Review: Mavic Sprint Jacket
You realise when you're touring how important it is to be warm and dry, it makes cycling a lot more enjoyable; whereas at home you can normally just bail on your long ride plan and run for home, when you're touring this is not an option. As a result on returning to the UK I started looking for a decent, fully breathable raincoat that would keep me dry and not too sweaty even on long, hard rides.
When I'm looking at cycling kit to purchase there is always a compromise to be met between quality and price. As a student I don't have the funds or courage to dish out a month's rent on a Rapha or Assos Raincoat, but at the same time I decided I needed something better than the PVC coated nylon (plastic bag!) jacket I had been using.
One of my fellow tourers was using a £90 Endura jacket, which seemed to be of good quality and a reasonable price, so with that in mind I started browsing the web. I found the Mavic Sprint Jacket for £80 reduced from £110 on Wiggle.
For Christmas last year I received a Mavic Jersey, which has always been my favourite; it's got a great cut and feels incredibly good quality. Cut seemed like a key attribute for a jacket - the Endura Equipe Helium Jacket was my other option, but it seemed to have a more relaxed (flappy) and shorter cut, which in my mind is far from ideal, especially for a road cyclist.
The Mavic jacket also looked like the usual good quality, and promised good ventilation and good waterproofing, so I went ahead and dished out the cash, hoping that this winter I would be able to ride in comfort on the rainy days.
The jacket arrived, and looked great straight out of the box. Here are a few fairly unique and useful features visible from the start:
- Large zip pulls so that you can put the jacket on with ease, even with gloved hands
- The entire back section is mesh (underneath the waterproof outer) and is then vented low down on the back, allowing minimal flap from the material, but still allowing the back to breath. It also means that your back doesn't have to touch the outer material of the jacket, which causes condensation and a reduced breathability.
- There is a zipped back section in the jacket that contains three jersey-like pockets to stash snack bars and a mobile in; far more than in any other jacket I have seen and a really useful feature as it means you don't need to wear a jersey to put your supplies in underneath your jacket, but instead can just wear a long sleeve baselayer (again helping to increase breath-ability)
- The cuffs have velcro tabs that mean you can have them wide enough to fit over winter gloves, or narrowed down to keep the spray out during summer downpours.
Today I really put the jacket to the test for the first time on a 4 hour, windy and wet mountain bike ride, where I was confronted by driving drizzle, mud and some pretty cold temperatures.
I'm pleased to say that the jacket performed well:
- The waterproofing is fantastic, with water beading on the surface and quickly running off, leaving the jacket feeling light and comfortable.
- The added pockets were a real benefit for stashing extra flapjack and bananas on the long ride, and didn't seem to weigh the jacket down at all, because of the tight fitting waist band.
- In terms of breathability, it got a bit moist inside on a few of the longer climbs when the air flow through the venting system wasn't quite enough, but it soon dried out when the speed picked up and the light nature of the material and the mesh back panel means that it dries quickly, stopping condensation building up.
- The ergonomic fit of the jacket is the usual Mavic quality - their products seem to fit me very well and with a jacket perhaps more than a jersey you really feel the effects; there was minimal flap, even pedalling into a force 7 headwind, and even when the material does begin to flutter a bit, it is not so rigid that it is irritating.
- The "Ergo-cuff" design seems to work well as well - fitting snug around large winter gloves, but with the ability to taper them down to a smaller opening. I think that the venting on the jacket would be even better if you were wearing normal gloves and so had more air-flow up the sleeves, but with a long-sleeve jersey on, the moisture build-up on the arms isn't really a problem.
A good jacket is such a great investment and an essential bit of kit; you will no longer be able to complain about the wet and cold on those long winter rides...just need to find a cure for the tired legs now!
N.B. [Mavic clothing is usually sold in international sizes so go for the next size up from the UK size you wear]