Or to give the jacket its proper title the “DTE men’s 3-Layer waterproof storm jacket” That’s almost a blog in itself.
Disclosure. We’re a MTB holidays, guiding, skills coaching and servicing business so after almost 12 years in business and over 25 years of riding we’ve learnt a bit and have lots of industry relationships and trade accounts. Nothing we review is free though (unless stated) so we make business decisions and spend business money on kit which usually has to be based on head, not heart. It’s all honest, real world stuff so hopefully you’ll like what you read and if you don’t you’ll either tell us (be nice) or move onto something slightly more interesting.
Blog by Mike
I’m not an official ambassador for Madison as I like to wear our own GMTB jersey and they’re not keen on that (c’est la vie) but I do get good rates on the kit. I guess it means I can be a bit more independent with my reviews though and you realise I’m not tied in. I’ve been using Madison kit for almost two years now and I have to say I’m very impressed. It’s not without its quirks (more later) but having used just about every major MTB brand there is, and some not so major ones over 25 years, it’s up there with the best. Anyway enough waffle. What’s the jacket like??
Well, the first thing I’ll say is that it feels bomb proof. I can’t actually prove that as in a real bomb sense as I’m not that brave and I suspect it would end a very short blogging career – but it is ‘bomb proof’ in industry speak. It’s a serious jacket for serious weather. All the Madison kit I’ve used so far oozes quality, workmanship and attention to detail (well, most detail but I’ll get on to that) and this jacket is no exception.
So I went for the blue (I guess that’s obvious by now) because I don’t do dark kit as it doesn’t stand out on the trails for photos. That’s a top tip if you want your mates to get knockout images of you looking like a mountain bike god. If you ever go on a mag shoot they’ll have a big bag of bright kit for you to wear instead of your standard MTBlack. Either that or they’ll put you at the back on every shot and you might not realise why.
First off, it’s got a proper helmet hood and not one of those that pulls you up by the armpits when you throw it over your lid making you look like you’re constantly gallic shrugging at the inclement weather. It means it can flap around a bit when not in use so there’s a strange looking flap of fabric inside the jacket to allow you to roll and stow the hood. Every attempt of mine to roll it neatly still looks like I got dressed in the dark though so I don’t bother. I’m probably doing it wrong I guess as I’m no origami expert but as I’m not wearing it to be ‘aero baby’, I can use it as a slight brake to keep me just under supersonic* speed. I guess it’s a built in secret safety feature.
There’s a nice soft chin guard and the outer fabric has laser cut vents to help breathing and to cut down on condensation. I didn’t find that it sat high enough up over my mouth to warrant the vents but as I don’t have a melon head maybe I just need to tighten up the hood. The chin guard does feel super comfy though so there’s no annoying chin rub when you’re riding through the North Yorkshire arctic tundra conditions we’ve had over the past month or two.
It’s also got the now pretty standard grippy shoulder panels to keep your pack in place which work a treat, unless you’ve already ‘totally Enduro bro’ in which case it’s just a nice pattern. Unlike some other jackets I’ve tried, these silicone type grip patches look pretty robust, like they’re there to stay.
Note: the jacket looks different shades in the pics. It’s definitely more aqua blue than turquoise looking. Try madison.cc for a better idea.
There are ‘zip garages’ all over the jacket so if you’re a details geek like I am, you’ll appreciate the thought that’s gone into this jacket. There’s no waist adjuster but there’s a hem adjuster and if you’ve ever searched around for the little clamps that hold the adjuster cords tight you’ll love the fact there are silicone details on the outer fabric which all but say press here. I told you they’ve paid a lot of attention to detail.
The jacket feels really nice on. You know it’s waterproof but it’s not all rustley (is that a word?) and allows you to move well. I got the medium but it does come up on the large side which is okay if you have a loyalty card with Greggs or you want to wear a chunky knit merino cardigan underneath but if you’re light on the layers it could feel a bit baggy. In the riding position it could be cut a little higher at the front and lower at the back to stop it bulging. It’s not a deal breaker but it stops the jacket being perfect.
This brings me on to one of the quirks of Madison kit, at least for me. I’m usually a medium in most things but with Madison I can never be sure. Some items I’m a small, some I’m a medium and some I seem to be frustratingly in between. At 5’8″, 32″ waist, 40″ chest, 31″ inside leg (dress to the left) and 10st 8lb, so I don’t think I’m a freak of nature? Now you have my vital stats there’s no excuses when it comes to buying me Christmas presents. To get the right fit maybe I either need to get like a ripped roadie and size down or eat more pies. It may not be an issue for you but I’d recommend trying for size first or buying from an online site (LBS site, obviously!) that offers free returns.
Before wrapping up I’ll mention my only real frustration with the jacket. The cuffs. They’re way too tight. The elastic doesn’t offer nearly enough stretch and the velcro strap just seems to be there for show rather than to take up a lot of slack. On the bike this means it’s tricky to see the time when you’re wearing your big face smart/activity watch and you’ll have a helluva time trying to get the cuff over a glove for nice toasty wrists. Unless, that is, you wear gloves with huge cuffs to go over the jacket (nobody does that though, right??). In fact, if you’ve got shovel hands please PLEASE post a video of you getting the jacket on and off. It’ll go viral! 🙂
The final point which seems to be true of all Madison kit is that it washes really well and doesn’t stain (especially the bright kit). There’s nothing worse than putting on freshly washed kit which looks like your arse has exploded or you’ve vomited chocolate down the front before you’ve even got on the bike.
So a bomb proof jacket that looks great and has loads of good bits with a couple of niggles. Would it stop me buying it again? No sir-ee. Would I recommend it? Absolutely but I’d say try before you buy on all their kit. If it fits you’ll love it! Sprocket score = 4.5/5
Tell us what you think or if you have a question post a comment below.