Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sugoi Stealth Jacket

After trying it on all spring and summer, I finally bought the Sugoi Stealth Jacket in yellow.

My old Cannondale rain jacket is pretty good, but it's noticeably heavier and bulkier than the Sugoi. It also has Cannondale's chronic sticky zipper, which is why I have it at all. It was returned for warranty and the rep gave it as swag, along with two others similarly returned. Three of us at the shop got them.

I wanted a more visible wind jacket than my Pearl Izumi Zephrr in navy blue. That one had been hanging around the closeout rack for a couple of years before I picked it up one afternoon when the weather turned unexpectedly harsh on a spring day.It's a nice piece, but the dark color wasn't so good on a day when the weather might make things dark already.

I hate shells. They make me sweat, even if they aren't supposedly waterproof. So in cold dry conditions I wear extra fuzzy layers with no shell. But sometimes you want a little extra at the start or end of a ride, and extra fuzz would be bulkier to carry. Then a stuffable shell comes in handy.

The Sugoi rep said that clothing designers are also finally accepting the fact that waterproof breathable fabrics don't transmit heat and body moisture fast enough for cyclists, so we get wet with sweat. The Stealth jacket uses fabric treatments to repel water on the outside, and is very breathable to let moisture escape from inside. This isn't manufacturer propaganda, it's the experience of one actual sweaty cyclist. The Stealth jacket works better, over a wider range of temperature and humidity, than any other shell I have used for cycling.

In an actual steady rain I might still grab the heavier Cannondale jacket, but partly that's because it's older and already scuzzy, whereas the Sugoi is bright and new. Also, the Cannondale has side zipped pockets where I can stick a bandanna to wipe my glasses. The Sugoi has a nice zippered pocket in the back, but it's not as easy to dip into quickly.

The Stealth jacket has extra-long sleeves, so they won't ride up when your arms are forward. The cuffs are cut pretty tight. I haven't enjoyed trying to take the jacket off while riding no-hands. If your hands are smaller than mine, that might not be a problem. I might let out the seams on the cuffs and insert a gusset to make passage a bit easier. I guess Sugoi was trying to avoid the constriction of elastic or the bulk of hook-and-loop closures there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review. I bought my Stealth as result of it. Thanks