If you are not put off by a bit of bad weather, or you spend enough time riding for the need to be prepared for every eventuality. Proper mountain bike jackets provide riders with the necessary protection for riding on bad weather days. But there are a few things to consider before you buy one.
You need to make sure that it is comfortable, going to perform well and be durable enough for your rides. I have put together a list of some of the best ones, whether you are riding on a wet weekend in Wales or tackling an alpine descent.
Choosing Mountain Bike Jackets
Choosing mountain bike jackets, depends on the type of riding you do. If you ride in bad weather often, a lightweight jacket is not for you. You will need a durable heavy-duty jacket, in order to protect you from the elements. A lightweight jacket is great to chuck in your bag for when the weather changes unexpectedly.
What to Look For
Mountain bike jackets should not restrict your movement too much, and allow you to comfortably position yourself over the handle bars. Therefore, lightweight jackets are best for this, as their ergonomics allow for easy movement around the bike. They are also breathable. However, you don’t get the full protection from rain.
Heavy duty jackets, give you lots of protection and keep you nice and warm. But, they are bulkier and may restrict movement. They also have the potential to make you a bit sweaty due to less breathability.
Even if you use a backpack, you will need some decent pockets in your mountain bike jacket. You need to make sure that the pockets are waterproof, can be sealed and be easily accessible.
You don’t want to get caught out with the wrong mountain bike jacket. You need to choose one with fabrics that offer the right amount of ventilation and insulation. Look at jackets with windproof properties to keep that chill off. You also should be aware of their moisture wicking and breathability.
I’m a firm believer of “you get what you pay for”, and this extends to mountain bike jackets. If you can afford to go for a more expensive option, you should. However, if you are on a budget you can forfeit certain features. For example, waterproof mountain bike jackets are more expensive than water resistant ones. Therefore, if you ride in milder conditions a water resistant jacket may be sufficient.
The two most common fabrics you will find in mountain bike jackets are ‘coated fabrics’ and ‘membranes’.
Cheaper mountain bike jackets are likely to use coated fabrics. This means they have a polyurethane coating on the inside. There are different levels of this coating available. Jackets with a thick coating are very waterproof and durable, but not that breathable. You will notice that they have mesh liners inside. This is to help wick away your sweat.
Some jackets are coated, but have pores to help with breathability. These mountain bike jackets don’t need mesh inside them. This makes them more supple and easier to move while wearing them. This techy fabric tends to make these mountain bike jackets more expensive.
Membranes are either inside or integrated in to the fabric. They have pores that are big enough to allow the fabric to be breathable, but small enough to stop water getting in. These mountain bike jackets are the most breathable, but there are still compromises. This is because the toss up between durability and performance versus lightweight and breathability is still there to a point.
|Endura Flyte From £45|
|Fox Pro Attack Water Jacket from £85|
|dhb MTB Trail Hooded Soft-shell Jacket from £90|
|Gore Gore-Tex Pro Hooded Jacket £280|
|dhb Lightweight Packable Shell |
|Ladies Fox Pro Attack jacket|
What type of Rider are you?
If you like to go for an easy pedal around canal paths or easy trails, you will be fine with a mountain bike jacket with coated fabric. As long as you don’t mind getting a bit warm, due to the lack of breathability.
If you ride a lot, you are likely to go out in all weathers. Unfortunately, there won’t be one perfect jacket for every eventuality. However, the best compromise will be a high end jacket. A jacket with membrane fabric, will be able to regulate your temperature better, while keeping you dry. If possible, buy a lightweight shell too and you should be able to cover all bases.
Features of Mountain Bike Jackets
Hoods – You will be fine without a hood for most types of riding. However, if you are riding at high altitudes or areas prone to really bad weather, you may want one. Some mountain bike jackets have removable hoods, which is a pretty useful feature.
Ventilation – Vents on mountain bike jackets are not that essential, unless you have a cheaper jacket. These can help release some of that body heat. But, for higher end mountain bike jackets, vents are not as important, due to their better breathability.
Adjustability – Being able to adjust your jacket is great to get the perfect fit, however, there are some compromises. If there is a lot of adjustability, you get more layers of material and taped seams. This will impact on the breathability of the jacket.
