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Look at the spec and Madison's Prime waterproof jacket looks like just another decent quality entry-level technical model to add to the pile. Look at the jacket though and you've got a really versatile jacket that doesn't, as the blurb puts it, "scream cyclist" and is ideal for round-town duties and other outdoor activities too.
The Prime is made from two-layer polyester-the outer shell with tapered seams protects the rider from the foulest weather while the mesh lining, pit zips and vented back afford reasonable climate control so long as you don't go overboard with the layering. However, a more tasteful colourscheme, hip pockets and civilian cut mean it attracts the right sot of attention when mooching around town without feeling compromised in the saddle. The Prime ensures a flattering effect worn with baggies so shouldn't be overlooked by budget conscious mountain bikers while it also easily transitions to other sports such as running and sailing.
Detailing is generally excellent. There's the full complement of well positioned Scotchlite reflectives, long tail for protecting the lower back when hunkered low on the drops, elasticated cuffs and articulated arms prevent it feeling like the proverbial cardboard box too. Pockets are limited to three- zippered hip and breast. The former fall naturally to the hands when walking or can be zipped to prevent wallets, keys and similar valuables falling out while the breast gobbles lager compact cameras, GPS/smart phones without feeling uncomfortable or overburdened. Sadly, this default stash-point failed prematurely but the others have been fine and it is the sort of thing that should be covered under warranty.
Common to others at this price point, water/wind proofing takes precedence over breathability, which becomes very apparent on sustained efforts. Mercifully, it traffics moisture from the skin pretty swiftly and I've never felt boiled in the bag when the mercury nudges the high teens. Spirited trailblazing and generic singletrack shenanigans' failed to ravage the shell, which washes beautifully in mild detergent once it starts looking and smelling the wrong side of socially acceptable.
Versatile do-it-all budget jacket that's styled to wear off the bike too
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Make and model: Madison Prime Men's Waterproof Jacket
Size tested: Blue, Medium
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?
"Say hello to the Prime, the new benchmark for entry level jackets, created for those who don't want a jacket that screams 'I am a cyclist', but still want protection on the daily commute.
Light, breathable and waterproof, the Prime is specially designed with a subtle cycle-focused cut for relaxed fit on or off the bike, making it a perfect everyday jacket for all kinds of outdoor endeavours.
Packed full of features, this cross purpose jacket will protect you from the elements in no matter what activity you are engaged". I'd broadly agree with the blurb.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
waterproof 2 way main zip, chest pocket with waterproof zip, baffled pit zips, rear vent panel, 2 front hip pockets with storm flaps, one hand draw cords at the hem and collar, reflective piping / detailing and Velcro adjusters on the elasticated cuffs. M:TEC 5000 fabric
Generally very sturdy but ours was spoilt by a rogue zip.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The prime makes an excellent choice for riders seeking an inexpensive technical jacket for touring, training and even a bit of trail fun. Solid construction and serviceable fabrics coupled with a more civillian cut lend it to other sports and still looks great worn with jeans.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cut, detailing and keen pricing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, given the price and design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)