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There has been disquiet in the BicycleVolt household for some time now.
Every day our friendly local postwoman delivers the mail to our door. Generally, this will be a collection of bills and junk but, on a fairly regular basis, there will be a parcel of goodies. These goodies will be new bike gear from manufacturers that I’ll be testing out and reviewing for BicycleVolt.
Whenever one of these parcels arrives, Mrs BicycleVolt (yep, that’s her real name) will get excited thinking that the parcel might be something for her. Unfortunately, it never is. It’s more free gear for me. Parcels of free gear make me very excited but, sadly, don’t do much for marital bliss.
And then along came Showers Pass and, like an expert marriage counsellor, they’ve restored peace and harmony in the BicycleVolt domestic setting with a cardboard box measuring less than 18”x12”x2”. Now, you might imagine that this box contained a sparkly and diamond-encrusted eternity ring, or maybe a stack of at-home worksheets on couples therapy exercises for communication. It didn’t. What it actually contained was a brand new Syncline CC Jacket in a women’s specific cut. This brought a bigger smile to Mrs BicycleVolt’s face than any ring or stack of marriage guidance worksheets could ever do.
“The Syncline CC jacket brought a bigger smile to Mrs BicycleVolt’s face than any diamond ring or stack of marriage guidance worksheets could ever do”
On paper, the Syncline promises to be more than merely a marriage saver though. It’s an exciting union of a light, highly packable and feature-rich hardshell jacket that’s perfect whether you’re a beginner or intermediate cyclist, and at a wallet-friendly price that leaves you with no excuse not to get that eternity ring for your Significant Other. Let’s take a look at the details.
What’s great about the Syncline CC Jacket
My wife has been testing out the women’s jacket, which comes in three color options – Black, Berry and Leaf Green. This jacket is available in five sizes: SM to XXL. My wife, who is 5’2” 150 lbs (yes, she’s going to kill me for mentioning that) and normally wears a US dress size 8-10 (yes, she’s going to kill me again) has been trying out the Berry in Large. She loves the color and feels that the jacket is the perfect fit for her: fitted where it needs to be but with sufficient space to allow free movement (you know, for things like cycling or punching her husband for revealing, on a global forum what dress size she is). The size works well on warm and wet days when she’s wearing it over a jersey and also on cold and wet days when she’s adding in a midlayer for warmth. She particularly loves the fact that it doesn’t fit her husband. Sigh.
Thankfully, the Syncline CC is also available in a men’s cut and this comes in two colors: Black and Firecracker (red); and in five sizes: SM through XXL.
Let’s look at the features that my wife loves about her Syncline jacket:
It’s waterproof, breathable and keeps the windchill at bay
My wife has been out cycling in the Syncline on some challenging days weather-wise. There have been days when the rain has poured down. Then there have been days when it’s been super cold and the windchill has been dialled up. In fact, whatever the weather, she always seems to be heading out on her bike. I’m beginning to think that she might be trying to keep her husband at bay…
But, what she’s definitely keeping at bay with the Syncline is the windchill as the Artex fabric that it’s made from (with it’s fully-taped seams) is windproof. It’s also fully waterproof – the rain just beads up and rolls off – and breathable – allowing sweat to evaporate and prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the jacket.
It’s a hardshell jacket, not a bulky thermal jacket, but because of the windproofing it let’s you wear fewer layers underneath, even when the mercury starts to plummet.
It’s a feature-rich jacket that works for cycling and other adventures
The jacket works great for my wife when she’s cycling and she’s also finding it a real asset for other activities like hiking and paddleboarding. Some of the features that she particularly likes include:
– adjustable hood that fits under her bike helmet
– drop hem at the rear of the jacket to stop water/mud splashing on her shorts
– reflective detailing all around the jacket making it easy to be seen at night
– lots of ventilation options to prevent over-heating: ‘pit zips’, mesh side pockets, and the main zipper
– Plenty of pockets: two hand pockets and two mesh inner pockets
– Velcro cuffs to get the perfect fit around her bike gloves
– Oh, and toggles at the waistband and hood so that she isn’t forced to, you know, tie any knots
It’s light and doesn’t take up much room in a backpack
The Syncline is a light jacket to wear and, on the kitchen scales, weighs in at only 11.1 oz (314g). That means the jacket has a barely-there feel to it and you’ll likely forget you’re wearing it. Despite the incredible technical performance of the Artex fabric for keeping you warm and dry, it’s a very thin material and so packs up very small (without too much trouble you can pack it to around 8.6×4.7×3.1 inches or 22x12x8cm). I’ll mention this more in a moment.
It doesn’t cost the earth…
If you’ve been wondering about the ‘CC’ in the name of the Syncline, then it stands for Clean Color. The Syncline jacket is part of Showers Pass’ Clean Color apparel collection that only uses Bluesign certified dyes – an independent textile industry standard that ensures that the dyes used in creating the jacket keep harmful chemicals from being released into the environment.
Showers Pass have committed to moving all of their textile production to Bluesign certified dyes and the Syncline CC is one of their first jackets to showcase these new clean colors.
…and it isn’t expensive
There’s an overall feel with the Syncline that Showers Pass have taken a whole basket full of great features and combined them into one awesome jacket, and then tagged it with a really low price. Maybe they’ve made a mistake on the price? Who knows, but I’m not going to tell them. Let’s just keep it between me and you, ok?
What’s not great about the Syncline
To be honest, it’s difficult to come up with any negatives about the Syncline. My wife, who is totally in love with her jacket, is completely unable to see any downside at all to it. But, as I’m the objective outsider here, then I think it’s worth mentioning the packability of the Syncline.
Unlike other Showers Pass jackets (such as the Cloudburst), the Syncline doesn’t pack up into its own pocket. It’s a feature that I really appreciate about the Cloudburst as it means that you can pack the jacket away neatly and safely in order to stash it in a jersey pocket, backpack or hip pack. That said, the Syncline is very light and will fold up to a compact size. So it’s very easy to stash it away when it’s not needed.
The Syncline CC is proving to be an excellent all-rounder for cycling and other recreational activities. It’s light to wear and carry and yet doesn’t skimp on the waterproofing and breathability of the fabric. The construction of the jacket works well for cycling with the drop rear hem, reflective detailing and under-the-helmet style hood.
It’s billed as an entry-level jacket but I think this is doing it a disservice. Without doubt it’s a great starter jacket: when you’re just dipping your toe in the water of cycling you get a ton of features at a fantastic price. However this jacket is going to see you well into your intermediate cycling adventures too, so there’s no need for an expensive upgrade anytime soon.
I’m left with my OLD cycling jacket, Mrs BicycleVolt gets the cool NEW Syncline CC jacket, she won’t let it be BORROWED, and that leaves me feeling BLUE.
Hey ho. She’s happy with her Syncline and I suspect you will be too if you take the plunge.