves are well insulated with a fleecy lining, without feeling too bulky like you’re heading for the slopes. Unlike some other gloves, this inner is well attached and stays in place when taking your hands in and out of the gloves mid-ride. The Coldharbour gloves keep fingers feeling toasty when tested right down to minus five, however the length of the cuff was disappointing. The gap between the end of the gloves, barely passing the wrist, and the start of the jacket leads to chills even with the adjustable width cuffs on both items.
The fit of the gloves is good, with women’s specific sizing from XS-XL giving more attention to differences in hand shapes between men and women. Although normal dexterity is sacrificed for the waterproof layering, at this time of the year keeping warm and comfortable is much more important.
FWE Coldharbour gloves boast an array of different textured external materials, including a flannel-like wipe and reflective strips that aids a cyclist’s visibility in the dark, especially when indicating. Palm-side, they have a combination of grippy fabric and gel cushioning, improving rider comfort, both on longer rides and for absorbing small shocks like hitting minor potholes common on urban road surfaces. Should the worst happen and you take a fall from your bike, these thick gel pads should also take the brunt of the damage to your precious hands.
When the weather turns foul, these gloves really live up to their name. Just like the jacket, water beads immediately and runs off the gloves, leaving your hands warm and dry, in total control of your bike.
At only £30.00 RRP, these Evans own-brand gloves certain pack in many well-designed features that make the idea of riding in our British winter much more bearable. Although great value, some materials could be more durable, with some fraying evident on the fingertips after only five uses.
Available in sizes XS - XL, reduced from £30 to £23.99 - see them here.
Evans Cycles’ own clothing range FWE here offers a number of winter staples at great value without compromising on the style and features that you would expect from well established technical brands.
The women’s Coldharbour waterproof jacket is a versatile and reliable outer shell for the winter rider, suitable for both rainy and cold days, with excellent resistance to water, wind and suitable for layering in the cold. Well considered features make it an excellent choice for the commuter, keeping you safe and comfortable at great value.
The FWE women’s Coldharbour waterproof gloves are great entry-level winter choice, technically fabricated, well insulated and keep fingers warm and dry in minus temperatures. It’s a real shame that the cuff of the gloves isn’t any longer though, as the resulting exposed wrist gap is enough to make you very cold. A longer cuff and slight change to the material used on the fingertips and these would be the ideal winter gloves at a fantastic price.
See more winter clothing reviews to keep you riding til spring here.