We have thus far reviewed two items from the new Vulpine autumn/winter range, the Commuter jeans and the Waxed British Harrington. Both items have been great and we have been really impressed by the attention to detail, fit and workmanship of the products. The final piece we asked to try out is one from the Hoy line, the new Beacon Waterproof Jacket.
What is it?
The Beacon is a high visibility fully waterproof jacket – boy is this thing bright! As it is from the Hoy line, it is somewhat fitted as it it aimed at road riding in the winter. Even though this is aimed at the road market, I felt it had all the requirements for a great commuting jacket so wanted to try it out.
The jacket is made of a thick ripstop material. It is a three layer waterproof, meaning all the layers of material are bonded together. this makes it more packable than a 2 layer with a loose internal layer, and it also makes it easier to wear over clothes, in my opinion. I have always preferred 3 layer waterproofs and have found them to not be as stifling and hot as 2 layer.
The jacket has vents on the side like their Utility rain jacket which we reviewed last year. There are reflective patches on the shoulders which are a more rubbery/frictiony material. These are perforated to make them breathable but they are great to hold rucksack straps in place.
The fabric at the bottom on the front of the jacket is a dull khaki colour (it kind of looks grey next to the yellow but is infuse khaki). The shaping is incredible flattering and it lends the jacket a very sophisticated air. In my opinion it makes it more attractive than the other high vis jackets on the market. The cut is quite aggressive, in that it is short at the front and long at the back for a speedy riding position.
There is reflective detailing on the sleeves – good for singling at junctions – and a large reflective Hoy logo on the back. Finishing it all off is a small front pocket, big enough for a credit card or two and some keys.
The Beacon Waterproof jacket looks good. It is of course quite in your face and so if you really dislike neon then I am sure you would disagree with me. However, fit wise it looks great, and as I have said, compared to other high vis cycling jacket (I have had an Altura Night Vision Evo in the past) it is very classy. I have had quite a few complements while wearing it.
The material is really bombproof and robust without being too stiff or un-packable, and it beads water really well. It is quite warm as it has elastic cuffs and totally cuts the wind, so has really come into its own in the last few weeks and completely protects me from the elements. With a simple merino long sleeve top underneath it is warm enough for those of you who heat up while cycling to wear in temps right down to small single digits.
I have found that this is a great commuting jacket. It may have been designed for road riding, but it pulls double duty very well. It packs down into my bag well and doesn’t crease at all (not that that is a huge priority for me to be honest!). I don’t feel that I miss the pockets and bells and whistles you find on my urban orientated jackets, in fact I love its simplicity – It is a jacket with a purpose: to keep you dry and seen and at this it excels.
The cut is a little limited for layering. If you are a cooler cyclist and don’t warm up much while cycling you might struggle to get warm enough stuff underneath. This is purely because the front is so raised in relation to regular city clothing (and I am not even tall – my medium on someone a few inches taller would have been even more extreme). This problem can be mitigated by tucking your fleece into your jeans/trousers which will in face keep you even warmer, but it is not just a chuck it on and go jacket.
As I found with the Utility jacket, the vents are somewhat hampered by rucksack straps. This is great for when it is really cold, but of course limits venting in warmer weather – it seems to be standard placing for these vents, not something specific to a road cycling jacket. This limiting combined with pretty tight, non-adjustable cuffs does make this a pretty warm jacket. If you are putting effort into your cycling or get hot when exercising then plan to only wear this in very cold weather. Which, to be fair, is what this jacket is actually aimed at.
I really like this jacket. It works very well in urban environments even though it is not the intended use. I definitely think that I have had a little more recognition on the road for its enhanced visibility – in the right light is is damn bright. At the same time, I don’t think it is particularly ugly jacket, so if you are a high visibility naysayer then you really aren’t sacrificing much style wise and I maintain that this is a more visible jacket than a plain black one and that can only be a good thing while cycling around at night and on misty mornings.
Price wise the Beacon Waterproof is very reasonable at £160. It is inline with Gore jackets or other performance cycling waterproofs and it definitely matches up to them.
Have you tried any of the new Vulpine items? If so, what are your favourites?