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The Van Rysel Men's Long-sleeved Road Cycling Winter Jacket Racer Extreme is a competitively-priced, water repellent and impressively windproof winter jacket. It's really well made and contains zips and buttons aplenty for detachable thermal layers, and with its tight performance fit this is very much a serious cycling option. Van Rysel makes no claims about waterproofing, though it offers enough to get by in changeable weather.
The Extreme Winter Jacket uses various panels of polyester and elastane, and Van Rysel calls the predominant material Nirta Rice. There is a kind of fleeced, patterned layer on the chest and back panels that blocks wind nicely. The lower back's underpocket layer is mesh and provides cooler air if you've removed the additional layers.
Overall the material feels plush, premium and exceptionally sturdy, and hasn't bobbled even after a few washes.
Van Rysel has gone deep on the pockets, sitting them lower so they're easier to access. There is a pocket on each waist, a large outer mesh pocket that fits a rain layer, and then two sturdier pockets sitting on top and a zipped phone pocket. This will be great news for people who shun on-bike storage. The side hip pockets I found particularly useful, as you barely have to reach round to access them and they can house an iPhone X safely.
I really liked the snug fit, which Van Rysel calls Pro Fit, and be aware they're not exaggerating. You're advised to size up if you want 'more volume,' and you may well want that indeed. While I'm a Large in most brands and this Large fits, with the inner jersey zipped in it's a tight squeeze over a baselayer. The arm length is sensible and doesn't feel short even when riding on the hoods.
I thought the zip-up, zip-off versatility is well done. There are some very sturdy hooded YKK zippers on the reverse side of the main zipper, and it's here the inner jersey can be zipped so you can take it on and off as one garment.
If you prefer, you can just wear the inner high-vis layer as a jersey, and slip the jacket on over the top. The jersey also has a loop on the neck that attached via a popper.
I always find that the snood is the thing that traps the most heat, so this was the first thing to come off. Alas, the buttons are too fiddly to release it on the fly, so this required a stop.
When your hands get cold, or if you're wearing gloves, they're essentially impossible to do back up as well.
Van Rysel doesn't make any claims for water resistance, encouraging you to pack a rain layer instead. This jacket's sheer warmth becomes an issue then, however – you'll get extra hot under a waterproof. That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the rain repellence. The Nirta Rice fabric aided a good amount of brushed-off rain, and delayed the onset of soaked material. Underneath the armpits, the material is different and rain entered here pretty rapidly.
This version is £40 more expensive than the non-Extreme Van Rysel Men's LS Road Cycling Winter Jacket, which is £49.99 and has slightly different breathability and windproofing ratings – so you aren't just paying £40 for extra inner layers here, you're getting different fabric.
For a less racy cut, the Vulpine Portixol Waterproof Jacket was deemed good value at £100 by Simon, and has excellent waterproofing.
If you want something that's genuinely waterproof, the Galibier Tempest Pro represents excellent bang for your buck. Stu found it super waterproof and decently breathable, while the price of £62.22 throws shade on rival brands. Galibier's Tourmalet 4 is another great bit of kit if you're looking for a sweet combination of breathability, waterproofing and great value – it's £83.22.
Stolen Goat's Mekon Climb & Conquer Winter Jacket is £149, and Iwein was a big fan when he reviewed it in 2021. It's also waterproof and warm down to the worst of the single digits.
I can see myself turning to Van Rysel's Winter Jacket Racer Extreme frequently over autumn and winter, especially for sub-50km rides where you can get away without too much rain insurance. Its adaptability means you won't need to put up with being too hot, and the insulation is such that you'll struggle to get too cold. The price is excellent, as is the racy fit – all in all, there's not a lot I would change.
Really versatile jacket/jersey hybrid that can keep you extremely warm and sort-of-dry for a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel Men's Long-Sleeved Road Cycling Winter Jacket Racer Extreme
Size tested: Large
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?
From Decathlon: "A warm jacket with a detachable neck warmer and liner. This aerodynamic jacket will keep you warm when riding in temperatures as low as -5°C. Windproof, breathable and water-repellent! The latest cycling jacket in our Van Rysel Racer line. Stay warm on your winter rides in the harshest conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
AN EXTREMELY VERSATILE JACKET
We designed this jacket for your winter rides in truly cold and windy conditions, those conditions where even the smallest breakdown can be a nightmare.
