My perennial search for the cycling jacket Holy Grail has led me to a simply brilliant soft shell from
Why is it my Holy Grail? Because I’m a fat lad who boils in the bag in Gore-Tex, eVent and Windstopper fabrics; this thing breathes better than anything else I've tried while remaining properly windproof. In fact, it’s so breathable, that I even used it on changeable summer evenings. Sure, it’ll eventually succumb in an epic deluge ride, but I don’t have time for them anymore anyhow.
The Tempo is made from a 90% polyester and 10% Elastane, is stretchable in all the right areas and packs up small enough into my new Wingnut hydration pack to leave room for spare tubes, pump and tools.
It doesn’t have a designated (read, no cycling posture) cycling cut and, that means I can happily wear it down the pub, round town or even out pushing the bairn around on her pink tricycle. It has two side and one chest pocket (with a handy headphone port for those that can’t do without music) for the things we like to keep close by. The Lycra cuffs and hem comfortably hug your body while you’re on the move and reflective logos and zipper tape keep you visible at night.
You definitely need a mid layer under it in colder months though, as it's nippy when stopped on top of a moor on the colder nights compared with a Gore equivalent with the same base layer. Using a mid-layer as well would take away its improved breathability over the Gore. However, bear in mind that I have a few extra stone of fat insulation, so race whippets would probably need a mid-layer with it and the Gore anyway, or even a gilet over the top.
It comes in a range of natty colours and is the soft shell bargain of the century at only £70. And the downsides? If it really was the jacket to beat all jackets, then it would have crash-resistant elbows and reinforced shoulder areas to limit hydration pack rubbing - but even its more expensive soft shell competitors lack these features, so we can’t mark it down for that. Check out www.marmot.com or call Marmot