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The Primal Fusion Thermal jacket is a good choice for cold winter days, with fit and comfort that is more akin to a heavyweight jersey. It makes a good outer layer over a chunky baselayer or paired with a windproof shell for blustery days.
The jacket gets its insulation from a combination of Strata and Traverso fabrics, mid-weight brushed materials with enough stretch to ensure the race-cut fit isn't too restrictive on the bike. Though it's called a jacket, the softness of the fabric and the close fit suggest it's really more akin to a heavyweight jersey.
Primal Wear says the Fusion is good enough for temperatures down to 0°C, and I certainly found it lived up to that claim. With a heavyweight baselayer underneath it provides a good level of warmth, and I also found the fabric reasonably breathable when bashing up hills or in higher temperatures.
While providing decent insulation for cold temperatures, the Fusion doesn't offer the same level of wind-resistance that it's possible to choose in a similarly priced jacket or jersey. You can add a windproof gilet for added protection when you know you might be fighting a stiff headwind, but that's an additional cost when you've already spent close to £100.
The jacket features three large rear pockets and the waist is lined with a sticky silicone gripper hem tape. Even with fully loaded pockets the jacket retains its shape well and the back doesn't sag. It's comfortable for long winter rides and the race fit places an emphasis on fast riding in a reasonably aggressive bike position.
It's an understated design, and is only available in this one black colour option. Visibility is boosted with the addition of lots of reflective piping, which will help it appeal to commuting cyclists, though it's not really aimed at that market as such. Some colour options for those who don't like black might be a nice thing to see.
Warm and comfortable jacket with the comfort and fit of a jersey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Primal Fusion Thermal Cycling Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Primal says: "Developed and tested in the harsh and unpredictable conditions of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Primal Cycling Jackets are functional, comfortable and versatile. Using high-performance fabrics that not only fight the cold, but ventilate and wick moisture, Primal Outerwear keeps riders on the roads and trails in any season.
"The Primal Fusion jacket sports a rigorously tested design that combines technical fabrics with meticulous design to provide a comfortable, durable solution to facing the elements.
"The jacket is constructed using 'Strata' thermal fabric, giving this jacket exceptional weather-resistant properties. The mechanically brushed back of the design keeps the rider warm in cool temperatures, while still promoting cool air to flow in and out to prevent overheating. The fabric also incorporates a 4-way stretch, granting a wide range of flexibility for maximum comfort.
"The jacket also fuses a tightly fitting, Race cut and three rear cargo pockets, to craft a competitive yet practical design."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Primal Fusion jacket
Silicone waist gripper
3 rear cargo pockets
Cut: Race fit
Technical details: Silicone waist gripper, race fit, 3 rear cargo pockets, reflective piping, Strata material
Good for keeping the cold at bay with the fit and comfort of a jersey, but not fantastic in the wind.
Despite being called a jacket, it really has the fit and comfort of a heavyweight jersey.
It's a good jacket, but there is a lot of choice out there, including jackets with added wind-resistance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provides decent warmth down to zero degrees with a good fit and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, comfort and warmth.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of wind-resistance compared with other jackets at this price, and a few colour options wouldn't go amiss.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
A good jacket, with jersey comfort and fit, for keeping warm on cold rides, but when it's really windy I'd reach for a jacket with more wind protection.
About the tester
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, mountain biking
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.