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The Nalini New Adventures Jacket performs well when you're riding in very cold weather – but it suffers slightly from trying to be used for both on and off the bike without really excelling at either.
The Nalini New Adventures Jacket is sold as possessing a 'high-fashion look' but with the practicalities needed for a cycling-specific jacket. And if you are after a cycling jacket, why not check out our best cycling jackets buyer's guide.
To be honest, I don't think it really manages to be a jacket that you would wear off the bike – simply because it doesn't look like any coat I have seen anybody wearing when not in the saddle (or recently in the saddle).
It looks a little like a puffer jacket with fabric arms or as if you were wearing a gilet over a jumper. That said, I do think it looks good as a cycling jacket, but if I were to turn up to the pub wearing it I'm pretty sure I would get some very weird looks.
In terms of its construction, it has PrimaLoft insulation across the arms, back, and front of the jacket, but in different forms and under different materials. On the torso at the front, this sits under a light puffer material with seams running through it, so in many ways it looks like a regular puffer jacket. I found the result was impressively windproof, and I used it for rides in sub-zero conditions, during which no cold air made its way in and I always stayed warm.
The arm material is closer to that of a traditional softshell, with a thicker material that offers considerably more stretch. This works well as it offers better breathability while still retaining the freedom of movement you need when you're riding.
Nalini has included elasticated material at the wrists, which creates a good barrier to prevent wind travelling up your arms.
At the back of the jacket, Nalini has again used PrimaLoft insulation but with a much thinner material to help with breathability. Again, this material offers quite a lot in terms of stretch and warmth, which is great for a winter jacket.
One thing I found was that although it was warm, the breathability on the back wasn't as good as on other cycling jackets I've worn.
After riding for an hour I could feel cold sweat on my back, which I tended to clear if I upped my riding intensity for a few minutes, but its breathability isn't as good as something like the MAAP Training Winter Jacket that I recently reviewed.
In terms of performance against the elements, it is warm, well windproofed and offers some waterproofing – but it still isn't a jacket I would choose if I knew I was going out in the rain.
It's not like you're wearing a sieve and it does keep out the worst of the rain, but water makes its way through at the seams and zippers when you really put it to the test.
The jacket's fit isn't aero but is closer to a performance fit than casual. There is no excess bagginess around the sleeves or around the torso, which means you don't find yourself slowed down by any excess bunching. However, this means that when you're off the bike the look isn't that great – as it simply looks like a cycling jacket.
The rear is slightly dropped, not to the extent that you would find on other cycling jackets, but enough that it gives you protection when you're in a bunch. I also found the arms came up quite long, which is fine for me as I have fairly long arms, but it might not be so good for you.
One thing that Nalini has done to make this less cycling-specific is to not include regular back pockets, going for a small, zipped chest pocket and one at the bottom right of the back.
I found the arrangement less practical than the usual rear pocket configuration, with the back pocket fairly difficult to use too. This is because the material inside feels slightly rubberised, and almost sticks to a phone. This meant that getting a phone out, especially if you've got a sweaty back, is a challenge – and putting it back in was even trickier because each side of the pocket sticks together.
The jacket's £195 RRP seems steep compared to others we have tested. We have looked at a few similar on-/off-road/gravel jackets recently and they are generally cheaper. For instance, the Endura GV500 Insulated Jacket that Patrick put through its paces uses the same PrimaLoft insulation as the Nalini, looks 'normal' off the bike but is considerably cheaper at £150.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about the Nalini New Adventures jacket. On the one hand it is well insulated, windproofing is excellent, and there is a good amount of stretch in the fabric to allow it to sit comfortably over jerseys.
However, the breathability isn't as good as others, the rear pocket is irritating to use, and it costs much more than similar jackets we have recently reviewed.
Decent for freezing rides, but suffers from trying to be too many things at once
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Nalini New Adventures Jacket
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?
This jacket with a high-fashion look can be worn both for a bike ride and in your spare time. Despite having a regular fit and a casual style, the jacket retains all the technical features that are required of cycling apparel: free movement, breathability and differentiated thermal protection.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
* Technical winter jacket with Primaloft insulation at the front and back of the torso, and on the forearms
* Second fabric for sleeves of thermal stretch brushed fabric GREEN (obtained from recycling)
* Thermal stretch brushed fabric on the back with DWR treatment
* Collar with brushed inner layer
* Full-length zipper YKK® with windproof flap
* Reflective logos and details
* Zipped back side pocket made of water-repellent fabric, with vertical zipper
* Zipped pocket at chest
* Elastic band with silicone gripper at bottom hem
* Patch-hook at the right arm to hang a security light
Well made with strong stitching combined with a good choice of materials.
It keeps out the worst of the weather, offers impressive wind resistance and keeps you warm. However, breathability could be better.
It's well made and I have no reason to think that this wouldn't last.
Waterproofing is fairly good, although in truly torrential conditions there was some water ingress around the seams.
Although it isn't the worst I have used by a long way, breathability isn't as good as others I have used at this price point.
Fit on the jacket is excellent – the material used has a lot of stretch, which allows you to wear more or less anything underneath it and it'll still contour well to your body.
In general the fit was as I would expect across the body, although the arms are longer than a large-size jacket would normally offer.
Not packable, but equally not something that I found would weigh me down on a climb.
Good for non-intensive efforts keeping you warm and dry, but loses a point due to the breathability during higher-intensity cycling efforts.
This more expensive that similar specced jackets that we've looked at in the past
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, I just chucked it in a 30°C wash without any issues.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is designed to be used on and off the bike, but to be honest it doesn't really excel in either situation. The jacket's fit means it looks too much like a cycling jacket to use it when you're off the bike, and it's compromised on the bike by its lack of rear pockets and breathability that isn't up there with the best.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The fit is very good – it has an impressive amount of stretch that allows it to sit comfortably regardless of what you have underneath
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The price – compared to others with similar qualities it is quite markedly more expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We have looked at a few similar on/off road gravel jackets recently and they are generally less expensive, for instance, the Endura GV500 Insulated Jacket uses the same PrimaLoft insulation as the Nalini, looks 'normal' off the bike, and comes in £150. Meanwhile, the Albion Insulated Jacket 3.0 offers similar warmth, has three rear pockets, and is £165.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
It does some things well, including windproofing and warmth, which makes it eminently suitable for for low-intensity rides in the cold. However, its fit means it isn't something I would wear off the bike, and it lacks some of the basic conveniences for wearing it on the bike, such as rear pockets and superior breathability.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.