When riding on rainy days, there’s nothing more important than your outer layers. If the slippery terrain isn’t enough to physically contend with, being wet, clammy and uncomfortable can destroy your mental game to the point where you start thinking about when the ride will be over, instead of enjoying your time on the trail.
As a company based in the UK, you can rest assured Upper Downs knows all about that! After a never ending quest to find a riding jacket that both breathed and shed water well enough, the brains behind Upper Downs set out to design their own. The Neo jacket is made to be extremely breathable with the best waterproofing possible, and offers a list of technical features and some unique ideas.
The Neo jacket is seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign, which is coming to a close on July 2 and still needs more support to make it happen. Keep reading to see what sets the Neo jacket apart from the rest…
The jacket has been in testing with a team of riders for several months to find out how well it performs in action, and what features were required and desired. While the Neo was designed for cycling its functionality makes it equally ideal for hiking or running, and it’s clean and simple styling with a slightly relaxed cut makes it a versatile garment for everyday wear.
The Neo jacket’s shell is made of three layer Polartec NeoShell fabric, chosen for its excellent breathability and effective waterproofing up to 10,000mm. The fabric also wicks away moisture, blocks out the wind, provides a stretch fit and has a rip-stop face to ensure durability. The NeoShell fabric is packable and rather lightweight with a size medium jacket coming in at 330g.
One unique feature of the Neo is Upper Down’s clever phone chute. Inside the jacket is a channel that runs from the top of the zipper down to the bottom hem. With your phone in hand and the headphones already connected, you simply drop the phone into the chute and it slides to the bottom. The phone sits snugly in the channel, and your wires remain well hidden from handlebars or grabby branches. The phone can then be accessed through an opening inside the outer front pocket.
Storage wise, the Neo has two outer front pockets and an internal chest pocket that contains a removable lens wipe for your sunglasses or goggles. For further elemental protection, water resistant zippers are used for the main zip and pockets, and the jacket features a drop-tail hem and velcro wrist closures. For dumping excess body heat, the always essential pit zips are present.
The Neo comes with a removable hood, and the back pocket can be used to either stow the hood or pack away the entire jacket. The hood features one-handed fit adjustments which is great, as a little sideways articulation can make a big difference while riding. The sleeves also feature an articulated cut for a comfortable and mobile ‘on bike’ fit.
Kickstarter supporters can currently snag a Neo jacket for $277 USD, which is a 40% discount from its eventual retail price. Sizes S-XL are available, and the only color option is charcoal grey with blue accents. If the campaign succeeds, product delivery is expected for November. Check out Upper Down’s Kickstarter page here.