The Sweet Protection Crossfire Jacket is a great foul weather jacket that keeps everything out while keeping you comfortable and warm.
Pros: Great waterproofing and windproofing, minimalist design
Cons: Zip pocket is in an odd position
Sweet Protection is relatively new to the road bike market, having only started to venture into the space in 2017. It was originally founded for kayakers, and so it's not wholly surprising that it has managed to create a jacket that offers impressive protection against wind and water.
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The first time I took this out it was raining very, very heavily, but after two hours of riding in torrential rain I found that despite every other part of me being soaked to the skin, my upper body was still completely dry, the laminated softshell material keeping out the wind and rain really effectively.
This impressive performance is certainly helped by the elasticated wrists, which create a double thickness barrier against the wind and the rain in an area where water is always likely to get in.
The full-length zip also has a barrier behind it to stop water seeping in.
It looks like years working with kayakers means you know how to make something waterproof. Breathability is good, too, for something that offers this level of protection.
However, the jacket is not simply good at keeping out the weather, it has also got some strong cycling-specific features, like the dropped back, three large rear pockets, and several reflective elements including two large reflective bands on the central back pocket.
On the left arm there is a reflective logo – though it would be nice to have this on the right for the UK market.
At the base of the back, effective silicone grippers keep everything in place well, meaning fewer creases for water to pool in.
One slightly odd design choice is having the one zip pocket on the right hip, because it meant that if I put my keys or phone in it, they would dig into me slightly when riding.
An RRP of £129.99 doesn't seem excessive for a softshell jacket of this quality. It's £15 less than Gore's Windstopper Soft Shell, while the Sportful Giara Softshell Jacket is about £10 cheaper.
> Buyer's Guide: 20 of the best waterproof cycling jackets
Overall, I was really impressed with this jacket: it is warm, waterproof, and windproof while still offering some effective cycling-specific elements. It would be nice to have the zip pocket somewhere different, but aside from that there are very few negatives.
A really strong performing jacket from a company relatively new to road cycling
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Make and model: Sweet Protection Crossfire Jacket
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?
A foul weather soft-shell jacket designed for riding in cold, windy, and rainy conditions.
Sweet Protection says: "The Crossfire Jacket is slim fit with articulation in all the right places. This breathable softshell is windproof and DWR treated for water resistance, while the elastic cuffs stop the wind getting up the sleeves when going fast."
Everything in there seems pretty accurate, with the windproofing and DWR treatment keeping out the worst of the weather and the elasticated wrists helping with comfort.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
From Sweet Protection:
Weight: 470g (L)
Materials: 88% Polyester/ 12% elastic woven 2L laminated soft-shell fabric with 2-way stretch.
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Seems really well made and the material choice is good as it kept out everything thrown at it.
Rate the jacket for performance:
Performed really well, bringing together waterproofing and windproofing and keeping you warm enough without getting too hot.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Good material choice and strong stitching throughout mean this is unlikely to fall apart any time soon.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
Rate the jacket for fit:
Fit is good: it doesn't crease in the wrong places and holds its shape well thanks to the silicone grippers at the bottom of the back.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
I tested a medium; it's perhaps on the slightly small side, but well within what I would deem to be acceptable.
Rate the jacket for weight:
At 483g this isn't especially heavy for a decent softshell jacket, but isn't as lightweight as others with a bigger price.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Really comfortable thanks to its ability to keep out the elements and keep in the warmth. The elasticated wrists also really help in this regard, not only in protecting against wind and rain, but also in keeping your wrists warm.
Rate the jacket for value:
It's pretty good value for a good quality softshell jacket, although you can find others – like the Sportful Giara – for slightly less.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy – I just chucked it in with the rest of my washing at 30 degrees without any issues. I didn't tumble dry it, but according to the label you can if necessary.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, it kept out everything that was thrown at it, it maintained its warmth and kept its shape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
I really liked the simplicity of the design. It doesn't have the flash of some of the more fluoro or highly branded jackets but performs just as well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The placement of the zip pocket; I found that when leaning over the handlebar it would just cause things to dig into my hip.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Gore's Windstopper Soft Shell comes in £15 more expensive, while the Sportful Giara Softshell is about £10 cheaper.
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
A really good softshell jacket that does everything you want when you're out in cold downpours. The zip pocket could be in a more convenient location, but there isn't much else negative to say about it.
Age: 29 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
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