The ArmaUrto Pro-Flect Performance Jacket is, as far as we are aware, the only road cycling specific outer shell that offers impact and abrasion resistance. It features a well-balanced cut which conforms to your figure without being restrictive. Although by no means clammy, it is less breathable than other rain jackets, and as the protective inserts mean it can’t be packed away in a jersey pocket, you do have to fully commit when wearing it.
Impact and abrasion resistance
Large reflective panels
Large rear pockets
Only in black
Breathability not as high as similarly priced jackets
By Stefan Abram
ArmaUrto’s Pro-Flect Performance Jacket is designed to offer impact and abrasion resistance via its carefully positioned inserts, should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash.
The speeds it is possible to reach when cycling does make it quite surprising – when you stop and think about it – that the only form of protection most people wear is a helmet. Although to be fair, historically, there haven’t been many options out on the market.
But after suffering broken bones and various abrasions in a cycling accident, Chris Battin founded ArmaUrto with the intension of providing protective gear that can meet the demands of road cycling.
ArmaUrto Pro-Flect Performance Jacket: construction
As the element which sets this jacket apart, it makes sense to start with the pads. These are 4mm thick and are said to dissipate up to 80% of the impact energy imparted in a crash. They also meet the standard for an EN1621 rating, which is the system used for assessing the protection of motorcycle clothing.
To keep the weight down, and the breathability and flexibility up, just four inserts are used to cover the areas most likely to be injured in the event of a crash – the elbows and shoulders. These line up well with my own scars, so the placement seems pretty spot on. To increase visibility, reflective panels cover the pads.
The waterproof and windproof material used in the main body of the jacket has a good 4-way stretch to it, which has a far nicer feel than the restrictive and rustly fabrics used in some waterproof jackets.
In terms of the cut, it’s not second-skin tight, nor is it irritatingly flappy – it sits at a reasonable compromise between the two, with room for extra layers underneath but without it billowing in the wind.
The elasticated cuffs sit flush against the skin preventing any drafts, while a silcone gripper in the hem serves its function in keeping the rear of the jacket in place. I found the fleece-lined collar a little gappy, which on the one hand leaves space for a buff, but on the other means that you do have to wear a buff to keep the draughts out.
The three rear pockets are impressively large and quite supportive, allowing and encouraging you to fill them right up. A fourth zippered pocket is also included for keeping valuables in and this two is a good size, although it wasn’t large enough for my phone.
The Pro-Flect Performance Jacket did a great job at shielding me from the wind and the rain. Its breathability was respectable, it wasn’t quite on the same level as other jackets of a comparable price, but as the Pro-Flect also includes impact protection within its price, I think that’s acceptable.
Although in ArmaUrto’s Impact Pro Base Layer the protective inserts were noticeably bulky, in the Performance Jacket they are a lot less noticeable and are easy to forget about both on and off the bike.
That said, the bulk is noticeable when you try and pack the jacket down. As a consequence of the pads, the Pro-Flect Performance Jacket can’t be stowed away in a jersey pocket, should the weather take a turn for the better mid-ride.
Having to fully commit to wearing the jacket did mean I was reticent to use it on hard rides in changeable weather. Although I can cope well in the hot conditions, I really don’t like the feeling of overheating due to excess layers.
But I did find it had excellent application as a more sporty jacket for commuting and riding about town. In these cases, if got a bit hot, I could just knock back the pace or stop and stow the jacket away in a bag.
I felt visible with the large reflectives, and the generous rear pockets were really helpful for holding all my clutter without protest. I liked the slim but stretchy fit – in all it felt very smart and well put together.
In terms of value, ArmaUrto Pro-Flect Performance Jacket finds itself in something of a league of its own. There aren’t many options out there for an outer shell with protective inserts.
The IXC Trigger Upper Body Protection Jacket comes in at £199.99 but is really designed for mountain biking rather than road riding as it is much more bulky than the Pro-Flect Performance Jacket. The IXC Trigger also isn’t designed with any form of weather protection in mind, so would need to be paired with a shell – which would be an additional cost if you don't already have one.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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