Q36.5 Termica Jacket review£280.00

High-performance, quirky-looking winter protection

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Q36.5 is a new high-end Italian brand and the Termica is the flagship winter jacket – don’t worry, it also comes in black or orange as well as this sci-fi silver. Even in black, the styling is nonetheless very Italian. The back of the collar and the lining of the rear pockets is camouflage fabric and there’s some bright green piping… even on the orange version.

The Termica is pitched as a winter jacket for more intense riding, rather than what Q36.5 refer to as traditional, steady base miles. To that end, it has large breathable panels on the sides, back and under the arms. 

There's a useful pocket on the upper left arm which can store a few energy gels
There's a useful pocket on the upper left arm which can store a few energy gels

The rest of it is windproof, thermal and water-repellent thanks to a Durable Water-Repellent coating. There are three rear pockets plus a zipped one for keys and another one on the upper left arm which is odd but easy to access, and can hold several gels.

It’s a substantial piece; I’d call it a light-heavyweight at 465g (size M). A Castelli Gabba is much less bulky and 355g because it isn’t thermal; the heaviest jacket in our wardrobe is a 2012 Castelli Mannaggia Due at 565g, which feels much thicker.

The Termica is really warm and windproof
The Termica is really warm and windproof

The Termica is really warm and windproof, and it delivers exactly as promised when riding hard, which we tested by doing an interval session on the evening commute at 0ºC. That can be a recipe for over-heating during the effort and then chilling during the recovery phase but the Termica manages to be warm enough straight out the door and then really breathable when you’re on the rivet. It’s versatile, too, easily good down to -4ºC or so and up to around 12ºC with base layers chosen accordingly.

The double-collar is genius. The inner one is soft, warm and hugs your neck to block drafts. The long and pre-curved sleeves are also effective, so it’s a shame that their internal seams feel really bulky and that the cuffs are so basic, making it hard to create a neat and secure integration with your gloves

You don't have to pull silly poses in this jacket, but it's fun to do so
You don't have to pull silly poses in this jacket, but it's fun to do so

What’s more, the breathable panel at the back over the sleeve comes up and across the end of the forearm – it isn’t DWR treated so rain quickly penetrates and soaks your base layer, which dutifully wicks it everywhere else, soaking you and rendering redundant the effective water resistance elsewhere.

I like the Termica a lot but going back to my favourite jacket, the Sportful Fiandre No Rain (£175), highlights its idiosyncracies. The Fiandre is almost as breathable, better in the rain and gets right such important details as the cuffs and seams. It’s £100 cheaper, too, and remains my first recommendation. The Q36.5 Termica certainly has a place, though, and it will be interesting to see more product from this free-thinking brand in the future.

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