Best Cycling Jackets

When the weather starts getting colder, the last thing you want to do is let the temperature drop affect the sporting activities you plan to perform. If you’re an avid cycler, then you’ll still want to hit your bike when the weather gets cold. If you’re in that boat, then you’ll want to consider purchasing one of the best cycling jackets to keep you warm and on the trails or streets even when the weather isn’t sunny.

There are so many options on the market today when searching for a good cycling jacket, that it can be difficult to make a good selection without spending hours of time doing your research. To help save you hours of searching, we’ve comprised a list of the ten best cycling markets available for purchase now, and we’ll also cover some criteria points you’ll want to evaluate before you make your decision.

Castelli Gabba 2
  • Castelli Gabba 2
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great ventilation
  • Comfortable
  • Price: See Here
Sportful No-Rain Light
  • Sportful No-Rain Light
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Warm
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
Proviz PixElite
  • Proviz PixElite
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Good weather protection
  • Comfortable
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Cycling Jackets

 

 

Castelli Gabba 2

The Castelli Gabba 2 Jacket comes with some very durable materials, and also provides great comfort and ventilation. You’ll get a lot of weather protection and value out of this jacket if you decide to purchase it.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket provides you with a lot of comfort, since it’s designed to provide great ventilation and keep you dry. The fit is form-fitting, but the material is stretchy and flexible, so you won’t have to worry about your movements feeling restricted.

Weather Protection:

This jacket provides you with ample amounts of weather protection, since it does a great job of keeping out the cold weather. With Gore Windstopper Fabric, you get a nice, breathable protective outer shell that can keep you dry and ventilate well.

Durability:

Made from polyester and the Gore Winstopper Fabric, you get a strong, durable shell with this jacket. Also, the jacket isn’t totally waterproof, but it is water-resistant, and the technology used to provide this jacket with weather protection makes it very durable as well.

Value:

This jacket falls in the average price range, so it’s a good value for what you’ll get. Since it’s so durable, the jacket will last you many seasons.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Great ventilation

  • Durable

  • Good weather protection

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could have more pockets

 

Sportful R&D Light

The Sportful R&D Light Jacket is made to be a very warm and lightweight jacket, with excellent comfort and insulation. It’s got a great design and it is also very durable.
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Fit and Comfort:

Made for warmth, this jacket is form-fitting and also very flexible, so it will move with you as you move. Also, it’s very breathable, so you should feel comfortable anytime you wear it.

Weather Protection:

The Sportful R&D Light Jacket is designed with Polartec Alpha insulation technology, which was made for the U.S. Special forces but is now also used for a lot of outdoor clothing. The jacket comes with a water resistant and wind resistant outer shell as well.

Durability:

This jacket is highly durable, and designed with high-quality materials that make it a long-lasting jacket. You’ll get plenty of use out of this jacket if you decide to purchase it.

Value:

This jacket runs in the affordable price range, and for everything you get with it, it’s a good value. Since it’s quite durable, you’ll be able to use it for long periods of time.
Pros
  • Durable

  • Good value

  • Good weather protection

  • Very warm

Cons
  • Good ventilation for the insulation, but some jackets breathe better

  • Can run small

 

Proviz PixElite Softshell

If you want a jacket that offers a lot of reflective features for extra protection when you ride in low-light, then you might want to consider the Proviz PixElite Softshell Jacket. It’s a very reflective jacket that still looks great during the day, so it’s got fashion and style to boot.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket is designed to be form-fitting, and the sizes in this type of jacket can run small. Make sure you check the size chart before you purchase this jacket. Otherwise, this jacket offers a lot of comfort and is very flexible.

Weather Protection:

This jacket is water-resistant, although not fully waterproof. However, it will protect you decently if run into some light rain. Proviz’s jacket also features built-in wind resistance.

Durability:

Proviz’s jacket is made to be durable, and its high-quality materials and weather protection make it a long-lasting jacket. You’ll be able to wear it for many seasons before you’ll need to worry about replacing it.

