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Old 07-13-2015, 09:10 AM   #1
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Tested Weise Zurich jacket

British jacket gets hot weather testing

Like a favourite pair of trainers my eight-year-old Dainese jacket was an irreplaceable friend... but it was time to say goodbye. It had started to leak in the rain leaving me with embarrassing wet patches around the waist. Worse still, I was beginning to detect a 'wet dog in a duck pond' aroma about it.

But how to replace the perfect all-weather jacket?

Here's my brief: I commute all year round and take a few summer tours so I was looking for a jack-of-all-trades jacket with a removable liner and plenty of pockets. Actually, I can't emphasize the importance of pockets enough. My bike jacket is the equivalent of a handbag - it contains all my essentials (wallet, phone, keys), and plenty of non-essentials besides (Polo mints, pens, memory sticks... I once found a zombie Lego pirate in the breast pocket when I was hunting for Euros at a peage.)

German sounding British clothing brand Weise has a decent selection of jackets that fit the bill, mostly at the low-to-mid end of the price range and with a conservative styling that broadly follows the trends without setting too many of its own.

I've been riding with the Weise Zurich (£129) for a month now and my first impressions are good... of course, it's got another seven years and eleven months before I can speak decisively!

I like the subtle shades of grey and black sleeves and the fact it's not plastered with logos and naff graphics. The design looks fresh and unstaid and more than just a bit BMW. The Zurich might be a bit unadventurous for more outré tastes.

The jacket comes with a removable lining... and the first thing I did was remove it. The thermometer was tickling 25 degrees when I took delivery and steadily crept up to 30 degrees. Commuting through central London in that heat is going to be unpleasant in anything but a string vest, but the Zurich coped as best it could.

There are four zippable air vents above and below the breast pockets which are pretty good at getting some air flowing under the arms, helping to minimise sweaty pits. There are two more air vents at the back of the jacket.

I've already confessed my penchant for pockets and I'm well served with the Zurich. There are four large exterior pockets, the largest two are fastened with velcro. There are also two waterproof inner pockets for mobile phones as well as a large map pocket at the base of the spine (which must be about the most inconvenient place to store a map you need in a hurry.)

There is a thick, rubbery CE back protector that will serve well if you've got nothing better beneath and also armour in the shoulder and elbows.

After the scorching heat the storm broke. I'd been waiting for some rain to test the Zurich's claimed waterproofing and it cleared the first hurdle. Of course, you'd expect a waterproof jacket to withstand its first shower... but this was not just summer spots. There was forked lightning, the rumble of thunder ahead and as the rain hosed me like a power shower I felt quite cosy zipped up against the elements and perfectly dry within.

I like how the jacket can be adjusted for a snug fit, both around the arms and also the waist. It stops the fabric billowing in the wind blast and a tighter jacket always feels more secure than a baggy one.

Before testing the Zurich I tried the slightly more expensive Weise Atlanta jacket (£159.99). I was wearing a medium, which fitted trim off the bike but was uncomfortable in the saddle, chafing around my neck. After a week I swapped for a large Zurich and found it a much better fit.

There's little to recommend the more expensive Atlanta over the Zurich. For starters, it has fewer exterior pockets - just two at the front compared to four on the Zurich. Also the pockets are shallower and retrieving my wallet at the petrol station was like delivering a baby. Sorry for talking about pockets so much.

Both jackets are good value for money but it's hard to see where the extra £30 for the Atlanta goes, I'd choose the cheaper Zurich every time. I'll report back in six months after some winter riding to see how it stands up to the cooler weather and more persistent rain showers.

Price: £129.99 (Zurich) £159.99 (Atlanta)

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