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review

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket

8
£170.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Really well-built, highly effective jacket for grim winter rides – if a little heavy
Weight: 
524g

Bioracer's Spitfire Tempest Protect winter jacket is an excellent outer layer for cold, damp and windy rides, offering dependable warmth and comfort whether you're working hard or not. Its water resistance is strong, windproofing is excellent and the fold-out drop tail is a bonus. It's fairly bulky, though, and while visibility under headlights is great, in daylight it's just very black, which won't suit everyone.

  • Pros: Very protective, well made, built to last, breathes well, tail stows using magnets
  • Cons: Bulky if you have to pack it, high-vis in darkness but not daylight, heavy

> Buy this online here

Bioracer's attention to detail is impressive. The Spitfire Tempest's two zips are waterproof with garages at both ends, while the main zip also has a substantial windflap for excellent sealing. There's a fold-down waterproof 'beavertail' at the back which, judging from the filth it's picked up, works well – it's cut to curve around your bum, with elastic loosely cinching a silicone gripper around you, so it stays in place effectively without flapping or riding up. It's not so long you'll ever sit on it on a road bike, either.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - riding.jpg

Plus, if you don't need it, the beavertail stows away using hidden magnets. Magnets! Basically magic rocks. The Spitfire Tempest Protect runs on magic rocks. Amazing scenes.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - tail.jpg

One final minor yet very telling detail is the way the label is sewn, wrapped inside itself, thoughtfully avoiding those metre-long streamers of badly translated washing instructions that cause itching and irritations in other clothing (I have gloves where the labels are longer than the fingers). There's a sense that Bioracer has put real thought and care into this jacket.

The body and inner neck are lined with fairly heavyweight fleece, and gentle stretch in the fabric outer neck means it fits comfortably and seals neatly when fully zipped up. The overall cut and shaping of the jacket is very good, as is the sizing, with a loose but not baggy or flappy fit that's unrestrictive.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - chest.jpg

The long, smoothly elasticated cuffs fit really well into your gloves, while the seams everywhere – some flatlocked, most overlocked – feel strong and completely comfy. The Spitfire Tempest's build, while pretty chunky, heavy and not ideal for stowing away, promises to survive multiple seasons and all but the very worst of crashes.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - cuff.jpg

The shoulders and upper arms are so dotty with retroreflective coating that they actually feel rough (the rest of the outer fabric is smooth), though water still seems to bead very well on it and (presumably) run off – I never had it wet completely through even in some quite heavy showers. Bioracer says this is for temperatures down to five degrees, and given its excellent windproofing and water-repellency, it's easily capable of that even on changeable days.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - shoulder.jpg

Bioracer calls this reflective fabric Black Pixel, and it really does shine well under car and street lights. In the middle of a dull day, however, it's just grey on black, and while there are other options with brighter stripes – Lava Zebra and Mountain Zebra, where this is City Zebra – all of them are mostly black from behind. Highly fashionable, yes. Highly visible, no, and arguably not the best option for staying safe on (daylight) city commutes.

> Buyer's Guide: 12 of the best high-vis cycling jackets

They might hear you coming, though... Black Pixel is especially loud and rustly when your upper body is moving, to the point where you might actually be generating enough static electricity to recharge your lights, so beware if anything but stealthy silence bothers you.

The three rear pockets are a good size and well protected, covered as they are with the same waterproof polyurethane (PU) coating that the beavertail gets, and sporting protective overhangs to guide water over the openings and away. It's not too hard to get things in and out despite these elasticated flaps, even on the move, and I also like the extra security they give – nothing can work its way out the top.

Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket - pockets.jpg

There's plenty of competition among softshell jackets, with some – such as budget-brand Decathlon's Van Rysel Cold Weather Extreme Racer or dhb's Classic FLT – performing very well for around half the price of the Bioracer.

However, there are many at a similar price – such as Lusso's excellent Aqua Pro Extreme for £165, for instance – and the Spitfire Tempest Protect works harder than most with its drop-down beavertail, serious reflectivity, tough build and excellent attention to detail. It looks good, too.

> Buyer's Guide: 29 of the best winter cycling jackets

The Spitfire Tempest Protect gets a lot right, not least the word 'protect' – it really does seal out the worst of the cold, windy and routinely wet weather that UK winters, and now I think of it summers, can offer. Its bulky nature means it's not for milder rides where you might need to take it off, and it's a slim-ish but comfortable fit over layers rather than tightly aero, but otherwise there's very little about this well-executed winter jacket that's not to like.

Verdict

Really well-built, highly effective jacket for grim winter rides – if a little heavy

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Bioracer Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket 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?

Bioracer says: "The Spitfire Tempest Protect Winter Jacket is a highly insulative winter training jacket with strategically placed Pixel inserts."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

The company says: " This jacket is made with our reknown Tempest Protect fabric. This 100% windproof and water repellent fabric provides superior wind and rain protection, even when you're training at a lower pace and intensity.

When you're training outside during winter time, visibility and safety is a big issue. We've thought about that, too. Shoulder inserts and sleeves are made of our Black Pixel, a highly reflective fabric that combines the windproof and water repellent characteristics of Tempest Protect with great visibility.

The 3 back pockets are made of a waterproof PU coated fabric. For this year, we've implemented an extra lining on top of the pockets to provide extra protection."

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Well designed, well built.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

Quality build should last.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10

Only water-resistant rather than waterproof, but works well.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

Never boils over.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
8/10

Comfy and unrestrictive, even over multiple layers.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10

Just right.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
6/10

Solid build and waterproof beavertail mean weight is high.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10

Protective, unrestrictive.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

There are cheaper jackets available, but this one works hard to earn its money.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No issues with being hosed...

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Dependable protective feel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Too black, especially from behind.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's around mid-market, with budget options far below and premium brands often far above.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

If it was magically lighter and/or cheaper it could be a nine, as it is it's a very good jacket rather than exceptional, so an easy eight.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking

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