Value:

This jacket runs in the average price range, and for what you get with it, it comes at a good price. You’ll have everything you need, so you know you’ll be making a solid investment.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Durable

  • Weather protection

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could come in more color options

 

Endura MTR Emergency Shell

Endura MTR Emergency Shell
If you’re looking for a lightweight, practical jacket that can keep you warm and safe from the elements, then you might like the Endura MTR Emergency Shell. This jacket doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s simple design is one of its most attractive features, since it is very functional.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket provides you with a solid fit and offers a lot of flexibility as well, so it won’t restrict your movements. Also, the jacket breathes very well, so you’ll feel comfortable each time you wear it.

Weather Protection:

This jacket includes two layers of waterproof protection, making the jacket both water and wind resistant. You’ll never have to worry about getting overly soaked whenever you wear this jacket.

Durability:

The Endura MTR Jacket is built to last, and comes with high-quality materials that give it a strong design. You should be able to get a lot of use out of this jacket.

Value:

The Endura MTR Emergency Shell Jacket is an affordable option. It costs slightly less than some of the more average priced jackets, and still packs in a lot of performance and protection.
Pros
  • Good weather protection

  • Flexible

  • Good weather protection

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could have more colors

Gore One Gore-Tex Active

Gore One Gore-Tex Active
The Gore One Gore-Tex Active Bike Jacket brings you a very lightweight option in jackets that’s also very waterproof and windproof. While the jacket isn’t as flexible as some, it does pack in a lot of performance and protection into a very light model.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket is comfortable to wear, but it’s not quite as flexible as some other jacket options on our list. Depending on how you move when you ride, this could or could not be a problem for you.

Weather Protection:

This jacket features Gore-Tex waterproof and weatherproofing protection, which will protect you from both the rain and wind. You should easily stay warm and dry whenever you put this jacket on.

Durability:

With the Gore-Tex technology designed into this jacket, this jacket is very strong and built to last. You should be able to use it for some time before you need to worry about replacing it.

Value:

This jacket runs on the more expensive side, but it does give you a lot for the price. However, if you are shopping on a budget, this might not be the jacket for you.
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Waterproof

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Short tail

  • Tight wrists

  • Not very stretchy

Endura Women’s SingleTrack

Endura Women’s SingleTrack
Endura is a brand that’s known for making quality outdoor products that are capable of protecting you well from the weather. The Endura Women’s SingleTrack jacket brings another great option in durable, protective clothing.
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Fit and Comfort:

The fit of the Endura Women’s SingleTrack Jacket is slim, and the jacket is also designed to be very flexible. You’ll get a lot of comfort with this jacket, and the jacket is designed to move as you move.

Weather Protection:

With 2.5 layers of waterproof protection, this jacket breathes very well and will keep you safe from the rain and wind. You won’t need to worry about getting wet, or soaking in sweat when you wear this jacket.

Durability:

This jacket is made to be very durable, and you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of the high-quality materials packed into its design. You’ll be able to wear this jacket for many seasons.

Value:

This jacket is affordably priced, and costs a bit less than some of the other jackets on our list that run at an average price. For the weather protection and durability you’ll get with this jacket, you’ll be making a good investment.
Pros
  • Nice cut

  • Slim fitting

  • Flexible

Cons
  • Pockets not waterproof

  • Zippers not waterproof

Castelli Tempesta

Castelli Tempesta
The Castelli Tempesta jacket can provide you with an excellent fit and ample amounts of weather protection when you are on the go. While its durability is lacking, it does perform well pretty much across the board with that one exception.
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Fit and Comfort:

The Castelli jacket is designed to fit very well, and provides you with a lot of comfort. Plus, the jacket ventilates well, so you won’t have to worry about feeling wet while you are active.

Weather Protection:

Castelli designed this jacket with their own eVent fabric, which is basically a Gore-Tex knock-off. You’ll get a lot of water protection from this fabric, as well as excellent breathability.

Durability:

While this jacket has a good design, it’s not quite as durable and long-lasting as some other options on our list. So, if durability is really an issue for you, you may need to consider purchasing a different jacket.

