Sigr Gotlandsleden Jacket
by Chris Galley
by Chris Galley
Winter is not a particularly nice time to be out on the roads and trails riding a bike. Riding in winter conditions is all about wearing the right clothes.
There’s an old Scandinavian phrase – ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’, and Sigr have developed their clothing range around this mantra. There are probably not many locations in the world more inhospitable than northern Sweden in the winter. You wouldn’t think of cycling in conditions they experience, so when I was asked to test out winter cycle clothing from Swedish company Sigr, I knew that I was going to be well protected and in great hands.
Sigr very kindly sent Pedalnorth their ‘Gotlandsleden’ Tour race jacket in a lovely blue colour for us to test. Actually it’s the only colour for that jacket, which is fine, because it’s an awesome looking jacket. Sigr has taken inspiration from Gotland, an amazing Swedish Island nestled in the Baltic Sea south of Stockholm. It’s a place where tales of Vikings like Ragnar still echo throughout the scenery. From a cycling perspective, Gotland is a wonderful place to visit and ride, to take in all that majesty and beauty. Whilst you’re there, explore the ‘Gotlandsleden’ trail from Faro in the north to Hoburg in the south. It can be as long or as short as you like, but the Island is particularly beautiful and certainly a tucked away gem.
Sigr decided to develop a jacket which could take on the coldest of riding days, suit the road cyclist and be that one stop jacket for you to wear all day, despite the changeable conditions. Who did they turn to to assist with this, but the Sigr Cycling Team from the last Tour of Sweden. Not a bad bunch to help is their design process.
At £175 it’s well priced in a market full of ‘one stop jackets’. Most big name brands have a jacket like this and all profess to have found the holy grail of jackets; so it was time to find out if Sigr had actually hit that sweet spot. Service and delivery is first class from Sigr – a model of Scandanavian efficiency, it’s very quick delivery and always nicely packaged. First impressions of the jacket are impressive. Soft, warm material, plenty of pockets and some cleverly placed reflective material. I am 5’11 and 92kg with a muscular build and the X/L fits pretty well. Sigr states this is a race cut jacket, but to be honest I found it comfortably sized and not at all restrictive as some ‘race cuts’ often are.
Out on the bike and embracing the great British winter weather, this jacket performs as you would expect. Australian merino wool (known as Merino Shield) as a backing to the soft and supple outer material keeps you warm. Sigr claims it will keep you warm all the way down to -12 degrees. I’ve been out in -4 degrees and I was fine with a base layer underneath. It is most certainly very windproof.
The breathability of this material is excellent and is further aided by the hidden vents across the shoulder blades and the side zips. However, these side zips do not extend under the armpit and into the arm as some other brands do, and they therefore miss out on giving extra ventilation for the arms. There is a level of water resistance to this jacket and it will keep showers at bay, but let’s face it’s not totally waterproof. Carry the ‘Ostkusten’ Ultra-Viz waterproof jacket in one of the large rear pockets and this will provide that extra waterproofing that you might need as showers come and go. Inside the neck you’ll find a soft material excellent at preventing chafing, but it’s not a plush microfibre as found in some other jackets.
The storm flap curls over the top of the zip to protect your chin from rubbing – another small but important design feature. The front zip is YKK and strong, but it’s not fully waterproof and the zippers do feel a little cheap I’m afraid. In fact there are 7 zips designed into this jacket and all but the main front zip are inset into the material, making them almost invisible. A quality design feature here, but it’s let down by the very small and fiddly zippers which are almost impossible to use when wearing winter gloves. The rear twin pockets are large and can fit most riding gubbins including a large mobile phone and that waterproof I mentioned earlier. The zips are angled to help getting things in and out. However, the twin chest pockets are unusually small. I have a relatively normal smartphone and cover measuring 16.5cm by 7.5cm and it just squeezes into one of these pockets. If you have a Pro or Ultra size phone they won’t fit. You can of course put your sweets, gels and keys into both chest pockets.
As you would expect the Swedish build quality is excellent, save for the zips mentioned earlier. All seams are first class, as are the materials used in the garment. The reflective material on the bum area is a key safety feature for low light and very welcome as are the reflective logos and strips around the jacket.
There are however a few things which need mentioning.
The back of the jacket would benefit from being a fraction longer into the seat to protect the bum from dirt and water. Possibly even a droppable storm flap might be useful. The hand and thumb cuff extension are of a design in a jacket you either want or could do without. For me they are too long and because this is a winter jacket, you’ll be wearing winter gloves for your ride – which pretty much renders them, in my opinion pointless. A better fitted cuff with strong elastic or Velcro strap would suffice. Many riders chose to use a smartwatch in lieu of a computer, but these cuff extensions make it much more difficult to see your watch face. The rear pockets are unconventional. Normally road jackets and jerseys have three upright pockets on the back and possibly a zipped pocket within these three; but I applaud Sigr for trying something different.
Finally then, there’s no little Swedish flag sewn into a seam. That a little finishing touch of design class that’s missing from this jacket, but which is found on others in their range. After several washes the elastic bottom hem is now showing signs of stretch and no longer grips as well as it did right out of the packet. It’s still fine and fits well, but this is another area which could be improved upon. There’s only one colour to choose from which is a shame. I would love to see it in other colours or mixed colours.
The Gotlandsleden Tour Jacket is a fine winter road jacket but it’s not yet the holy grail, but very much well on its way.