What's Cool In Road Cycling

Hot Gear: Hincapie WindTex Polar Jacket

Thanks to the guys at Hincapie Sportswear for eliminating one more excuse for not riding in the cold … Their WindTex Polar jacket is not only one of the warmest jackets I’ve found – it’s also by far the lightest! This thing is good…

Normally I rank cold weather riding up there with visits to the dentist and kissing your aunt – ie: best avoided. Can you blame me? Living on the coast means I get to enjoy the worst kind of cold – the “damp” cold. I guess my dad was right – it really is the humidity… But thanks to Hincapie Sportswear, I can now re-classify my cold weather riding up there with kissing podium girls!

Take on even the coldest days with this surprisingly warm jacket.

I have an assortment of cold weather jackets that look like I’m related to the Michelin Man, and seem to have been designed by non-riders with stubby arms, and tiny fingers… Never having found a cold weather jacket that worked the way I expected, I was somewhat skeptical of the Hincapie WindTex Polar jacket – this thing weighs barely more than a some of my long sleeve jerseys!

But, I finally got the nerve to take it out for a spin on a cool 6 degree Celsius (44 F) day, layered overtop a long sleeve polypro and a short sleeved lined jersey, and… I was blown away by how warm this jacket really is.

There Is Not Here
As impressed as I am now that I’ve worn it, this piece looked good right from the start. I should have known better – Rich Hincapie – who started the company doing mainly custom kit for clubs and teams, was a pro himself. His brother George – we all know his credentials – provides his own input in a somewhat less ”formal” manner. Lots of guys in the company ride and race because they love cycling. You can always tell when a garment was designed by guys who don’t ride – the zippers break off, the fit doesn’t work right – we’ve all been there. Fortunately, there is not here. Here is where Hincapie is:

First – it works exactly like you want a riding jacket to work – it’s light, form fitting but not constricting, grips you in all the right places, and has some impressive attention to detail.

It’s All In The Fabric
Officially it’s made from “a breathable waterproof/windproof WindTex shell with a brushed inner layer for extra warmth. Exclusive SuperRoubaix side panels provide a superior fit while increasing breathability, comfort and performance.” The bottom line is that Hincapie’s WindTex fabric is lined and light, and stretches in the right places. It’s got a membrane that keeps the cold wind out, and your body warmth in. This stuff is way warmer than it should be considering how thin the material is.

You know right away that these guys are riders because they’ve thought of every detail. The zipper should be called “superRobust” because it looks and feels like it just won’t break… ever. It’s got a good gripper too, so it’s easy to use with gloved hands. And finally, they’ve sewn in an extra panel behind the zipper to further block out the cold air – it works!

Another design feature I really like is the high collar. It’s a good 2-1/2 to 3 inches, can be fully zipped, and is lined with fuzzy warm stuff that you’re neck will love. If you get too warm, just fold it down.

The SuperRoubaix side panels are pretty cool too, they’re Hincapie’s own design of lined lycra, that keeps the jacket snug to your body, and helps hold it in place.

The sleeves are long enough to cover your wrists whether you’re on the hoods or drops, and feature 6 inch long zips up the inside that are great for pulling over gloved hands, and also useful should you over-heat. I found them especially handy when I was climbing medium to long distances.

The back features 3 x 6 inch deep pockets that a big enough to store dry clothes, lunch, and a thermos of your fave hot beverage.

MSRP is $199US, which is a good deal for a high-end jacket like this. I’ve seen other top technical gear that goes for twice as much. They’re available is sizes from XXS to XXXL – and already so popular that demand is outpacing supply in some areas. Colors are white, red, and black.

This is the first year Hincapie Sports is offering a full-on line of technical riding gear, but from early indicators, they’ve raised the bar on the competition.

Get more info at:
The Hincapie Sports website:

And their distributor:

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