The rain's lashing down but you want to keep cycling. Until now, you'd either have to don a warm ‘softshell’ fleece and hope the weather didn't get too bad or use a waterproof ‘hardshell’, with extra layers and bulk underneath.
But now there’s a new, more convenient option. The Endura Stealth jacket does the job of both, rendering those Gore-Tex and eVent clothing piles fairly obsolete.
One jacket to rule them all?
The Stealth is snug like a softshell, but waterproof like a hardshell. It's even fairly breathable. It is the best of both worlds for winter riders – you stay warm without adding bulk, and keep dry without adding an extra sweaty layer. Instead, put a base layer under the Stealth and ride.
The Stealth uses ultrasonically welded seams, sealed on the outside, to achieve this unique mix. But beyond the big picture, the jacket scores on the details too.
The devil in the details…
Design tick marks include: waterproof pockets (the front has a cable port for your iPod); a close-fitting cyclist cut with a long back that grips so it doesn't ride up; and wrist zips to keep a snug fit over gloves.
Best are the pit zips – split so they run under the arm and on the side of your torso – so you can open these valuable vents without fiddling with any backpack straps.
All weather, all-purpose
The jacket's now been put through its paces (and our washing machine) a fair few times and come out trumps, no matter what it was used for. For mountain biking, the fabric's proved too tough for bramble-snagging crashes and stony slide-outs.
For commuting, the reflective striping all over and rear light clip are ideal. And for roadies, it's the cut and weight-savings that work.
And the bad?
The Stealth does get a bit more sweaty than high-end base/mid/hardshell combos, but is much less bulky and often warmer.
And the pit zips deal with any serious sweat. So about the only real criticism of it is that it could render much of your winter wardrobe redundant.
Wear a separate fleece for the warmth and a jacket for the cold? That's so 2006