Value:

The Castelli Tempesta jacket runs on the expensive side of things, so if you are shopping on a budget, this might not be the jacket for you. Also, considering the price, this jacket isn’t quite as durable as some other options.
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Waterproof

  • Good fit

  • Reflectivity

Cons
  • Zipper can snag

  • Not durable

     

Louis Garneau Modesto 2

Louis Garneau Modesto 2
The Louis Garneau Modesto 2 Jacket lightweight jacket that offers you excellent weather protection and performance. It’s flexible fabric and comfort will feel great each time you want to ride your bike.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket is designed to be both form-fitting and flexible, so it offers you a lot of comfort while you are on the go. It’s also very breathable and provides you with excellent ventilation.

Weather Protection:

This polyester jacket comes with Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric, which makes the jacket very weather proof. You’ll get full wind protection plus a jacket that can repel water well.

Durability:

Made with durable fabrics, this jacket will give you a lot of protection and stay strong when you need it to be. You should be able to use this jacket for quite some time.

Value:

This jacket is priced in the average range, and for what it offers, it’s a good value. You’ll get ample amounts of weather protection and durability with this jacket.
Pros
  • Good weather protection

  • Durable

  • Flexible

Cons
  • Not fully waterproof

  • Could come in more color options

Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0

Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0
The Gore Bike Wear Oxygen 2.0 Jacket uses some of the best weather protection technology on the market today. This jacket is also very breathable and comfortable, and brings you everything you need for your rides.
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Fit and Comfort:

This jacket fits very well, and provides an excellent fit around the neck. It also provides you with a lot of comfort, and it ventilates very well.

Weather Protection:

This polyester shell jacket comes with a Gore-Tex membrane, which makes the jacket waterproof and windproof. So, you’ll get all of the weather protection you need combined into one with this jacket.

Durability:

Made with top-of-the line Gore-Tex technology and high-quality fabrics, this jacket is very durable. It will last you quite some time before you’ll need to worry about purchasing a new jacket.

Value:

This jacket features some of the best weather protection available on the market today, but that also makes it more expensive than many other products on our list. So, if you are shopping on a budget, this might not be the jacket for you.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Great weather protection

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • No pockets

  • Zippers can break

Showers Pass Pro Tech ST

Showers Pass Pro Tech ST
The Showers Pass Pro Tech ST Cycling Jacket brings you plenty of weather protection packed into a well-designed jacket. You’ll be able to stay warm and dry with its waterproof breathable membrane and excellent ventilation.
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Fit and Comfort:

Bringing you an anatomic fit, this jacket is designed to be flexible and not restrict your movements. Also, this jacket is very comfortable and soft to the touch on the inside.

Weather Protection:

Designed with a waterproof breathable membrane, you’ll get plenty of water and wind protection with this jacket. Also, the waterproof membrane also ventilates well, so you should be able to stay fairly comfortable.

Durability:

This jacket is designed with durable materials that are built to be long lasting. You should get several seasons of use out of this jacket’s design. It’s not quite as durable as some other products on our list, but for its price, it is a good choice.

Value:

This jacket is one of the most affordable products on our list, and is made with value in mind. While it might last as long as some other jackets, it’s still a solid investment.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Good weather protection

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Could have more color options

     

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

Finding the best jacket to use when you’re riding your bike can sometimes be a difficult decision. You want something with some type of weather protection, but you also want to make sure that it’s still breathable enough so that you don’t have to feel like you are sitting in your own sweat when you are on your bike. So, taking that into consideration, you’ll need to look closely at the ventilation on these jackets as well.  Of course, budget is going to be another important thing you’ll need to take a look at, as well as how much value you’ll actually get out of this jacket.

When you’re searching around for the best cycling jackets, you’ll want to consider a few different criteria points to help you make your decision. The criteria points we used to analyze each jacket include fit and comfort, weather protection, and durability. We’ll take a closer look at each of these ideas below so that you can better analyze your jacket choices and make the correct decision for you. If you wind up with something that isn’t comfortable when you wear it, you’ll wind up wasting your money because you’ll be more likely to just set the jacket aside. So, make sure you find something that feels great when you wear it.

