DARE2b PROVISION II MULTI-PURPOSE JACKET
643g XL AS TESTED SKY DIVER BLUE £80
The Dare2b Provision II is a multi-activity waterproof shell jacket as opposed to a cycling-specific garment, however, for cycle-tourers spending time away from the bike, that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.
Typical of this price point it is polyester, "ARED V02 1500" to be precise; a waterproof, breathable blend with taped seams Storm flaps at the zips and Velcro cuffs continue the weather repellent, though easily adjustable theme. Hoods divide opinion, though this one can be rolled up and tied down with a Velcro closure when not required. When riding; so long as the closures are drawn tight, doesn’t impair vision when checking over the shoulder.
Pockets are limited to two at the hip - perfect for parking hands when mooching about but also encourages you to stuff full, something I regretted on a longer ride. The other is inside - a small, zippered “valuables” type big enough for a smart phone and wallet. These are water repellent, rather than waterproof but have resisted some seriously heavy rain on tour, so no problem.
Cut is generally good, by multi-purpose standards; articulated sleeves allow unrestricted movement when alternating between tops and drops. Sizing is quite generous; in retrospect, I could’ve got away with large but extra large permitted additional layers as required. With just a short sleeve road jersey beneath, the polyester taffeta lining felt extremely tactile.
However, there are some downsides. Firstly, while the back looks civilian enough to go unnoticed in bars and other social contexts, crucially it isn’t long enough to protect the lower back when hunkered low on the drops, annoying on a rainy commute to the office but potentially miserable during a December day ride. Talking of which, most riders would expect more reflective detailing. too.
Wicking prowess doesn’t compare with similarly priced cycling specific models either, thanks to very limited venting, although dropping the zipper provides some relief. Gentler 12mph commutes no problem, a steady 17mph with big climbs and we’re talking boiled-in-the bag.
Bottom line, I enjoy using this jacket for walking, hiking and general outdoor stuff. However, moisture management and cut are a long way behind other cycling specific jackets, such as Altura Nightvision 360 or Endura Laminate II.
Pros: well-made, multi-function, flexible.
Cons: limited climate control and lacking some cycling specific detailing.
Verdict: 2.5/5: I like it but there are much better bike specific options for similar money.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2016