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Commuting

Review: Madison Flo Women’s Softshell Jacket

A comfy and well-made jacket that's great off the bike and ideal for gentle rides and commutes in chilly weather

The Madison Flo Softshell Jacket is an all-purpose cycling jacket, that features a slightly different make up to the Flo Waterproof Jacket which is 100% mountain bike specific.  We know the Softshell version performs well as a mountain bike option as resident shredder and Staff Writer Jess loves hers, but we thought we’d try it as a commuting option, so sent one to contributor Laura Laker to put it through its paces – here’s what she found… 

The Madison Flo Women’s softshell jacket is unlike any other cycling jacket I’ve tried – mainly for the fact it doesn’t look or feel like a cycling jacket – but bear with me on this.

Womans Cycle Jackets_033

The jacket itself is good looking on and off the bike– I tried the aqua blue model and it looks sporty without being dayglow. It fits nicely over normal and cycle-specific clothing, and the finish is high quality, with seams and toggles hidden from view to give the jacket nice, clean lines. There’s a lot of panels, including on the sleeves, to shape the jacket, which make for a flattering fit, albeit one with room for layers underneath. It’s also very comfortable, with fleecy lining and no rucking of material or digging from things like zips on or off the bike.

However, this could just as easily be, say, a walking jacket, as one for cycling.

hood

The most stand-out atypical thing, for an item that purports to be a cycling jacket, is the fact there’s a hood. However, this actually works pretty well on the bike. Along with two toggles sewn inside the hood lining to adjust, with rubber grippers on the material so you know where they’re hidden, there’s another toggle underneath a small storm flap at the hood’s rear to pull it back off your face. The combination of these mean when adjusted, the hood turns with you when you check over a shoulder. There are also laser-cut breathing holes at the bottom front of the hood for breathability, though they sit under the chin.

Another unusual thing is that the two front pockets and one rear key pocket come with regular, non-waterproof zips, albeit reverse coiled types (so the zip mechanism is concealed). The main front zip is a large-tooth regular plastic zip, another odd choice for a cycling jacket, though it does have an internal ‘storm flap’ to stop the weather blowing straight in.

sleeve

One detail that stood out was the way the sleeves can be pulled very small, via Velcro adjusters, while there’s hidden toggles to pull the bottom of the jacket in – great for keeping the wind out, exactly as a softshell should. There’s also some neat little silicone grippers on the shoulders to help keep a rucksack or cross-body bag in place.

grip

Material-wise, the jacket features 3-layer 10,000mm waterproofing, which in human terms means it’ll resist light rain. The inside layer is the fleecy one which means it’s soft and warm, yet despite this there’s some breathability too, which should suit a moderate level of exertion. I did find I became pretty warm when ramping up the effort – but Madison have an answer for this too! When the going gets tough, the pockets double as air vents: when you open them up, their mesh inside lining lets the wind in. This falls apart, of course, if you use pockets to hold stuff.

pocket

This jacket performs perfectly as a general sports item – though cycling specific touches feature with the slightly scooped rear, spare length in the arms and a little rear pocket. If a casual all-rounder for wearing on and off the bike is what you’re after, it’s a great option. On gentle rides it became a go-to jacket for me, and the aqua blue proved popular with my friends. I’d say it is best placed for leisure rides and swift commutes when the weather really hits the colder climates.

The jacket is available in sizes 8-16 and costs £99.99 – check it out here. 

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