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Best cycling jackets reviewed for men and women in 2023

To enjoy your spring and autumn bike training sets, you’ll need a breathable jacket that deflects wind and rain - and hopefully looks alright in the pub. Matt Baird, Jacqui Davies and Kelly Stokes test 13

Best lightweight bike jackets

Unless you live in a particularly warm and dry climate, a cycling jacket is a practical addition to your triathlon kit.

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Acting as a convenient outer layer, it should provide valuable protection from the elements while being light and thin enough to be stashed in a pocket.

Ideally, it should be a trusty layering piece you can quickly put on during transition or on a training ride, either as a final addition or under a gilet

How to find the best cycling jacket for you

As there are a great many cycling jackets out there for both men and women, it can be tricky to decide which one to buy. 

Firstly, you should think about whether to prioritise windproofing or waterproofing. While waterproof jackets help stop the rain getting in, they tend to be less breathable than a lightweight windproof option, which should have enough ventilation to let out any sweat.

In general, it’s best to look out for cycling jackets with a high collar and insulated chest, but ventilation across the back and underarm areas. 

Also, you’ll want to make sure you invest in a lightweight, easily packable cycling jacket that has space to store any energy gels or bars you take on the road. 

We also like cycling jackets with a ‘dropped tail’, as it covers your lower back while leaning forward. And look out for a high-quality zip with a large pull so you can find it easily when wearing cycling gloves

Before you make your final decision, don’t overlook the importance of colour. Making sure you’re easily visible to other road users is a vital safety precaution, so we recommend opting for a bright, reflective cycling jacket.

If you want something more substantial than the light and packable options listed here, take a look at our list of the best winter bike jackets.

Best men’s cycling jackets

Santini Guard Nimbus

Santini Nimbus Guard jacket

‘Dark clouds’ is the Latin translation of Nimbus and it’s on rainy days in circa 10°C temperatures where this Santini shines.

Easily stashable into a cycling jersey’s rear pocket, this 128g jacket’s water protection comes courtesy of a double layer fabric.

The seams – not just taped but ‘thermo-welded’ – help prevent precipitation penetration and overall the Nimbus’ fabric can withstand light rain showers (downpours will eventually triumph).

Bonus points are added for the waterproof sleeve cuffs, although the tail isn’t as long as some. The single zipper pocket is easy to access and will hold a phone and fuel, while the fit feels the most aerodynamic.

There’s an element of windproofing, while reflective details aid visibility (or buy the orange version).

Verdict: Not cheap, but a techy wonder for winds and light rain.

Score: 84%

Dhb Aeron Tempo 3


Where others are especially targeted at windproofing, the 154g Aeron Tempo 3 comes from the waterproofing world.

It boasts a whopping 30,000mm waterproof rating (our tests confirm this!), with a long-dropped hem and shaped cuffs adding to the protection.

Breathability is aided by two rear vents but we’d opt for the perforated MAAP for higher-paced efforts.

Where it’s less successful is in the pocket stashability, only folding up into a sizeable square that swiftly overwhelms any rear jersey pocket.

It does, however, boast its own sizeable rear zipped pocket with room for phone, cards and a three-course dinner.

The reflective decals are great for commuting, but the relatively high cut of the front leaves any layers exposed below the navel.

Verdict: A great water thwarter, but we’d want more stashability.

Score: 78%

Triban Long Sleeve Showerproof RC 500

Triban Showerproof RC 500 jacket

The RDC 500 is a bit ‘binman chic’ in noir, with its silver chest, sleeve and rear tabs adding some low-level illumination.

The bright orange saddle flap adds visibility, while also protecting from splashes and lending it some off-bike casual appeal due to its ability to roll back up.

As the name suggests, the big sell is its showerproof powers, which are exactly that, offering impressive aquatic protection via its polyester membrane and sealed seams (extended deluges will eventually seep in).

Less positively, that two-layer construction ensures it’s not stashable, the elasticated sleeves are a bit basic, breathability is only adequate, while the cavernous rear pocket soon became a black hole of sweet treats and tools – the frontal pocket is great, though.

