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Endura's versatile Convert ll jacket falls into the rare category of things you never thought you needed but which rapidly become indispensible once you've tried them.
I've never been convinced by clothing with bits that detach, reasoning that I'll probably never get round to actually putting them to full use and the two aspects will be compromised by being incorporated into a single garment. In the case of the Convert II I'm definitely wrong - it's brilliant.
It's fully waterproof and reasonably breathable, which means that racing types will probably find it a bit warm. For more relaxed riding it's fine and all day riders like tourists or audaxers will probably get the most benefit from the zip off sleeves.
It comes with plenty of useful features, a waterproof zip on the rear pocket, good quality sewn-in reflectives and a high collar with a zip cosy. So far so normal. The zipped hand warmer pockets and the two internal poacher pockets are less usual on a cycling jacket, but very useful, especially if you're likely to be spending any time off the bike. If anyone from Endura is reading this, a waterproof MP3 pocket would be nice. The only vents are across the top of the back, under the removable sleeve yoke, but if you find the going a bit warm it's simple enough to take advantage of the jackets USP and whip off the sleeves.
Removing the sleeves is easily done, just undo the (waterproof) zips, undo the poppers and stuff them in a pocket. The resulting gilet is fantastic. The fabric keeps the wind off your chest and helps maintain core temperature, while leaving your arms free to breathe. I found myself using the gilet much more often than I expected to, especially on a recent tour, where the weather was a bit too cool for just a jersey but I was working too hard to want a full jacket. Refitting the sleeves is more fiddly, but by no means difficult.
The only aspect of the jacket that I can fault is the collar. It comes up nice and high, keeping chills out, but isn't fleece lined and chafed a little under my chin.
Sizing is generous, as is normal with Endura clothing. I'd normally take a large (42' chest) but the jacket we were sent was a medium and fitted fine. Cut is generous too, so skinny chaps might look a bit like a schoolboy wearing dad's coat. Either size down or eat more pies.
For the price it's a top quality jacket. The added versatility of the zip-off sleeves make it a positive bargain.
Cracking jacket for everything apart from racing.
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Make and model: Endura Convert II Jacket
Size tested: 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?
Endura don't do marketing hyperbole, they just claim this as a "Packable, 2in1, all round trail jacket". Come on guys, try harder!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Lightweight 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable fabric with detachable sleeves
* Waterproof snap-down zip pullers on arms allow conversion to gilet (arms fit in rear pocket)
* Cross-shoulder vents and mesh back panel on gilet
* Twin front pockets
* Zip rear pocket
* Reflective through 360 degrees
* Hem and cuff adjusters
* Folds into rear pocket
It's a jacket! It's a gilet! For the price of a single garment!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Superbly practical, well made and great VFM.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 41 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....86kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides