25th November 2010 Words: Nick Rearden
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Perfect timing: warming wind and showerproof Active Softshell Jacket looks smart on and off the bike and carries a lightweight price.
The Yorkshire-based clothing maker Shutt Velo Rapide has built a reputation for itself making plain unfussy-looking jerseys using Merino wool-based fabrics. Needless to say, even the warmest Sportwool is struggling a bit when the weather changes as dramatically as we’ve seen this week; Shutt has obviously been at the sample swatches and sketch pad for something more attuned to the Dales climate.
The new Active Softshell Jacket employs that well-known microfibre fabric to provide a high degree of breathability with wind and shower protection while still looking leisurely enough not to look too outlandish off the bike.
In particular the rear is cut to be protective when in the drops but without that distinctive tail which banishes many a jacket-type cycling garment from the more refined tea shops. And it’s Navy Blue, not fluorescent yellow which although it has its plus points is not always what you want at a lunchtime pub stop.
Details include discreet reflective trim which Shutt claim is designed to not obscure when wearing a rucsac, and Velcro adjustable cuffs which is a nice touch to allow for different weights and styles of cycling gloves.
The high neck zips right to the top with a decent sized pull-tab which tucks neatly behind a pocket to stop it rattling annoyingly under your chin. That’s a feature we like on their more aggressively sporty Winter Jacket but that one is £149; this new jacket will be £69 when it goes on sale Monday.
Apart from maybe studded tyre manufacturers, cycling clothing makers must be the only people who are happy in the bike business when our weather goes white-out. And Shutt VR seem to have more to celebrate than most.
They’ve only been making garments in the Bradford area for barely over a year but the boom in the middle-aged taking up cycling but not wanting to wear too much Lycra seems to have been a nice touch of knowing their market.
Funnily enough, Shutt VR already sponsor a Lycra-clad women’s racing team and that will expand next year to another including men. We can guess both Squadra Donne/Bikefood/Shutt and Twenty3c-Orbea will be smartly turned out.