The Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket offers a good fit, generous warmth for the chilliest winter rides, looks smart and is reasonably priced.
A windproof and water resistant fabric is used for the front, side panels and shoulders, with a thermal Roubaix back panel. It's a combination that provides good insulation for cold rides while keeping the wind out. It does a good job of keeping the rain out too. It's not ideal for prolonged downpours, but get caught in a short shower, and you'll be just fine.
The fit is on the snug side. The fabric is quite stretchy and feels akin to wearing a long sleeve jersey, except with a bit more bulk. The arms are pre-curved, the tail is dropped, the front is cut a bit higher and there's a tall collar, all details that make it an exceptionally comfortable jacket on the bike. It's particularly well suited for an aggressive crouched over the handlebars position, with a good length in the arms that ensures the cuffs don't ride up.
You get three rear pockets for lugging around spare tubes, pump and food. There's also a small zipped pocket located on the outside of the rear pocket, another on the chest pocket, easily accessible and as such, ideal for a mobile phone. A generous number of reflective panels are located around the arms and rear pockets, along with a reflective zipper stripe and sleeve piping, significantly boosting visibility to other road users.
Breathability is subject to many variables, and critically isn't the same for everyone. For brisk tempo rides, worn with a long sleeve base layer, the Madison jacket comfortably balanced the necessary warmth for cold days bordering on sub-zero, and adequate breathability to avoid sweaty overheating. Underarm zipped vents provide extra ventilation if it's needed, but I didn't ever find them necessary.
All in, the Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket is a good choice for winter riding, coping well in the cold with decent levels of breathability and enough bad weather protection to deal with whatever weather might come your way. And it's a good deal cheaper than many similar performing jackets.
Reasonably priced warm and breathable close-fitting jacket that deals well with bad weather
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Make and model: Madison Sportive Mens Softshell Jacket
Size tested: red, medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The heavyweight Sportive thermal jacket is the ideal winter training jacket.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pre-curved shape gives ultra comfort when in the riding position
Concealed chest pocket allows quick and easy access to your riding essentials
Three rear hand pockets offer enough space for spare tubes, tools, food and a race cape, and the secure zipper pocket keeps your phone and keys safe
Underarm zippers allow you to regulate your temperature
Windproof and water resistant panels on the front, sidesand over the shoulders ensure the bitterest of winds won't stop you riding
Thermal Roubaix panel on the rear keeps you warm enough without over heating
Reflective panels around the arms and through the rear pockets give superb night time visibility
Reflective tape on the front zipper and raglan seams combined with reflective prints on the chest, back and forearms complete the comprehensive reflective detailing
Elasticated hem with silicone gripper keeps the jacket firmly in place
Limited lifetime warranty
Works really well for fast-paced winter rides requiring minimal layering to provide decent warmth, with a good level of breathability to avoid that horrible sweat clammy overheating situation.
Impressive durability so far, the fabric comes out clean after a regular washing machine cycle.
Fits like a jersey with good freedom of movement.
The Madison is a reasonable price for a winter jacket that can see you through most typical British winter riding conditions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lives up to its claim of being a winter training jacket for winter training cyclists.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good close fit, comfortable with good articulation in the arms, and nice reflective details and generous pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wasn't really anything to dislike, it's a highly commendable winter jacket for not a lot of money.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Ticks all the boxes.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.