Fit and Comfort

How well the jacket fits you and how comfortable it feels each time you wear it can really be a matter of personal preference, but cycling jackets do need to have a certain fit so that they don’t slow you down when you are on the go. The cycling jackets we’ve provided on our list are all form-fitting and meant to provide you with a slim fit so that your profile stays aerodynamic as you move on your bike. So, some of the brands we have on our list might run a bit small simply because these jackets are made to fit tight. Make sure you check the sizing of each brand before you make your choice, so that you wind up purchasing the correct size. If you wind up with a jacket that is too tight, it can cut off your circulation when you move, which can be massively uncomfortable. Also, if you wind up with a jacket that is too large, it can affect the way you perform when you are riding your bike. Since neither one of these occurrences is something that you want to experience, pay careful attention to the brand sizing before you make your selection.

Also, flexibility is another area we discussed when we analyzed the fit and comfort of these jackets. You do need to consider how stretchy a fabric is before you make your decision, because you’ll want a cycling jacket that is designed to move with you. Since these jackets do typically fit tight, you don’t want something that will restrict your movement or else it can wind up affecting your performance. Instead, look for something that is flexible and moves with you.

Another area of comfort we analyzed was insulation and breathability. Not all of the jackets on our list come with insulative properties, but some do. If you are looking for something to keep you very warm when you are cycling in the cold weather, then you’ll want to take a close look at jackets that do offer insulation. Make sure, however, that if you are going for insulation, you wind up picking a jacket that is still breathable. Sometimes, jackets that are packed in with extra insulation can decrease the jacket’s ability to ventilate properly, and you’ll wind up feeling sticky and like you are drowning in your own sweat. Of course, that’s a factor that’s going to affect how comfortable the jacket feels, and you do want to make sure you’re able to tolerate the jacket’s ventilation and insulation.

We also examined ventilation when we looked at the comfort features of each jacket on our list. With cycling jackets, you do want to make sure you get something that has a breathable fabric so you are able to stay dry even as you sweat and are active. The better the ventilation, the more comfortable you will feel. Most of the jackets on our list do offer you plenty of ventilation, but some are better than others. How much ventilation you really need is essentially up to you, so just make sure you factor this in, since some waterproofing fabrics don’t ventilate as well as others.

If you are concerned about fit and comfort of the jacket you want to purchase, the best advice we can give you is to go to the store and try some of your jacket options on. Make sure the jackets fit well, are flexible, feel comfortable, and provide the breathability you want. By trying the jacket on at the store, it will be difficult for you to get it wrong, and you’re more likely to make the best choice for your needs.

Weather Protection

Different brands typically use different types of materials to help build water protection into their jackets. There are different types of water and wind proofing systems, and not all of them are created equally. Depending on the type of weather you’re likely to encounter when you hit your bike, you’ll want to make sure you have enough weather protection to stay comfortable and keep you going strong all day long. We’ll take a look at some of the more popular uses of weather protection below.

DWR

Durable Water Repllent (DWR) is a treatment you’ll find on a lot of jackets that contributes to providing you some protection from the rain. DWR isn’t really a laminate, but instead works as a treatment on a jacket that is used to cover the outer shell of the jacket. Many different types of waterproof outdoor clothing come with DWR treatments on them, and with that finish, you’ll get a decent amount of water-resistance. Another nice thing about jackets featuring DWR treatment is how breathable they are. While some types of waterproofing protection can affect the way the jacket ventilates, DWR doesn’t have this problem. So, a DWR coating is always a good sign of a jacket that’s got some water-resistance designed into it.

With a DWR treatment, you’ll get a jacket with an outer shell that can easily shed and repel water. The DWR treatment forces the moisture out of the fabric so that your jacket stays dry. DWR coated jackets usually allow the water to bead off of them, and that shows that the DWR treatment on that jacket is actually working. DWR treatments don’t allow water to get through the fibers of the jacket, and are effective at forcing the water droplets out into beads of water that then slide off of the jacket.

