If you’re looking for a waterproof riding jacket that performs well, fits beautifully and has bags of style, then chances are you’ll be rather taken with the Cloudburst Waterproof Riding Jacket by Flare Clothing.
[related_articles] Designed and made in the UK, the jacket is one of the newest items in the expanding range of products in the Flare Clothing Co. line-up. Founded by Hannah Myers, the gear is developed with extensive feedback and testing by female mountain bikers, and you can tell. The products are popular, and the company is growing rapidly.
The Cloudburst jacket has a feminine cut that’s flattering but not at the expense of performance. It sits loosely over the body, with room for layers or body armour, and it felt plenty comfortable even on long rides of 5 or 6 hours.
I’m a UK dress size 12 and 5’9 tall, and tested the Medium size. I was impressed with the jacket length, which sat down over my hips. I'm fairly curvy, and was initially concerned that the lower hem felt snug around my hips but actually on the bike this meant the jacket stayed in place and didn’t ride up under my rucksack while riding. If you’re less broad of hip, a hidden draw cord will do the same job.
Sleeves are loose enough to fit elbow pads underneath, and the Velcro pull tabs at the cuff are great for eliminating drafts and preventing snagging on the handlebars. The high collar was great for keeping the drafts out on chilly days, and folds out of the way nicely when the temperature rises.
Looks-wise, this jacket is strikingly cool. A grey twill-like texture combined with purple zips means the Cloudburst Riding Jacket looks as good off the bike as on it. Take into account the reflective Flare logo design on the back, plus a loop to attach a light, and you have a garment that’s versatile enough to deal with the urban environment as well as the natural.
Although not a proprietary membrane, the two-layer fabric with a water-repellent coating is waterproof to 8000mm and fully breathable, with the added bonus of armpit vents aka pit zips for when things get toasty. Taped seams and waterproof zips on vents, pockets and front ensured I (and my phone!) stayed dry in a downpour.
I did find the zip pull tabs a bit on the small side, which meant they were hard to get hold of while wearing gloves. I also found the hood, which is detachable, didn’t quite cover my helmet while up and had a tendency to fall back while riding.
The Cloudburst Jacket has three pockets; one on each hip and a chest pocket. These provide ample space for storing snacks, phones, cameras or other bits and pieces when riding.
When it comes to stowing the jacket, it doesn't pack down as small as other jackets I've tried, but it did fit easily into my already-well-stuffed 10l daypack with room to spare, so I'd say it's a good tradeoff between tough fabric and bulk. Weight-wise, it's actually surprisingly light for its looks.
At £180, the Cloudburst jacket is comparably priced to other similarly spec’d jackets on the market. It’s more robust and technical than cheaper options, not to mention much better looking, and it’s versatility means that one jacket will fulfil several functions. I’ve been happily wearing this around town off bike as well as on, and the jacket has had plenty of compliments.
Size: XS, S, M, L
More info: Flare Clothing Co.