Arc’teryx is well known in climbing and hiking circles for producing very high quality, well fitting clothing. They have had a commuter line for a few years now but it seems to have attracted very little attention in this country. With the opening of a new flagship store, and my general love for pretty jackets that keep me comfortable on a bike, I leapt at the chance to review a couple of the urban friendly pieces: the commuter jacket softshell and the commuter trousers, also somewhat softshell like.
Arc’teryx A2B Commuter jacket – £150
I am a big fan of softshell jackets. I think for most London weather they are prefect and I usually find them more comfortable than a full waterproof. Winter rain is really the only time I will switch. In previous years I have stuck with hiking specific softshells which work for general biking around, but are not quite as good as a bike specific one.
Enter the Arc’teryx commuter jacket softshell. When I saw it, I knew I had to have one. It looks totally acceptable for city wear, pub worthy and not too lurid. It has a lengthened back to cover you up while on the bike, and the sleeves fold over so they are the right length on and off the bike. The extensions on the sleeves have reflective hits for signalling visibility.
To top it all off, Arc’teryx makes probably the best tailored technical clothing I have found. The softshell is no exception. It fits great. I have a women’s medium and it is big enough for a layer underneath in the winter, but looks good with just a t-shirt under it as well.
Both the mens and womens jackets have a rear pocket, a la general cycling gear, but it doesnt stand out too much. The women’s jacket has a funnel neck which folds down, whereas the mens has a standard jacket collar. These little touches add to the utility as a city cycling jacket.
The fabric is water repellent and quick drying. I wore it to cycle and walk through rain showers and found that I didnt get wet. It would not hold up to sustained rain as that is not its purpose. It is pretty wind proof, taking most of the chill out of the wind, while still being breathable and cool in slightly warmer weather.
The jacket comes in a range of colours so you can be bright or stealth. All the offerings though suggest urban rather than cycling
A2B Commuter Pant – £130
Along with a soft-shell and a hardshell, Arc’teryx also make several trousers. The ones I looked at were the commuter pants, a somewhat jean like trouser. They fit like a generous jean, making them comfortable on the bike and not too restrictive. Of course they are not actually denim, rather a thickish quick drying material with a denim style weave to it. They also have articulated knees so there is no uncomfortable binding while riding.
The trousers have the normal pockets on the hips and bum, along with an extra set of zipped cargo pockets on the thigh. There is enough room under the trousers to fit some padded dinner shorts, so I can see the thigh pocket being useful not just around town, but also if you were wanting some casually styled longer distance trousers.
The fabric repels water well and dries quickly. Therefore they would be good for touring round town, or wearing for the ride into and home from work. Depending on the working environment you may be able to get away with these at work, but they are certainly on the casual side of things.
The mens are styled the same and have the same features as the women’s. I, of course, cannot comment on fit, but from what I have seen online, they look good and in a similar vein to the women’s.
The A2B line has a lot to offer those choosing to ride a bike around London. Not only are the garments packed full of awesome cycling appropriate features, but they fit like a dream!
The jacket is one of the most comfortable ones I have ever had, on or off the bike. It is light but warm and repels a good amount of precipitation. The trousers are a pretty good option for wearing on the commute or a causal weekend ride, but they only blend in in the most casual of situations.
Arc’teryx make excellent quality, high-end clothing and they continue that with these items. The brand has just launched a flagship store on Piccadilly which stocks most of the A2B line, or you can see them on their website.
Are you as much of a fan of soft shell clothing as I am? Have you tried out the Arc’teryx A2B clothing? Let us know!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.