This jacket, to be worn over a technical base layer, will keep you warm in temps as low as -5°C. Nirta Rice is a windproof, warm and water-repellent material used for the jacket's outer layer.
Made with a Matrix inner liner that can be removed for added versatility. We recommend only wearing the inner liner when riding in temps below +5°C.
"LONG TAIL" DESIGN
As you can see in these photos, we decided to make the jacket longer in the back. The reason is simple: to protect your cycling tights and your backside from road spray.
Another advantage is that we were able to position the pockets lower so that you don't have to twist your arm to put something in or take something out while cycling.
What is the Pro Fit design?
Pro Fit is a cycling garment design from Van Rysel. It's a design made for high-performance cyclists who want cycling clothes that are close-fitting without being constricting.
This jacket is designed to be worn over a technical base layer. If you plan on wearing it over two layers, we recommend buying one size larger than your usual.
Our Pro Fit design is for those cycling regularly. If you think you might need a jacket with a bit more space, buy one size larger than your usual.
This jacket is made with 7 pockets.
Two small side pockets that can also serve for rubbish.
A set of 5 back pockets that include:
- 2 pockets for snacks or small items - 1 zip pocket for phone/key/card - 1 net pocket for gloves, hat or other accessories.
DETAILS THAT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
This jacket stands out with the attention we've given to every detail.
- A flap for the lower zip so that it doesn't damage your cycling tights.
- A flap for the top zip so that it doesn't irritate your neck
- A detachable neck warmer with a breathable area
- Soft sleeves with elasticated cuffs
- A few reflective patches, for those who like to get out early or come back late!
- Zip tabs so that it's easier to pull on them with gloves on
RET < 20, and an air permeability rating of 5/5
Main component: 245 g/sqm
The primary material is water-repellent but not waterproof. So this jacket will protect you from light rain or drizzle but is not designed for riding in heavy rain or for long periods.
The seams and zips are all secure-feeling.
Really adaptable on the fly thanks to the removable internal layers. Super warm when it needs to be and the water repellency is decent. The tight fit made me feel really aero and there was no flapping whatsoever.
No problems so far, apart from road spray discolouring the lower back.
This is a potentially very warm jacket, but - thanks to the removable layer and neck snood - can be worn in lots of ways, which affects the breathability. If the inner layer is unzipped and removed, heat escapes reasonably well. I wore it up to 16 degrees and still wasn't overly stuffy.
I am 188cm and the Large was snug, especially with the inner layer hooked in. The extra long lower back panel creates a slightly odd profile, but it is practical.
Pretty much just right for me, though I would consider going up a size for a more relaxed fit.
At 680g it is much heavier than many competitors, and double the 340g of the non-extreme Van Rysel Winter Jacket. For comparison, The Galibier GrandTour is also only 360g.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues here except for the light easily picking up marks, particularly on the soft cuffs and the tail.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well – it is a really snug garment that can combat even the nippiest winds, and provides a nicely tailored race fit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Its versatility. Lose the inner layer and snood and it becomes less stuffy and more of a mild-weather jersey/jacket hybrid. The fit is quite racy and are seemingly infinite pockets, including a zip pocket that fits my phone.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The buttons connecting the snood are quite fiddy and almost impossible with cold hands or gloves, and while I appreciate the practicality of the bum-covering flap it doesn't add to the looks.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's certainly good value against the competition, which is often well into three figures. You can even opt for the non-extreme Van Rysel edition and save yourself £40.
The Galibier GrandTour Jacket is a phenomenally good deal at £82.34 and Josh Price couldn't really find fault with it. The credentials are similar to the Van Rysel but it is only recommended down to 6°C with a long-sleeve base.
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
This provides performance and construction that compares favourably with far more expensive brands. Perhaps the breathability could be improved in places, but the insulation and windproofing is excellent – as is its feeling of durability.
About the tester
I usually ride: Pearson Hammerandtongs My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra endurance