RH+ Shark Waterproof Jacket
by Chris Galley
by Chris Galley
Those pockets on the back of your jersey, what do you use them for? I often see riders with seemingly empty jersey pockets, merrily making their way into the Yorkshire Dales, where the weather can turn very ugly very quickly and there’s not a mercy stop for miles around. So I ask again: what are those important items that you really must tuck into those jersey pockets? Let me give you a hint.. tasty treats to keep you fueled up, bike tools, spare tubes, arm warmers and of course a wind and or rain jacket. That’s the one piece of cycling apparel you may think can’t possibly fit neatly into one of these pockets, but we’ve found a jacket which can – quite easily too! Best of all, it’s also stylish, because it’s from Italy of course.
RH+ Cycling from Milan, Italy have asked us to test a range of their cycling apparel through the summer and into autumn, and I’ve probably left the best of the products to last. Their Shark Light Jacket in black with reflective branding on the rear quarter is a nice looking piece of clothing, modern and as I say – stylish.
Made from WD Platinum Biomorphic 4 way stretch polyester, tape seams and fully waterproofed layered fabric, it certainly looks the part and feels lovely to touch. You’d expect that because it’s Italian, right. Look more carefully though, and there’s a lot more going on here. The stretch material allows this garment to follow natural body movement without being restrictive. The cuffs are elasticated and reflective to stop wind ingress. The zip has a locking cam and naturally folds to lock in place. The rear zip misleads the eye that it’s a pocket, but cunningly it’s actually an opening which grants access to those jersey pockets mentioned earlier. The rear shoulder blade area features a large horizontal vent for moisture control and breathability, and it works too. This jacket by RH+ comprises many of the features from very high end jackets by competitors, but most surprisingly it’s priced at only £139.90 (2021), which seems great value for money. But wait, it continues; two key features of this jacket are the weight and the pack down size. My testing jacket is a size X/L and weighs in at 175 grams and packs down to fit with room to spare into a rear jersey pocket – which is ultimately what we want.
In real world usage, all that data about fabrics isn’t worth anything unless it performs on the road. I often read confusing manufacturers’ info with a sense of disbelief, with vast numbers quoting levels of waterproofing and levels of breathability. However, RH+ don’t give out those numbers. Instead, they simply give you a red dot ranging from 1 to 5. They’ve awarded the Shark jacket 5 red dots for rain proofing, 5 for wind proofing, 3 for breathability and 3 for being aero. In my real world testing this stacks up, which again isn’t always the case with many brands. It’s extremely water repellent and windproof, and it works to keep rain out even in the heaviest of downpours, and when riding in wind it keeps the wind chill from your core.
I also believe their 3 red dot grading for breathability is a little conservative, as I’d grade it higher and better. It doesn’t hold onto moisture inside the jacket, even when working hard in slightly warmer conditions – U.K. conditions.
The fit and feel of this jacket is impeccable. You would of course expect that from an Italian brand. The zip is first class and doesn’t catch anywhere. The seams are bonded well to the fabric, the elastic cuffs and bottom hem are robust. The sizing for an X/L is of course very Italian but my jacket fits me perfectly with a 42 inch chest and allows a close fit whilst still giving a casual feel and with no flapping material. Reflective branding is a nice touch for darker conditions.
Gladly, I have never touched a real shark but if I had, I would expect it to feel like RH+’s WD Platinum Biomorpic 4 way stretch fabric. Smooth and soft to the touch with high levels of weather proofing. If it’s good enough for sharks then it’s good enough for you 😉