Verdict: Another wallet-friendly winner from Decathlon.

Score: 82%

Gore C5 Active

Gore C5 Active bike jacket

You largely know what you’re going to get with Gore. Not that this is a bad thing, as the quality is reliably top draw, the Gore-Tex construction and taped seams will long battle winds and rain – and usually win – and we can vouch for the durability.

The C5, which was our science block at school, adds to this with techy Gore-Tex breathability.

Unlike the brand’s ShakeDry fabric, you can use backpacks with the C5 to add commuting and touring into the mix, but, while just about packable, the 237g shell won’t fit into a bike jersey pocket like the Van Rysel or Santini.

Unusually for Gore, the internal mesh pocket is clumsily stitched and too near the tail of the jacket to stash our phone and emergency fiver worry-free. An issue we wouldn’t expect for £190. 

Verdict: Formidable in the wind and rain; questionable storage.

Score: 87%

Giant Proshield

Giant Proshield bike jacket

For us, the 220g Proshield largely mirrors our Giant bike-riding experience. It’s solidly crafted and arrives with a favourable price tag, but there are flashier contenders around if you want to throw more excitement into the mix.

The high 10,000mm-rated waterproof shell and taped seams are an instant aqua-thwarting hit, while Velcro tabs on the arms prevent any water or wind sneaking up the sleeves.

Breathability comes via a sizeable rear vent. A quartet of reflective strips and a brighter colour aid on-road visibility, although the latter also heightens oily spray and autumnal mud.

Despite this theme of reliability, the jacket is let down by an open rear pocket that we wouldn’t trust a phone in and is too small to stash the jacket in. giant-bicycles.com

Verdict: No frills  but a fine pick for riding in the rain.

Score: 82%

Van Rysel Road Cycling Rain Jacket Ultralight

Van Rysel RCR Ultra bike jacket

Decathlon house brand Van Rysel have fine form on these pages, with their £40 Racer helmet largely holding its own against top-end rivals in the wind tunnel and on the roads.

The £40 RCR continues this low price/top performance trend, with its bike jersey pocket-friendly packability a major draw (it’ll also fit into large tri-suit pockets, making it a duathlon or early/late tri season contender – we needed it at the Outlaw X).

A waterproof rating of 2,000m withstood over an hour in the rain, aided by taped internal seams and a full-length zipper guard.

Breathability is helped by a rear vent, but it’s worth noting this 121g shell is the least windproof and warm of the men’s jackets here. A neat rear pocket and reflective strips are further boons. decathlon.co.uk

Verdict: Practical and packable jacket at a welcome price.

Score: 88%

Best women’s cycling jackets

Endura Pro Adrenaline Race Cape

Endura Pro Adrenaline Race Cape Jacket

Endura has taken lightweight to the next level with a compact and stashable jacket that has a barely-there feeling.

Despite being lightweight, it’s robust and provides perfect protection from wind and rain, all while offering excellent breathability.

Hi-viz strips in the cuffs and hem offer increased visibility while the translucent Exoshell fabric allows race number visibility in the lighter of the six available colours.

Endura claims it comes in an athletic fit with built-in stretch, but we found the sizing to be very generous, meaning plenty of room for extra layers, although downsizing may be required for those who prefer a closer, aero fit.

The arm cuffs were quite loose, so allowed a bit of water in during heavy rain if long gloves weren’t being worn.

Arms aside, the high collar and secure dropped tail ensured we stayed completely dry everywhere else.

Verdict: A perfect addition to your off-season cycling wardrobe.

Score: 90%

Castelli Emergency 2


Billed as an emergency rain jacket, Castelli has gone all out on the waterproofing. The stylish and lightweight 2.5-layer fabric, with luxuriously lined high neck, waterproof zipper, cuffs and waist, ensured we remained dry in even the heaviest downpours.

Available in four colours, all versions come with a reflective strip on the back and around the wrists, although we expected a bit more to live up to Castelli’s claim of 360° visibility.

The fabric offers a slight stretch and while the large we tested seemed accurate for our 10-12 frame, this is the second largest size available.