The Best Mountain Bike Jackets Available Now
Endura Flyte Jacket
Buy your Endura Flyte Jacket from Chainreaction from £45
The Endura Flyte jacket is an excellent choice for cold days out on your bike. It is medium weight with excellent waterproofing and breathability.
The three layer protection will keep you dry, while the zip is covered by a wide velcro-secured flap. It has a front and large rear pocket with waterproof zips, to keep your stuff safe.
The Endura Flyte jacket is very comfortable too. This is down to the stretchy material over the shoulders. It is also quite adjustable, as you adjust the cuffs, hem and fleece collar. I really like the useful glasses wipe stitched in to the front pocket.
- Material: 90% Polyester, 9% Polyamide, 1% Elastane
- Reflective flush inset panels front and rear
- Laser cut/welded chest pocket with waterproof zipper and glasses wipe
- Rear stash pocket
- Adjustable collar, hem and cuffs
- Waterproofness: 12,000mm
- Breathability: 28,000gms
Verdict: A great medium weight jacket, that is breathable and waterproof. It is excellent value for money too.
DhB MTB Trail Hooded Soft Shell Jacket
Buy your dhb MTB Trail Softshell Jacket from Wiggle from £64.80
This is one of dhb’s thermal mountain bike jackets, and will keep you warm on those winter rides. It is insulating, water resistant and windproof.
It is a membrane jacket that will protect you from the wind, while being breathable. Inside, this jacket has a lightweight thermal grid fleece that is soft to skin, keeping you snug, but not too snug. The outside has a DWR treatment, which makes it water resistant, as does the YKK Aquaguard front zip.
I like the hood on this jacket, as it is large enough to fit over your helmet, and has a stiff peak to help keep the rain out of your face.
The fit of this jacket is ideal for enduro or trail riding. This is because it is loose enough to allow you to move around the bike freely, but tight enough for it to not flap around or catch on trees etc. It is another very comfortable jacket thanks to the fleece lining and the stretch of the fabric.
The hem is adjustable and hangs slightly lower at the back for added protection. The cuffs are not adjustable, but they are tailored for a comfortable fit, with internal gaiters to keep in the warmth.
This jacket has two large hand pockets that have glove friendly zip pullers. The lining of the pockets are mesh, this means when you are not carrying anything in them, you can open them and use them as vents.
- Material: 81% Polyester, 19% Polyurethane
- Thermal softshell jacket for riding in cold winter conditions
- Breathable, windproof membrane with fleecy inside; breathability rating 10,000g/m/24hr
- DWR treated outer fabric and membrane for protection against light rain shower; waterproof rating 10,000mm
- Stretch fabric to allow for freedom of movement
- Adjustable hood with a stiffened hood peak
- Waterproof YKK Aquaguard™ front zipper to seal out the elements
- Two spacious hand pockets with glove-friendly zip pullers that can also be used for ventillation
- Shaped cuffs for coverage and internal cuff gaiters to trap in warmth
- Adjustable hem
- Reflective logos and trims for added visibility in low light conditions
Verdict: This is one of those mountain bike jackets ideal for cold days, with a chance of rain. Probably not ideal for torrential downpours, but it will keep you snug and dry in most situations.
dhb MTB Lightweight Packable Shell
Buy your dhb Lightweight Packable Shell from Chainreaction from £100
Mountain bike jackets that can be stuffed in you backpack are great for unexpected changes in weather. dhb make this brilliant jacket that is ideal for those situations.
Even though this jacket is super light, it is deceptively high performing. It is fully waterproof, with taped seams and a YKK waterproof Aquaguard zip.
When you have pulled this out of your bag and put it on you will find it surprisingly comfortable. This is because it is also very breathable with an element of stretch in the fabric. Just like the soft shell jacket above, the hem is adjustable to keep the mud from going down your shorts. The elasticated cuffs prevent the wind getting in when you are riding super fast, smashing those Strava segments too.
The chest pocket is easily accessible, and easy to open with large glove friendly zip pullers. It also has reflective logos, to give you a bit of visibility when is starts to get dark.