DWR treatments do have their drawbacks. They can wear off after a lot of use or several washes, and any abrasions on the jacket can also degrade the DWR material. Certain detergents can also damage the DWR in your jacket, so pay attention to the type of detergent you use if you purchase a jacket that has a DWR coating. When the DWR coating starts becoming ineffective, you’ll notice the jacket actually retains water and starts to weigh you down. When this happens, you’ll have the option to either purchase a new jacket, or touch up the DWR coating, depending on what you can afford, and what you need at that time.

Laminate Fabrics

Besides DWR coatings, there are other options for waterproofing materials that the various brands will use. Many manufacturers of jackets use laminate fabrics which are also waterproof and breathable. With these types of jackets, you’ll get an inner jacket area that can wick the moisture to the outside so you don’t wind up soaking in your own sweat, a waterproof membrane, and an outer fabric that has some kind of waterproof or water-resistant coating. Often times the coating is still DWR.

Many types of laminate fabrics work as internal membranes on a jacket that help keep the water from the rain from reaching the interior of the jacket. Gore-Tex, Polartec, eVent, and Thinsulate are all internal membranes, and you’ll usually find them at the center of the jacket, between an outer layer and an inner layer, made up of a liner. Many of these jackets are made to be abrasion-resistant, have an outer water-resistant coating, and the internal membrane that is also waterproof. So, you’ll get two layers of waterproof protection.

Many jackets today will provide you with a few layers of waterproof protection if you are willing to pay the money for it. It will cost you a bit more to get a jacket that has an internal membrane and an outer DWR coating, but you’ll also get a more durable, long-lasting jacket with better weather protection that will last longer.

So, depending on where you know you’ll be riding your bike, you’ll need to consider how much weather protection you really need. If you do live in a very wet climate, it’s probably worth your time to get a jacket that has the internal membrane. You’ll certainly be much drier and happier each time you ride your bike.

Durability

The durability of the jackets on our list do vary from brand to brand and style to style. We’ve listed how durable each one of our jacket choices on our list really is, and whether the jacket features high-quality materials. Typically, jackets with Gore-Tex weather protection come as more durable jackets because Gore-Tex is also abrasion resistant, which makes the jacket last much longer. Some brands use a knock-off version of Gore-Tex that works very well for durability, while some jackets simply aren’t as durable as others.

Most of the jackets on our list will give you a decent amount of use. However, some jackets are more durable than others. How much money you can actually spend on your jacket if you are shopping on a budget can affect the overall durability of the type of jacket you decide to purchase. So, keep that in mind. If you can afford to pay a little more, you’ll probably get a better value, since the jacket is much more likely to last you longer. However, if you are just getting started and want something simple and functional and you just don’t have the money to spend, you’ll be able to get decent performance even out of some of the less durable jackets on our list.

Value

Value is another thing you’re going to want to evaluate about any jacket you decide to purchase and use while you are out on your bike. If you are shopping on a budget, then the value of your jacket becomes even more important for you. Some of the jackets on our list do run on the expensive end of things, but most of them are affordable or average priced. You don’t always get the best performance out of high-priced jackets, since sometimes the brand names make those jackets cost more. Some of the average and affordable jackets on our list will still give you the value you need.

When you are trying to get the best value out of the jacket you intend to purchase, make sure that you consider all the features you are really going to need, and then try to eliminate what you don’t need. Knowing what features are important for where you will be riding can help you save some money and help you avoid burning a hole in your pocket book.

Other Important Factors To Consider

Taping

When you do your research to purchase your jacket, you’ll want to check out the seams in the jacket. Many jackets feature taping, which seals the seams in a waterproof jacket. Taping can make a jacket weigh more and also inhibit some of the jacket’s ability to ventilate, but if you live in a very wet climate and you don’t want water to seep through into the interior or the jacket, you will want to check out how the seams are sealed, since taped seams will give you the best weather protection.

