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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Really well-built, highly effective jacket for grim winter rides – if a little heavy
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
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."
Well designed, well built.
Quality build should last.
Only water-resistant rather than waterproof, but works well.
Never boils over.
Comfy and unrestrictive, even over multiple layers.
Solid build and waterproof beavertail mean weight is high.
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
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.
About the tester
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