It’s interesting to see Sugoi trying to bridge the needs of commuters and sporting cyclists by creating a product such as the RS Zap. It’ll certainly get you seen at night when out riding but I’m not convinced it offers enough technical benefits, especially ventilation, to be used for hard training.
Front zipped pockets
Short in the arms
No zipped pocket on the rear
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The RS Zap jacket is part of Sugoi’s Zap clothing range – products with a special emphasis on reflectivity and safety.
Rather than making parts of the jacket reflective, Sugoi has taken a far more novel approach and instead made the whole thing reflective.
The Sugoi RS Zap is odd to look at and touch. Basically, the jacket’s surface is covered in little bumps that reflect light, meaning the whole jacket shines when lit up. Obviously, Sugoi anticipates the jacket being used for low-light riding as well as night-time training.
In this sense, the jacket really hits the nail on the head. It’s seriously reflective, lighting up when in traffic on the commute and it works excellently to help make sure you are seen out on the road.
It definitely has its uses, especially when heading out early doors, and it quickly became a companion on my morning commutes.
However, for £69.99 you want to see some technical benefits from the jacket, and it is billed as a performance wear garment. That said, having put some graft down in it, I’m less convinced of its technical benefits.
The Sugoi RS Zap is underserved in terms of ventilation, it hasn't any zips for when you get a little stuffy. Instead, you’ll have to rely on Zap’s ‘mid-zero’ technology for breathability which means – as it isn't that breathable – it can get quite clammy inside the jacket.
Sugoi bills the RS Zap as water resistant, which does partly explain the damp inside after rides. In fairness, this is something that's inevitable in rain jackets, but can be alleviated with additional vents.
In reality, it survived drizzly rides fine, keeping me dry but suffered in heavier conditions. However, at these times you'd be better of taking a dedicated waterproof jacket anyway.
>>> The best winter cycling jackets (video)
In terms of fit, the jacket is a tad short, especially on my particularly gibbon-like arms. Plus, it’s a little tight on the chest when stood upright, but that’s because of Sugoi’s Pro-Fit design. Billed for those with lean, athletic builds, it aims to reduce wind resistance by sitting closer to the body. That said, the jacket felt fine when in a riding position.
Watch: Cycling Weekly's buyer's guide to waterproof jackets
Particularly impressive, though, was the addition of a fleece-lined neck which made wearing the jacket in cold weather far more bearable. In fact, this is a feature that has been lacking from more dedicated jackets in the past.
It not only makes the jacket weather tight but helps it feel warmer; it also makes it far more comfortable to wear.
It’s also pleasing to see a jacket that comes with rear pockets. The Sugoi RS Zap comes with three of them for storing your goods, although they could do with being a touch bigger – storing a pump is a little precarious.
Sadly, there’s no rear zipped pocket for those items which carry a little more value. Happily, there is one on the front which is useful for those quick-access items such as keys, tools, or a debit card.
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