- Material: 100% Polyester
- Seam-taped construction for waterproofing
- Breathable, waterproof fabric
- Hood for extra protection
- Waterproof YKK Aquaguard™ front zipper
- Shaped elasticated cuffs.
- Packs down into internal pouch
Verdict: A easy to stash light weight jacket for great protection when the weather closes in. It is a comfortable and very practical way to be prepared on a ride.
Fox Pro Attack Water Jacket
Buy your Fox Pro Attack Water Jacket from Evans Cycles from £85
Buy the ladies version of the Fox Pro Attack Jacket from Evans Cycles for £75
I really like the look of the Fox Pro Attack mountain bike jackets. With a close-fitting shape, it moves with your body when you are riding aggressively. The seams are taped to keep out the rain and it has a quality feel to it, giving you confidence that it is going to last a while. However, it is not a bulky jacket, which means you don’t feel too restricted by it and it will fit in most backpacks.
It has two good sized zipped pockets and reflective details on the back for when you are heading home from the pub at night. The arms have Cordura abrasion resistant patches, to protect them from tree branches and scuffs from falls.
Adjustability of this jacket is in the hem and the cuffs for comfort. But, to make sure the weather and mud is kept outside the fabric is DWR treated, while being windproof.
- Front zip vents with laser perforated back exhaust
- Abrasion resistant Cordura® arm patches
- Reflective details in key areas for visibility
- TRUSEAL – Advanced weather protection for a wide range of weather conditions.
- Lightweight 3L waterproof breathable main body fabric
- C6 DWR treated
- Zoned lightweight 3L stretch (shoulders and underarms).
- Rider Attack Position patterning specific for MTB.
- Draw cord cinching at hem, hook and loop cuff provide customized fit.
Verdict: A great looking and performing mountain bike jacket. It is easy to carry and it won’t hinder your movements while riding.
Gore C7 Gore-Tex Pro Hooded Jacket
Buy your Gore C7 Gore-Tex Pro Hooded Jacket from Evans Cycles for £400
OK this is an expensive one, if it was a car it would be the Ferrari La Ferrari. One of those cars that they don’t sell many of, but it is a showcase of all the best components and technology available.
You are probably aware of Gore-Tex, the super techy fabric made from composite layers. This stuff is extremely waterproof and breathable.
It looks quite plain and simple from the outside, but under closer inspection, the attention detail is impressive. From the taped seams and zips to the way you can adjust the various elements of the jacket have clearly had a lot of thought gone in to them.
This jacket is a shell, designed to protect you from the wind, rain and snow, but has no insulation. The external fabric is resistant to abrasions and is completely waterproof. As with most mountain bike jackets, the back is lower, but it also has an extendable flap to lower it even further. The adjustable hood is designed to go under your helmet and is adjustable to allow the best peripheral vision possible.
The neck is designed to tuck under your helmet to prevent water dripping off it and down your back. You can let air in if you need to, via the two large zips in the sides. These expose the mesh vents, allowing air to flow in bringing down the temperature inside the jacket.
The Gore C7 has two side zip pockets and a handy phone pocket half-way down your chest, protected from the elements by a flap.
The fit is designed for athletes, so it is quite tight-fitting. Additionally, this fit does help with the moisture wicking through the Gore-Tex barrier.
- Waterproof, windproof, breathable Gore-Tex performance.
- Garments engineered with Gore-Tex Pro fabrics are built for maximized ruggedness and are ideal for extreme and extended use.
- Highly abrasion resistant fabric on outside.
- Fleece-lined, close fit high collar.
- Adjustable cuff.
- Adjustable hem.
- Fold-away drop tail.
- Napoleon pocket with zip
- 2 front zip pockets.
- Reflective logo, print on sleeves and band along edge of shield
- 2 side zip ventilation openings
- Adjustable hood. (width and field of vision
Verdict: A fantastic jacket that will do everything. Therefore, it is not just for riding bikes, but for hiking and general wearing. You may want to go up a size if you prefer a looser fit. It is expensive, but it is very versatile and you do get what you pay for.
Which one is for you?
These are all great mountain bike jaclkets for different situations you may find yourself in on a ride. Which one will you choose? Or do you have a great product that should go oin this list of mountain bike jackets? Let me know in the comments below.