We all know the British weather is rather unpredictable, so to ensure you have a pleasant experience biking in the rain, (yes, it is possible) it’s imperative to include a waterproof jacket in your cycling wardrobe.
With such a wide range of waterproof cycling jackets available, it’s worthwhile thinking about how you’re going to use yours. If like me, you enjoy riding fast, with minimal weight on a road or a cross-country mountain bike, it's best to opt for a breathable, slim cut, lightweight and packable jacket.
If you’re set to commute, with the constant stop start of traffic lights and junctions, it’s advisable you select a more heavy-duty waterproof, with a baggier cut and don’t poo-poo the idea of a hood. If you want a jacket to carry you through to office wear, consider off-the-bike style and practicality too.
The following jackets are a mere selection of the vast array of waterproofs available and highlights that all styles of riding and tastes are catered for. So stop with the excuses – get picking and start enjoying cycling in the rain.
Women's urban commuter waterproof jackets
Sizes available: 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-14, 14-16
Colours available: Yellow
More information: AnaNichoola
We love this jacket, it has all the right features to keep you warm, dry and visible but doesn't sacrifice in the style stakes. If you want to be comfortable on your bike, and arrive at the office looking smart, then this is the ticket. The dropped peplum is a chic, nifty solution to keep your derriere dry and the breathable, waterproof softshell material with taped seams ensures the rest of you stays dry.
Combined, the subtle reflective detailing and bright, (but not too bright) yellow colour, will keep you visible in dreary, low-light conditions too. Our only grumble - we wish this beautifully designed jacket was available in every colour of the rainbow, rather than just yellow.
Price: £88.00 with free worldwide delivery
Sizes available: Size 1: Fits height 4ft 7ins – 5ft 8ins Size 2: Fits height 5ft 8in+
Colours available: Black, Red, Yellow, Kombu Green and Royal Blue
More information: Otto_London
Who knew you could cram so many thoughtful design features into a poncho? This really is a functional, stylish and flexible alternative to a traditional waterproof jacket and perfect for cycling in. A rather clever strap located inside the front of the poncho, can be affixed to the handlebar to create a canopy affect, covering the wearer's lap.
The Urban_Poncho has a waterproof oxford nylon outer and taped inner seams to provide maximum dryness and reflective piping provides additional visibility at night. Perfect for if you ride with pannier bags, not so much if you carry a backpack, as there are no defined sleeves to slot the bags straps over, well it is a poncho!
Sizes available: Sizes 6 - 16
Colours available: Red
More information: The Cambridge Raincoat Company
Where better to originate stylish wet-weather cycling gear than the ultimate bicycle city, Cambridge! Established in July 2010 by Sally Guyer, who's cycled in and out of the city for over 17 years. Manufactured in England, the Retro Raincoat is packed with features to keep you warm and dry while cycling.
Raglan sleeves allow for unrestricted arm movement, an inside tab button on front panel, closes the jacket so the lower hem doesn't get caught in the back wheel and the length of the coast is long enough to keep the wearer's knees dry without catching anywhere. This is one of the best options for staying dry, looking chic and being able to go from pedal to pedestrian without having to stuff your high-visibility waterproofs in bags, swapping them for your other 'smart' jacket.
Women's mountain biking waterproof jackets
Sizes available: Sizes XS, S, M, L
Colours available: Black or Red
More information: Endura
Based on the award winning men's Stealth jacket, this waterproof softshell is packed with features. The pit zips are split into two sections, so that they're under your arms and down the side of your torso, great to get air circulating when you're wearing a backpack. A nice touch, are rare cuff zips that also allow great ventilation and help fit your waterproof gloves under too.
The Stealth's fabric is ultra waterproof and combined with the seams being ultrasonically sealed and then covered in stretchy taping, this is one of the best jackets for keeping the elements out.
Sizes available: Sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours available: Red/Black, Thai Pink/Black, Castle Grey/Black, Black/White, Waterfall/Black, Rich Red/Black
More information: Gore Bike Wear
Admittedly, the Gore Alp-X 2.0 Active Lady jacket has rather a hefty price tag, but remember it's engineered for MTB tours and enduro events. Incredibly lightweight, fully waterproof, with zip-off hood, it's aimed at the performance hardcore endurance rider, who prefers multi-day adventures high in the mountains.
There's a front breast pocket, with waterproof seams, great for easy-access storage when you're wearing a backpack, and there's even a nifty fold-away shirt tail, with extra long protection to keep any dirt that escapes your mud guards.
Price: £129.99 (although we've found it for £64.99)
Sizes available: Sizes 8 - 18
Colours available: Black or purple
More information: Altura
Although this isn't specifically designated as a mountain biking jacket, more of an all-rounder, it's features are best suited to trails. It's designed with a baggier fit, perfect for the amount of manoeuvring needed to tackle off-road riding.
Altura jackets are also renowned for their durability, the thicker material will prevent rips and tears when hurtling through woodlands with hanging branches. It's also got side pockets, great to store those things you need to easily reach if you're wearing a backpack.
Women's road cycling waterproof jackets
Sizes available: XXS (Size 6), XS (Size 8), S (Size 10), M (Size 12), L (Size 14), XL (Size 16)
Colours available: Grey and Blue
More information: Rapha
Rapha cycling kit is synonymous with the highest levels of quality, style and performance and this rain jacket doesn't disappoint. A reasonably priced offering from Rapha, specifically tailored for female riders, there's not a hint of 'shrink it and pink it' in any of the women's range.
To cope with wet and challenging weather conditions, the jacket has all the usual features, waterproof front and rear panels, waterproof zips, taped seams on the shoulders and upper arms. But, it's the little things that make this waterproof jacket something special, the offset front zip that helps stop the zip from rubbing under the chin, the ultra-lightweight material meaning it packs down so well, it's easy to lose it at the bottom of your jersey pocket.
Price: £145.00 (although we've found it for £129.99)
Sizes available: Sizes XS, S, M, L
Colours available: White
More information: Mavic
I struggle to wear white cycling gear , not because I'm conscious of how it makes me look, but because of how quickly it gets dirty, so it would be nice to see Mavic offering the Oxygen H2O jacket in other colours. That aside, this is one high-tech jacket. As with all high-end waterproofs, it is on the slim-fitting side, but it's definitely not restrictive - you don't want it to be flapping in the wind and rain as your descending at speed.
The Oxygen H2O is constructed of super lightweight material, meaning it's a great jacket to carry with you on rides where you're unsure if it will stay clear.
Price: £69.99 (although we've found it for £55.99)
Sizes available: Sizes 8 - 16
Colours available: Black, Grey and Red
More information: Wiggle
Considering this jacket comes in at under £70, it's a great value-for-money option. Although it may not be as breathable as the pricier option, it will keep you dry as you cycle from A to B. This isn't a 'just-in-case' jacket, as it's too hefty to store in your jersey pocket, but it certainly doesn't feel restrictive or heavy on.
Even at this price, you get a fleece lined collar to stop the zipper rubbing, a smattering of reflective material to keep you visible on the roads and material that is more than capable of keeping you warm and dry.
Headline image by Baudman, via Flickr.