Breathability

We’ve discussed breathability quite a bit when we talked about comfort, but it’s so important, we figured we’d give it its own category. Unless you really want to sit in your sweat as you ride, which you most likely don’t want to, then you’ll want to make sure your jacket choice provides you with all the ventilation you really need. You don’t want to get soaked in your own sweat as you ride, so check out the membranes on the jacket, the vents, and how breathable the jacket is overall. You certainly don’t want to overheat.

 

FAQs

Q: How do internal membranes work?

Although you’ll get two layers of waterproof protection with jackets that use internal membranes, these internal membranes have holes because they need to be breathable, and allow the water vapor from your sweat to escape outside the jacket so you stay as dry as possible even as you perspire. While the water vapor can come through the holes on the internal membrane to exit the jacket, water droplets from the rain are much larger than this and can’t permeate the holes on the internal membranes.

Q: Are jackets with internal membranes better than jackets with only DWR?

Internal membranes on jackets can break down easily, but to combat that, these jackets usually have some type of abrasion resistance built into the outer layer of the jacket. Plus, with these jackets, you’ll get an effective internal membrane, an outer membrane that is abrasion resistant and coated with DWR for extra weather protection, good ventilation, and a soft liner on the interior. So, jackets with just a DWR coating and no internal membrane for waterproofing protection won’t protect you from the weather as much as jackets that do come with internal membranes. However, how much weather protection you really need is up to you.

Q: Can I throw my jacket in the washing machine?

It is so tempting to simply throw your jacket in the washing machine to keep it clean, but this isn’t really a great idea with these types of jackets, or any type of waterproof clothing. Many store-bought detergents wreck waterproof coatings on jackets, and can even clog up fabrics that help the jacket breathe or wish moisture out of it, making the jacket less breathable and less waterproof. DWR treatments are often destroyed by well-meaning people throwing their jackets into the washing machine. Instead of doing this, make sure you read the directions that come with the jacket about how you should clean it.

Q: How do I save my DWR treatment?

If you start noticing that the DWR treatment on your jacket isn’t performing as well as it should, you can do a few things to help get that DWR treatment working again. For some jackets, you can tumble dry your jacket for a bit on low to medium heat. Or, you can touch your jacket up with a warm iron. Typically, when you purchase your jacket, the manufacturer will provide you with some helpful pointers about how you can make the DWR coating on your jacket work again. If none of these options work, then you can use some spray on products, or something you wash into the jacket to help repair the coating. However, that will depend on the brand of the jacket you purchase.

Q: What do I need to look for in a jacket if I am shopping on a budget?

Functionality will then be important for you, whether you are shopping on a budget or not. Some of the jackets on our list provide you with a simpler design with durable, high-quality materials that also offer weather protection, which should be more than enough. However, if you want a lot of bells and whistles on a jacket, or think you need them, then you’ll likely be paying more for your jacket. We’ve listed what type of value you’ll get out of each one of the jacket options provided on our list to help you make your decision. Depending on how much you are willing to spend on a jacket, you’ll simply need to balance that out with what you think you really need. That way, you’ll wind up with a great jacket for yourself and more bang for your buck.

Q: What do I need to know about durability if I am shopping on a budget?

Durability is an important feature but it will be widely affected by how much money you can spend on a jacket. So, if you are on a budget and simply can’t afford a higher-priced jacket, you don’t need to worry. You’ll still be protected from the weather and you’ll get enough use out of the jacket to make it worth the price. Just remember that the durability of a jacket usually influences overall cost, and try to factor that into your decision.

 

Sources

  1. Henry Robertshaw, Best cycling jackets for winter 2017, Informational Cycling Website, Sep 10, 2017
  2. Colin Levitch, Best Waterproof Jackets for Cyclists, Informational Cycling Website, Oct 17, 2017
  3. Average Joe Cyclist, 7 of the Best Waterproof Cycling Jackets – How to Choose the Best Cycling Jacket, Informational Cycling Website, Jan 19, 2016