Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket

Lightweight, packable and an effective windblock, but with an unusual zip orientation

Score

8/10

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Packs into own pocket
  • Highly breathable
  • Not too flappy
  • Reflective detailing

Cons

  • Zip is on the ‘wrong’ side
  • Doesn’t have its own pockets or access to jersey pockets

Price as reviewed:

£69.99

The Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket is a lightweight and packable windbreaker, designed to be paired up with a breathable fleecy jersey in chillier weather or over the top of a lightweight jersey to fend off chills on long descents and cool summer mornings.

Although perhaps best known for its helmets, the California-based company also has an extensive line in clothing and footwear.

Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket: construction

Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket Two fabrics feature in this jacket: the main body is made from 100% Bluesign-approved Nylon (Bluesign is an independent sustainable manufacturing authority), while the back panel is 100% Polyester.

>>> Best waterproof cycling jackets: buyer’s guide

The material of the main body is what does the heavy lifting on the technical side of things. It’s windproof, breathable, features two-way stretch and has a DWR coating to provide some water resistance.

The rear panel – a little more protected from the elements as it is – has the primary function of providing ventilation, dotted with perforations allowing hot and humid air to escape.

Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket

Both of these fabrics are very lightweight and low bulk, contributing to its sub 100g weight (in size medium) and small packdown size which fits easily into a jersey pocket – particularly when scrunched into its own integrated pouch.

Elasticated hems are present at the ends of the sleeves and around the bottom of the jacket in order to keep out the draughts and keep the fit close. The cut of this jacket is designed to be form fitting, not skintight, but leaving minimal material exposed to flapping in the wind. Reflective detailing helps to increase visibility in low light conditions.

Giro sleeve

Although there is a pocket for the jacket itself to be packed into, this isn’t intended to be accessible when riding. There are no rear pockets or access ports to get to your jersey pockets. There’s only one zip as well, so it can’t be unzipped from the bottom up to allow you to get to your jersey pockets.

If you’re used to a zipper mechanism being attached on the left hand side of a zip, you are in for a surprise here. Contrary to essentially all other clothes, the zipper mechanism is on the right here.

The ride

This paired up excellently with fleecy jerseys without any windproofing of their own. At the start of rides and in shady sections or long descents, the Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket took the chill off excellently, keeping a warm layer of air trapped against my body.

Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket

With its high levels of breathability, I didn’t have any feelings of clamminess as you might if using a rain jacket as a windshell. When the day warmed up, or I happened to hit a long climb exposed to the sun, the wind jacket was quick and easy to remove and stuff in a pocket. For cool spring days with large temperature variations, it was quite easy to get the layering right.

The DWR coating can fend off a little rain – with water beading nicely off the surface initially – but in a proper downpour, the material does get quickly overwhelmed leaving you soaked through.

It’s good to take if there’s a chance of showers, but if you know it’s going to be wet, this isn’t the jacket for you. It does dry quickly though, so if you do miscalculate, you won’t be left with a soggy jacket for long.

Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket

Fit-wise, the Chrono Expert Wind Jacket is pretty much spot on. It’s not totally skin-tight, there is a little bit of flapping, but it’s really very little and doesn’t cause any (much) aero anxiety. The two-way stretch really helps with this fit while not feeling restrictive.

I think this balance is ideal, as a completely form hugging jacket would be a lot harder to whip on and off, whereas with this jacket it’s quite easy to do even when riding.

One of the few downsides is that although the jacket has a packable pocket, it has no pockets of its own, nor access ports to your jersey pockets – be it by a second zip at the bottom or a cutout at the side of the jacket. At least one of these would have been very useful for accessing bits while out on a ride. As it is, it’s not too hard to hitch up the jacket around your chest to get access to your jersey pockets, but it’s a rather undignified solution.

Zipper

The other issue is the zip. This really shouldn’t be a problem, it’s not something physically wrong with the jacket that can’t be fixed, like a bad fit would be. It’s just custom that zips are on the left and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to adapt to it being on the right. But it caused me so many issues with taking the jacket on and off: when you are doing something by muscle memory, being consciously aware does very little to help.

Value

Against the competition, the Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket stacks up pretty favourably. The Santini Scudo Windbreaker Jacket has exactly the same remit, being windproof, water resistant, lightweight and packing down small. But the downsides are a higher cost at £95 and the fact the fit slightly misses the mark.

The Endura FS260-Pro Adrenaline Race Cape II does offer waterproofing, but it comes in a less packable package. It will fit in a jersey pocket, but not with any room left for anything else. Its fit is also flappier than the Giro’s and its breathability is not quite as good. It’s also more expensive at £78.

Verdict

The Giro Chrono Expert Wind Jacket is lightweight, packable, breathable, windproof and water resistant – making it a great extra layer to take on cooler days, or even just as an emergency backup. It has a close fit with the 2 way stretch fabric retaining complete freedom of movement while still minimising wind flap. The only criticisms to make are that there is no access to jersey pockets or additional pockets and that the zip mechanism is mounted on the right side, which is the opposite of essentially all other zip designs.

Details

Weight: 98g (size medium)
Sizes: S–XXL
Colours: Black, Bright Red, True Spruce, Vermillion
Contact: www.giro.co.uk