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The ETC Snug Cycling Hoodie is a good idea, but in reality it traps too much heat yet lets in cold draughts, rides up when you're in the saddle, and has huge gaps in its rain defences. It's also quite poorly finished and, disappointingly, is no better for even gentle cycling than various bits of civilian clothing.
I was quite excited about this – a casual, street-style top that's subtly tuned to work well on a bike. Unfortunately, almost every detail has been mishandled, and the result still only feels good away from a bike.
I'll start with the positives: the tail is nicely dropped for good coverage when stretched forwards, while the large logo and rear zip flap is brightly reflective, and water beads off the grey fabric of the main body extremely well.
The three pockets (two for hands, a usefully big one across your back) have good zips for stopping things falling out, and there's a cable port for your headphones.
Wander about a cafe (should these ever exist again) and the fit is good, with accurate sizing and an appropriately snug, comfortable feel.
Get on a bike, though, and things aren't so good. The cuffs may be long, but on me at least the sleeves overall are quite short – despite ETC saying they're longer 'to prevent 'ride up' when cycling' – and immediately rose up above my gloves. The main zip barely reaches the neck, leaving you open to cold draughts – which only get worse, as the main body tends to rise up, bunching the fabric on your chest and holding the neck open.
There's a drawstring to supposedly seal up the gaps, but even if you're happy to ride with a thin rope tied around your neck, tying knots while cycling isn't terribly convenient.
All this happens even on flat-barred bikes, and while riding at casual pace.
It's an odd decision to insulate the back of a cycling top so thickly, and it doesn't work well. The Snug soon gets sweaty if you make an effort, and it generally feels like you're wearing a backpack when you aren't. It's obviously much worse if you are. That's a shame given the likelihood of riders interested in a top like this also being interested in carrying cargo.
While the grey fabric is very water-resistant, the thick black sleeves, shoulders and sides are not, and they hold water like sponges. The hoodie can get noticeably heavy, and it's not windproof even when dry. Rain easily soaks through your shoulders to your clothes below.
ETC says the hood can be worn over a helmet, but I tried it with three of mine – a Lazer Sphere, Kask Mojito and a Bell Super All-Mountain helmet – and it wouldn't fit over any of them. The Kask is probably the slimmest, and the hood stops around halfway over the top. According to ETC it went over every helmet it was tested with, so you might have more luck than me.
Even the logo on the arms is poorly done – the background of the image file has been faintly printed along with the logo itself – and up close the shiny polyester looks and feels cheap.
While this hoodie is certainly comfortable and warm off the bike, at 543g and bulky it's not something to carry with you to that cafe, when they do open...
The fantastic Galibier Colombiere Jacket may be more at £72.40, but it's warm, manages heat extremely well and is even reversible.
The BTwin Warm Reversible Urban Cycling Jacket is also usefully breathable and weatherproof, combines a rather stylish dark side with an incredibly bright riding side, and is cheaper than the ETC Snug at £50.
If you really want the ETC look, basic black hoodies start from £10, while water-resistant, insulated bodywarmers such as the Result Core Bodywarmer are under £25. I can't honestly say the ETC Snug is earning its premium over these for cycling use.
Overall, it's disappointing, because despite the apparent tweaks it's barely better for cycling than a regular hoodie or bodywarmer – both of which can be had for significantly less – and it's not even in the same ballpark as its competition.
Warm and comfortable for normal wear, but very poorly adapted for bikes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: ETC Snug Cycling Hoodie
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?
ETC says: "EVERYDAY CYCLEWEAR. Whether you're Spinning, Commuting, Racing or Trail riding, ETC have a quality product to suit your needs without stretching your budget."
In my view this isn't suited to racing, spinning or even really trail riding. It's okay for cafe stops and the most casual of riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
High Performance 100% Polyester
Hollow Fibre Chest and Back Panel
Zipped Side Pockets and Large Rear Pocket
Longer arm to prevent 'ride up' when Cycling
Deep Tail to cover the lower back when riding, keeps you warm and stops the spray
Hood can be worn over a helmet
Neckline drawstring to keep out the draughts
Neatly put together with solid stitching, though the fabrics feel a bit on the cheap and shiny side and the logo is poorly printed.
Not well suited to cycling at all.
ETC doesn't make any claims for waterproofing; the grey fabric is strongly water resistant, but the black parts act like sponges.
ETC makes no mention of breathability, and it's low – especially in the padded torso section.
On the bike, the dropped tail is a good length, but the sleeves were too short on me and the low collar lets in draughts. The hood doesn't fit over any of my helmets.
Off the bike, though, the fit is good and comfortable.
It's heavy, and bulky should you want to take it off.
Sweaty yet draughty on the bike. Very comfortable at cafe stops.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The cut and fabrics aren't well suited to cycling.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Comfortable fit off the bike, warm, visible but stylish.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Sleeves came up short on me, poor heat management, small hood, low collar, cheap-feeling fabrics.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's about what you'd expect for this kind of casual-cum-technical product. The fantastic Galibier Colombiere Jacket may be more at £72.40, but it's warm, manages heat extremely well and is even reversible. The BTwin Warm Reversible Urban Cycling Jacket is also usefully breathable and weatherproof, combines a rather stylish dark side with an incredibly bright riding side, and is cheaper than the ETC Snug at £50.
Note also that basic black hoodies start from £10, while water-resistant, insulated bodywarmers such as the Result Core Bodywarmer are under £25. Neither would give masses away to the ETC for cycling use.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Kind of.
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is an odd collision of two garments – one okay-ish for (very casual) cycling, and the other good for normal street wear. The dropped tail, flap-free fit, zipped pockets and reflective details are all useful on the bike, but the short (on me) sleeves ride up, the low neck lets in cold draughts and the hood didn't fit over any of my helmets. The design needs a fundamental rethink, and soft fabric sections that don't eagerly soak up water, to make much sense for cycling.
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, mtb,