Warm, warmer and warmest is a graduated index that I’ve been hoping to apply to the range of cold weather cycling jackets that I’ve reviewed this winter. Thus far however, only one has earned the distinction of being warm, which was more or less a glorified shell. And, while it proved to be an effective garment when properly layered, it was by no means a stand-alone jacket.
Earlier in the season, I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Primal Wear’s Stephen Blackband at the Philadelphia Bike Expo. After hearing my disdain for so-called cold weather cycling apparel, and its inability to tackle the harsh riding conditions of the Northeast, to ease my plight he offered to send me his company’s flagship winter jacket called the Paradigm for review.
The Paradigm jacket features a straightforward design, comprising three layers of fabric that include teflon-coated polyester, teflon moisture-wicking polyester and a breathable poly-laminate material, along with extended sleeves and tail for optimal coverage. The jacket is further punctuated by fully-zippered sleeves and sides, along with reflective accents, velcro wrist closures and a rear zippered pocket.
What the Paradigm is refreshingly absent of, are fussy features and needless embellishments that often plague many of the European brands, which seem to be more defined by style than performance.
As far as fit is concerned, Primal’s sizing is spot on for the mortal rider, offering realistic proportions to fit a swath of body types with enough room for comfort while also effectively contouring the body.
For once I felt like I should be swinging my leg over my bike instead performing a grand je·té over it.
So, how it perform?
With the requisite amount of base-layering, the Paradigm proved to be ideally suited for handling the harsh riding conditions imposed by a New England winter, providing excellent warmth and breathability in temperatures that left some motorists and onlookers shaking their heads in disbelief that some fool would deign to ride his bike in single digit temperatures, not mention a robust wind chill on top of it.
Indeed, while traversing the hills and dales of western Massachusetts during frigid riding conditions my core temperature remained warm and consistent, while perspiration was kept nicely lofted away from my body.
The Paradigm also proved to a versatile jacket as well, whereby dialing-in or dialing-out the amount of base-layering made it an ideal choice across a wide-range of temperatures and riding conditions. But again, it’s when the mercury begins to plummet, is where this garment really shines.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a cold weather cycling jacket that’s only mission is to provide excellent comfort and protection from the elements, and does away with extraneous features and details, Primal’s Paradigm should be at the top of your list.
Did I mention that some motorists also gave me a thumbs up for my act of bravery as well?!
The Paradigm is part of Primal’s custom collection, which features a wide-range of men’s and women’s apparel comprising everything from jackets to jerseys, bibshorts, bibtights, gloves, socks, shoe covers, arm warmers and casual wear that are available in standard designs, as well as full customization for teams and organizations.
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