STOLEN GOAT CLIMB & CONQUER GRID WINTER JACKET
569g XL Grid (as tested) £149
Stolen Goat’s philosophy focuses on season, or rather, especially in the UK’s changeable climate, weather-specific gear. Climb and Conquer is their winter range, ideal for use on its own or with a base-layer. Quality is similar to their Orkaan Everyday range, although suitable for lower temperatures. For £149 you’d be hoping for something good. It matches up to the manufacturers not inconsiderable claims. Female specific versions are available.
Pros: Very well-made and highly effective, especially breathability and drying.
Cons: Not totally waterproof, though highly water-repellent.
Amongst a colourful range of Stolen Goat designs the Grid is probably the brightest. Designed as part of their “Be Seen” line, it’s also offered sits in their “Climb and Conquer” winter range. Suited, say Stolen Goat, to temperatures between 8C and -5C, it is very much winter fare. Somewhere along that line, you’ll head into base-layer territory, which is fair enough.
Tempest Protect fabric, with a fleecily soft lining is both windproof and waterproof, a mixture of 80% polyester and 20% elastane. Waterproofing is built into the fabric, so there’s no shell to worry about – but do check the care details on the label and on the website. However, the garment as a whole is not waterproof. As the manufacturers point out, as the seams are not sealed water-resistant is more accurate. Why not seal the seams? Well, it’s to do with breathability. A nice compromise needs to be made.
Fundamentally, this is aimed at the day-rider. Check the forecast, select the appropriate gear, and off you go. Stolen Goat’s website suggests what to wear in different weather conditions. Efficient, speedy drying is emphasised; get a bit wet, well, you’ll soon dry out. There’s a useful diagram relating gear to weather on Stolen Goat’s website. I’ve found it eerily accurate, personally.
The sleeves are long, finished with wide cuffs. There’s no need for thumb loops, in my opinion, due to length and snug-fit. Likewise, the collar and zip do up snuggly. There’s a “zip garage” to save your neck from chaffing.
At the back are three pockets – pretty traditional – with a zipped stash pocket, too. The latter seems to keep most things dry – credit cards, cash, phone, and such like. The pockets have a subtle reflective material – not so obvious in daylight, but extremely effective when hit by headlights. There’s a little hole for your earphone wire, too – if that is your bag.
The back is long, too, keeping kidneys warm. Some might prefer a longer drop at the back, but for all but off-roading and those hardy souls who go sans mudguards all year round, this again, would not be a deal-breaker in my opinion. An elasticated hem keeps things snug, without resorting to a silicone gripper.
Whilst the fit is sporting, out and out racing snakes may go for something sleeker still. However, for most folk, with a base-layer or worn next the skin, the sizing seems to come in a bout spot on. Having said that, remember that, like the Orkaan Everyday Jersey, this jacket works best when the rider is working. Stolen Goat suggest that you go a size up if you prefer a looser fit. I’d say the same applies if you are likely to want to wrap yourself up in two base-layers.
So, what is a gentle pace? Hard to say, but suffice it to say that the jacket works best when at least moderate effort is put in.
“Fine at 12 plus mph at 8C. too warm at 10C,” was the conclusion of one leisure rider, wearing the jacket next to the skin. That seems to be the top of its temperature range.
Dropping the temperature to around 1C on a frosty October dawn, I pulled on a base-layer – in this case Altura’s Long Sleeve Thermocool – and Stolen Goat’s Climb and Conquer Bib Tights (review to follow) and headed for two circuits of a hilly loop.
A distinct chill on residential streets quickly disappeared on the open road. At around 17mph things felt very comfortable. Even sweat that built up on the first three hundred feet of climbing was speedily wicked away.
You’d expect a chillier feel on the descents, especially the longer sweeps, but this never got too bad – no doubt the bib of the tights helped a little.
First in the coffee shop at opening time, with the temperature up to 2C, rider felt comfortably dry and warm. Mind you, there was a distinctly cold, damp feel to the jacket’s exterior – which is, of course, exactly where it should have been.
Coffee downed, temperature outside had risen to a comparatively balmy 3C. Repeating the circuit, performance was consistent, though, with the sun shining brightly, the last six miles started to feel distinctly warm – temperature at 5C. Made a quick stop to strip off the base-layer.
Subsequent rides, including at -2C have done nothing to change my mind; this is a jacket that really does produce the goods, as it promises. Get above 8C and I’d feel over-dressed.
What about the rain, you ask. An hour and a half in in Storm Callum’s tail saw no dampness get past the defences, although things felt cooler even with the temperature around 8C. I don’t think you can ask much more of water-repellence.
The snug fit, along with the snug collar and cuffs, has kept everything in place, but the stretch in the fabric allows easy movement. Not such an issue on the road, but good news for chilly gravel or off-road jaunts.
The pockets are secure; over gravel there’s been no breakouts. With room for all you need for a day ride, you might even squeeze in a feather-weight waterproof top. Mind, things won’t wick so easily under that. Belt and braces suggest a plastic bag or purpose-designed dry pouch for mobile device.
Passers-by have commented on the striking luminosity of pockets. Some found it a bit fierce, but it should alert any driver to your presence.
To claim it will be all you need all day tempts fate. Inevitably there’ll be grey areas. However, in a relatively temperate but changeable climate, such as the UK’s, there’s a lot to be said for it. Perfect for road, off-road and general riding on chillier days, it is probably more relevant to the day rider than the tourer.