With a just few little tweaks Chrome's Two Way Insulated Shacket would be winning awards. As it is, however, it falls short on basic commuter needs, meaning it's best reserved as a general going-out jacket.
Stylish and elegant
Little to no reflectivity and visibility
No zipped pockets
Arm length and tail come up short
Collar flaps around
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The Chrome Two Way Insulated Shacket is a modern, elegant jacket - but it's the insistence on possessing these positive characteristics that leads to its disadvantages.
For while there is no denying that the wearer looks stylish whatever side they use, the commuter jacket isn't as functional as some of the best commuter cycling jackets.
The reversibility is cool. The dusty olive side is beautiful. It’s lightweight enough to be able to take off and tuck away in a small bag in a matter of seconds.
But for the cycling commuter it lacks in a lot of areas: the arm length comes up short; the extended rear tail doesn’t provide adequate cover to compensate a cyclist’s position; there’s next to no reflectivity; and the pockets are either non-existent on one side or without zips on the other.
It’s very fashionable. That is not in question. And it can be used pretty much all year around. Yet with just a few simple tweaks it could marry glamour with practicality. Pity it doesn’t.
Chrome Two Way Insulated Shacket: construction
Chrome, an American brand mostly known for their city-intended backpacks and bike bags, have constructed the Two Way Insulated Shacket with 100% recycled polyster.
Intended to be durable and used all year-around, the dusty olive green side features two chest pockets, the right one with a button top to open and close it.
Turn the jacket inside out and the black side features a down jacket-like pattern. There are two open side pockets. The jacket can be reserved quickly via a two-way zip; the collars, meanwhile, are also reversible.
Described as “ultra-lightweight”, the shacket tops our scales at 365 grams, which is almost gram-for-gram the exact same weight as Velocio’s Recon Snap Jacket. Chrome also claim that the jacket is windproof and water resistant, and that the “insulated layer [is] versatile enough for any season”.
Chrome Two Way Insulated Shacket: the ride
Let’s start with the good parts. I use my city bike almost every day to get around town, and thus am in the same upright position as the targeted commuter. Within a few outings it had already replaced the Velocio Recon Snap as my go-to jacket of choice, especially for social events.
Why? You just need to look at it. But there were other pros: it is featherweight; when the skies unleashed showery rain, it kept me dry; in autumn temperatures fluctuating from 4°C to unseasonably warm highs of 22°C, I neither felt cold nor warm in the jacket.
I did, however, have to make adjustments to ensure that I could still use the jacket on a daily basis. Phone, keys and wallets had to go into my trousers due to the lack of side pockets on the dusty olive side and the lack of zips on the black exterior.
A slightly shorter arm length meant I had to pull the sleeve down frequently, while the collar just flapped around without ever conforming to a natural position.
Meanwhile, a shorter tail meant that when there was splash back from wet roads, some of the road grit ended up on the inside layer.
I’m a big believer in being seen, and thus I was disappointed by the lack of reflectively panels; to offset this, I opted for the green side more than the black as at least that stood out more in the night sky.
Chrome Two Way Insulated Shacket: value and conclusion
I feel conflicted giving the jacket just three and a half stars because I really, really like it. People have even commented on how nice it looks.
But it’s just not very practical for a commuter, and nor would I agree with Chrome that it can be used in any season: there is not enough insulation to protect against freezing temperatures, and the water resistance wouldn’t survive heavy rain.
At $140 / £147, it is significantly cheaper than the comparable Velocio Recon Snap Jacket ($289 / £229). It’s just a little cheaper than Chrome’s Storm Salute ($190 / £189).
Since that is the going range for a commuter jacket, the Two Way Insulated Shacket is an affordable option that won’t break the bank, but it's one that leaves me with an overriding feeling of what could have been. Just a few simple tweaks and this would be a market leader.
Chrome Two Way Insulated Shacket: specs
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: Black/dusty green olive
Website: Chromeindustries.com (opens in new tab)
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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