Giro Women's Chrono Pro Alpha jacket review
A cosy insulated jacket that takes on the role of a hot water bottle cover while you – the star of the show – stay warm in the depths of winter
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to our newsletter Newsletter
An extremely cosy winter jacket suited to the very depths of winter. The thumb holes are a nice touch and visibility is good, too. The pockets were hard to get into on the go and the fit was a bit boxy, but it didn't stop me reaching for this jacket whenever possible during the depths of deep winter.
Pockets can be tricky to reach
You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.
The first time I wore Giro's Women's Chrono Pro Alpha jacket, it was not cold enough for the intended use. Within 10 minutes I was far too hot, and I spent most of the ride cursing my outfit choice. However, this was a mild autumn day, so I can only blame the experience on user error, and an eagerness to try a new jacket. Brought back out in the depths of winter, with the thermostat remaining stubbornly consistent between 1ºC and -1ºC, it's become my companion through the coldest December and January rides.
Giro Women's Chrono Pro Alpha jacket: construction
Giro has opted to build this jacket up using Polartec Windbloc fabric on the outside, with Polartec Alpha Direct Active Insulation on the inside along the chest and arms. The back panel forgoes the extra internal insulation, to allow for heat escape.
You'll often find Polartec on some of the best winter cycling jackets (opens in new tab) as an alternative to GORE or similar, so it's good to know it's a fabric well though of in the industry.
This was not my first experience of the Alpha Direct Insulation fabric, so I knew what to expect: this magical fabric has an immense ability to take on the qualities of a hot water bottle cover, where the human inside is the (very warm and cosy) hot water bottle itself, seemingly radiating heat and warmth.
I could not speak more highly of Polartec's Alpha Direct Active Insulation (which is also made from 78% recycled polyester), and if you're looking for warmth and a high degree of breathability, this is where it's at. The Windbloc fabric over the top is treated with a DWR coating and is perhaps what limited the use of this jacket on warmer days – it's a dense material, it absolutely keeps out the windchill and the worst of the rain, too – but it's heavy-duty and paired with the inner, the combination is not made for temperatures over 5ºC in my experience.
At the back, Giro has embedded three 'expandable storage pockets'. A flap of fabric covers the top of each one, and there's an extra zipped compartment in the middle. Reflective strips bracket the pocket section, with a further reflective running down the centre of the rear.
The pockets may be expandable, allowing riders to fit plenty of snacks, but I did find that the flap covering the top of each made them very difficult to reach into when riding and wearing the kind of thick gloves that accompany such a jacket. Indeed, I typically stopped to gain entry – something to bear in mind if you're joining a faster paced club run (when they return).
The cuffs on this jacket are a favourite feature of mine. Giro has sewn a stretchy, close fit cuff in underneath where the more robust fabric ends, creating a dual layer that extends to ensure the wrists are well covered. This stretchy, windproof cuff includes a thumb hole, so you can be absolutely sure that the sleeves won't ride up and leave an exposed flash of skin.
I tested the size small, which fitted me well sizewise, though it was a little on the relaxed side (I'm 166cm and 57kg). However, I think Giro could have done a better job; the elasticated lower hem finishes off what is quite a boxy, androgenous fit. Admittedly I am shaped like a giant egg timer, so square fits don't tend to bode well for me. If you like a loose fit at the waist, then this could be a winner, but I'd prefer a more flexible band at the hips and a closer waist.
Visibility wise, I'm pleased that Giro has opted for a bright colour in the orange panels present on the model on test. This is accompanied by reflective flashes throughout, too. There is a black option, but given the choice I would always opt for a brighter colour.
Despite minor quibbles on the pockets and the fit, neither of these factors would be considered detractive enough to stop me donning this jacket come the deep winter. During the two week Christmas period where temperatures stayed stubbornly below 3ºC throughout, I wore this jacket on every ride when it wasn't in the washing basket.
Thanks to a particular penchant for muddy 'gravel' trails, it did get pretty grubby, but aside from depositing a thin layer of fluff in the machine on the first wash, it has fared well – instructions state to use a cold wash and a medium heat tumble dry, though I chose to spare it from the latter treatment, leaving it to air dry with all of my other kit.
Value wise, the RRP on this item is £219.99, but Giro's own website lists a reduction down to £175.99. No, it's not cheap, but it is in line with competitors. The warmth on offer is in line with Castelli's more heavy duty Alpha RoS 2 W Jacket (as opposed to the Alpha RoS 2 W Light jacket), at £280 – so if you're looking for a deep-winter solution this could be it. However, bear in mind that the low temperatures this item is suited to may limit its use – those seeking a more value-orientated solution may be better off opting for a lighter weight jacket, layered up.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
'Don't use the bike': OPEN recalls all of its Campagnolo Ekar-equipped bikes and framesets
In Cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, OPEN Cycle has sent out a recall for all its Campagnolo Ekar-equipped gravel and road bikes.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Tour of Flanders 2023: Five men and five women to watch on Sunday
Taking a closer look at the favourites ahead of this year's Ronde van Vlaanderen
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Strength in numbers: How Jumbo-Visma and SD Worx have bossed the run-up to Tour of Flanders
The Dutch super-teams are dominating the Classics, making it look easy. With so many options, can they be stopped?
By Adam Becket • Published