SHOWERS PASS ELITE 2.1 CYCLING JACKET
453g XL Cayenne £195
Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Cycling Jacket is an understandably popular top to finish off your layering system or to pull on over your jersey on warmer rainy days. Light and easily packable, it’s got a lot to offer across the cycling spectrum, with only one minor gripe.
Pros: very breathable and waterproof, good fit.
Cons: rear pocket not easy to get at on the fly – especially for left-handers.
Materials and spec
eVent and Elite Performance Fabrics (ePF), both nylon-based materials, combine to make a three-layer waterproof and windproof, highly breathable, garment. Ours was a nice bright Cayenne shade, but a variety off other colour are available. A women specific version is available, too.
The full-length Aquaguard zip has an internal storm-flap, and nestles neatly under the chin in the zip-garage on cold days. The lined collar and the hem, can be secured more tightly by a cord. Leave them open a little, and the back vent encourages through-flow of air. Notably, the vent is covered by a more than usually generous flap. There’s a loop for a blinkie, too.
Cuffs have familiar Velcro fastening and are generously long and wide, as well as very adjustable.
Length gives good coverage. Standing up, the drop-back covers my rump, unlike some less generous garments (though note what I say about my choice of sizing).
There’s a single chest pocket with port for those who like their tech. In addition, there’s a rear pocket, accessible form a single diagonal zip on the right-hand side.
Internally all seams are taped. Externally, Scotchlite reflective strips on back and cuffs and Velcro patches and a flap for an add-on hood (sold separately) complete the picture.
I went for XL, although large would have sufficed, partly personal preference, but also because the Elite 2.1 struck me as a jacket for layering. I’d say that sizing is pretty much in-line with the Showers Pass sizing guide.
Around1C, in rain, things were comfortable over Altura Thermocool Base-layer and Light Blue Classic jersey.Pushing 17 to 20 mph breathability was very effective. At 8C, the Light Blue Classic jersey combination was warm enough sans base-layer, at similar speeds: no hint of clamminess, even when the sun came out. It has even done a decent job of keeping things fresh on commutes in no-technical civvies – at my 10-14mph way to work speed – and Tucano Urbano’s Polo Nord. Even with windchill taking things down to -4C, and snow in the air, gusts have never penetrated.
Climate control, with cuffs and main zip encouraging through flow to the back vent, is excellent and easy. Combined the excellent breathability, this places the Elite 2.1 in the Premiership of outdoor jackets I have worn.
January and early February weather has not allowed testing with the temperature in double figures, let alone balmy summer weather. We’ll give an update when the seasons allow.
Zips are easy enough to adjust, gloved or not. Mind you, my looser fit inevitably makes opening and closing the side vents more awkward – but I can only blame myself for that.
The chest pocket is larger than it looks and takes keys and mobile with room to spare for energy gel or sweeties. The back pocket is side opening, with a diagonal zip. Fine for right-handers, impossible for left. Even so, I’ve tended to pack it with pump, tube, levers and all those other things are best left unseen. Old-fashioned map addicts, such as I, will have to join the twenty-first century or find somewhere else to stick it.
Compatibility with a hood (not tested) – there are Velcro patches – makes the Elite 2.1 ideal for those off- bike amblings round town on rainy days. Though colours are limited, the cycle-specific hood can be bought separately.
It’s worth mentioning that I’ve used it mainly for road and gravel trips. It has not come into contact with canal bridge brickwork or single-track brambles. At £195, I’d be inclined to keep it that way.
Follow the care instructions, carefully. Drying time outdoors on a calm day has been around two hours following a machine wash. Washing should be regular, though I’ve not overdone it. Re-proofing, as necessary, will prolong life. On bike drying don’t matter too much as you won’t be getting cold or damp.
I’ve used the Elite 2.1 mainly on day ventures and short blasts, but packable size and effectiveness paired with a variety of technical garments make it ideal for touring. It’s just a really good jacket for all sorts of cycling, with the exception of hard-core speedsters who will look for lighter.
The Polaris Hexon Jacket is cheaper (partly accounted for by it being two, rather than three, ply)as are a variety of store branded models. Even so, I feel that splashing the additional cash is well be worth it if it is available. Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket is amongst the best all-round cycling jackets I’ve worn: very breathable, seemingly impregnable to wind and rain, very good climate control, and suitable for almost all kinds of cycling.