Although it feels light and airy, it lacks breathability, so we did find it quite warm on the climbs, which, for the most expensive jacket on test, was disappointing.

Verdict: Ticks many boxes but lack of breathability lets it down.

Score: 86%

Stolen Goat Kiko


Luxurious in feel and stylish in looks, the Kiko wouldn’t be out of place as streetwear.

Made from 100% recycled polyester, the fabric is highly breathable, keeping us sweat-free during moderate efforts on the bike.

The ultra-waterproof material repels water, with taped seams, a two-way Aquaguard zip and a high fleece-lined collar offering great protection and comfort.

It also folds small for easy storage and has an easily accessed zipped rear pocket, which had plenty of room for a phone and keys.

Unfortunately, the jacket is quite short, so our lower back got damp. It may be that sizing up would help with this, plus, despite the stretch material, we found it quite restrictive around the shoulders.

Disappointingly, the reflective detail was minimal.

Verdict: Incredible fabric performance let down by fit and poor visibility.

Score: 88%

Altura Firestorm

Altura Firestorm bike jacket

The Firestorm is a stylish mid-weight jacket with a longer drop tail than the other women’s jackets on test. With the silicone gripper, it’s very effective at protecting one’s derriere from mud splatters.

Despite rain showers and lower teens temperatures, we stayed warm and dry. The jacket has taped seams, is breathable and ventilation was very effective when on the steep climbs.

It’s true to size and packs up small, folding into its own internal pocket – this is also big enough to store a phone while riding. 

The fabric has an all-over reflective print (we lit up brighter than a Christmas tree!) and has highly reflective strip at the back of the neck, making it the brightest here. While the fabric isn’t as soft as others, the design is stylish and feels hardwearing. 

Verdict: An excellent all-rounder that comes at a good price.

Score: 87%

Van Rysel Cycling Rainproof Jacket 100


For anyone on a budget, Decathlon’s bright and bold jacket won’t break the bank.

It’s designed for occasional wet weather and folds down small enough to be kept in a jersey pocket ready for intermittent downpours.

Compared to others on test it does feel a bit plasticky and sweaty, although vents under the arms and at the top of the back do help give it a bit of air flow.

It’s a generous fit, too, which not only meant there was plenty of length at the rear, but there was also room for additional layers.

In short showers it kept us perfectly dry, although in prolonged downpours we did find the relaxed fit of the collars and cuffs allowed water in.

But we were impressed with the generously-sized zipped rear pocket, which has an additional flap to keep water out.

Verdict: Decent shower jacket at an affordable price, if a little sweaty.

Score: 75%

Endura Race Cape II

Endura Race Cape II

The Adrenaline Race Cape II is extremely comfortable to ride in – we barely noticed it was there – and, in sustained torrential rain and strong winds, it performed rather well.

With taped seams to prevent water ingress, only our arms were wet, but not through to the base layer and the rest was dry. The silicone hem gripper keeps the jacket in place and, with the soft, snug collar, helps to remain warm throughout the ride.

While it has no pockets, it packs away neatly into its own small bag, and is the lightest on test, easily fitting into a rear jersey pocket. It has highly reflective markings visible from a long distance at the neck, along the hem, cuffs and the front zip.

Overall, it’s a lovely looking jacket in a close but flattering fit. 

Verdict: Stylish and clever fabric, but with a lack of pockets.

Score: 83%

Pearl Izumi Pro AmFIB

Best bike jackets

The AmFIB jacket is made from four-way stretch fabric, with two rear pockets plus a zippered middle security pocket for phone and keys.

It states that it’s windproof and water-resistant, and the jacket was truly put to the test and withstood 90mins of torrential rain, 39km/h winds and a temperature of 9°C with us staying warm and almost completely dry.

However, it was the only jacket on test not to pack away into a rear pocket. It’s very stylish and flattering, true to size and, because of that four-way stretch, should suit most body types. It comes in aqua green or black with a reflective strip across the rear.

While on the expensive side, if you only want one jacket this season and you’ve got cash to splash, it’s a worthwhile investment. 

Verdict: A fantastic all-rounder makes this a top winter pick.

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Score: 91%