The Giro Neo Rain Jacket offers an attractive and versatile alternative to traditional gore text shells in the top price bracket.
Giro has opted for a Polartec Neoshell fabric throughout which provides a softer feel than a goretex active shell, along with a four way stretch that allows for a close yet supple fit. The cut is close but not too aggressive but I would have preferred a little more length. Having said that, the jacket never rode up and the soft feel hems and elasticated cuffs keep it in place nicely.
On test, the fabric stayed dry in even the most biblical of rain showers and dealt with significant sweat and exertion. That said, the risk averse buyer will need some convincing to pay an extra £100 for this relatively recent invention compared to a top of the range goretex shell from an established apparel manufacturer.
The jacket I tested came with two standard front pockets and Giro’s new “stowaway” pocket system at the back. Performance cycling jackets don’t usually include front pockets as the contents tend to hang down awkwardly when in the riding position. However the close fitting, stretchy fabric largely prevents this from being an issue and I certainly liked the convenience of having a more user friendly jacket off the bike.
The stowaway system at the back comprises left and right access zips to a 3 pocket mesh inner. It works fine, but is tricky to get at while riding. Since the more serious cyclist will generally be wearing a 3 pocket jersey underneath, a simple access flap would save weight and be more convenient. This stowaway idea is really aimed at the casual commuter.
Perhaps my favourite feature of this jacket is the colour, which manages to successfully balance the competing goals of visibility and style. Hi-vis certainly saves lives, but nobody really wants to walk into the office looking like a member of the emergency services.
Attempts to add subtle reflective patches to otherwise dark jackets are a waste of time on dull, rainy days since they require direct headlights in the dark. This soft yellow is a stylish, sensible compromise.
In truth, this is a very nice jacket that fits snugly, keeps you dry and looks acceptable in the pub on your way home from work. It is light enough to stuff into a jersey pocket, so sits nicely between commuter and performance ranges.
The fabric looks good but time will tell whether this is a genuine contender at the top end. Our main criticism is the price tag – it is a very expensive jacket and there are some excellent alternatives available at around half the price. However if price doesn’t concern you then this could make a very nice addition to your jersey pocket on those unpredictable autumn evenings.
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