‘Ostkusten’ Ultra-vis waterproof 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. Mother nature’s most powerful weapons; Rain, snow, wind and howling winds are all working against you to stop you getting out there and having fun.
There are probably not many locations in the world more inhospitable than northern Sweden in the winter. You wouldn’t think of cycling in the conditions that 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 was born in northern Sweden, in a place called Umeå. This is a place of mountains and forests. They make cycle clothing inspired by their surroundings and have equality and sustainability close to their hearts. That’s a big thing for us this year at Pedalnorth, as we look for more sustainability in brands. They make bomb proof clothing with added elegance, again using Swedish nature to inspire their design. The little Swedish flag sewn into their clothing is a touch of how proud they are of their country, and for most others a motif of excellence.
Sigr very kindly sent Pedalnorth their ‘Ostkusten’ Ultra-vis waterproof jacket. Now, I don’t normally start reviews with service and postage, however I’m going to. Sigr were only too happy for their clothing to be tested and reviewed. Testament to Sigr, they are proud of clothing and are always looking to listen and engage with their customers to improve. This is refreshing in a market which can be a little snooty. A couple of days later and a parcel arrived from Sweden. Well packaged, neat bags and a lovely card inside highlighting their story.
The ‘Ostkusten’ Ultra-Vis waterproof jacket right out of the bag is a smart, race cut piece of outer clothing. I tried it on immediately. I used the Sigr sizing calculator whilst ordering and took the X/L for a 44-inch chest, which was a perfect fit over a cycle jersey for a 5’11” tall real male human being. If I’m being ever so picky, it could be done with being slightly longer over the bum to protect that area a little more from the elements, and slightly more elastic at the sides so that it clinches in the bottom of the jacket. However, the silicon and elastic bottom hem is strong and hold the hem in place. I love the waterproof material wrist extensions which taper over the top and outside of the hand plus the arm length is true to size. The contrasting red YKK double zipper is a quality addition, allowing freedom to zip up or down for flexibility and the length of the zip is waterproof too. The collar has a soft feel microfibre neck lining to prevent chafing, but one very obvious omission is pockets. For a jacket that costs £202, I would have liked at least one pocket for storage. Still, this is a ‘throw on’ waterproof jacket, because Mother Nature has started to get annoyed again and you probably aren’t that fused about transferring things from pocket to pocket. It might come off again a few miles down the road.
The other very obvious thing about this jacket is its highly visible nature. Made of a mix of 50D Polyester and spandex, with either reflective coating or yellow colour it stands out from the crowd. Perfect if you ride into a low cloud, mist, rain storm or it starts getting dark ‘cause you’ve been out too long. The reflective material on the arms, bum and up the back of the jacket are all positioned in such a way to invoke the ‘Biomotion’ reaction from human beings. A clever bit of thinking from Sigr and it marries well together with the ‘Ostkusten’ rain trousers if you fancy the matching set.
This jacket has been tested throughout the great British winter and mostly in the Yorkshire Dales. Wet and miserable being two key words about the weather, with some occasional snow. This jacket stands up to all of that. It’s made from a high quality waterproof material with fully taped seams and it’s very windproof too. There’s no ingress at all from the rain or the elements. The hidden vents across the rear shoulder line are a key factor in breathability as are the vented holes in the armpits (not pit zips as mentioned on their website). I did however notice some moisture build up on the forearms whilst working hard, but that is sometimes expected the more waterproof a material becomes. It’s light and compact design means it can easily be folded up and stored in a rear pocket and tested with the ‘Gotlandsladen’ Race Jacket, it fits perfectly into the rear pocket of that jacket.One suggestion wich would improve this and be a great design feature, would be if Sigr could build in a pocket for the Ostkusten to fold into itself – but maybe that’s something for future designs.
There are a some really high-quality touches to this jacket; the red Sigr badge at the back of the neck, the Swedish flag sewn into the left side seam and the reflective Ultra-Viz logos on each wrist. Even the Sigr logo on the chest is reflective. These are touches rarely seen in other waterproof jackets. I can see this jacket being used by road cyclists, mountain bikers, those on the long-haul cycle holidays and especially urban environment commuters. The waterproofing is first class, as is the high-viz and reflectivity. Is it worth the money? Yes! Now, go and buy one and you can thank me later.