To celebrate the closing of a great 2013 and a positive 2014 on the horizon, The Spindle is giving you sweet sweet peoples a righty lefty hook of reviews! We have tested two of Mission Workshop's primo jackets just for you! First, Sharif will start with the classic Orion followed by the Ezz tested brand new baddy from MW's new ACRE Line, the Meridian jacket.
MISSION WORKSHOP Orion Jacket
Now, Lets start by getting the elephant out of the room. This is one smooth looking jacket but at an msrp of $410, what makes it such a righteous jacket?
Many things. Pockets in all the right places, great mobility, great cut and fabric. Not really much more to need.
When braving the elements on bike, its important to have three layers. A good base layer, a mid layer that creates the warmth needed for what ever the temp and a shell. The shell should consist of both wind and waterproof properties keeping the heat in and the moisture out. Schoellers C change fabric does just that. it expands and contracts depending on the outside temp to regulate warmth and coolness, making a significant difference. If you get caught in a downpour in the summer time, the pit zips on this jacket will cool you down on the quickness.
The cut of the jacket makes for a solid fit. Tapered sleeves fit great but are snug when going to take the Orion off. A longer tail in the back as not to show crack and to keep that rear dry in a rainy situation. I dig the removable hood. It fits both my helmet and my bare dome comfortably. When not needed, it fits easily in the back storage pocket.
The pockets, oooooh the pockets! As far as the eye can see!! All pockets are waterproof. 2 chest pockets for phones with headphone holes, 2 hand pockets, and one in the back for storage. The zipper pulls on some of the pockets are too small, making them even smaller when you're using gloves. The pocket in the back is perfect for storing gloves a neck gaiter/ balaclava and/or a wool cap and is protect from rain by a water proof zipper and storm flap. This is very advantageous but with such a small zipper its necessary to install a zipper pull.
The only problems I've had with this jacket thus far is size of the zipper pulls. I could use some subtle reflective accents like the Acre but not 100% necessary if you're rocking the proper lighting for night rides.
ACRE Meridian Jacket:
Mission is diving head first into the mountain biking scene with the new ACRE series, a line that brings hydration packs, shorts, and merino henleys, but the line is highlighted by The Meridian Cycling Jacket, which is fully seam-sealed, waterproof but breathable and made with Schoeller c_Change fabric.
The Meridian is also very lightweight and packable, which is great for either warm or cold months when it either rains all day or just for a little because you can easily fold it up and shove it in whatever bag you carry. Even if you don't take a bag the breathable Schoeller allows maximum comfort for layering or even if you're just rockin' a t-shirt.
After receiving the jacket from the Mission crew I was infatuated with the fit and the bit of stretch of the Meridian, which can be sported for either mountain or road wear. For weeks I had waited for a downpour to hit me on the way to the shop, only to be pissed upon lightly by a couple of cold sprinkles and a couple of windy days, which blocked the wind just fine, but I wanted a monsoon.
Then finally, that monsoon came like the thunder sword of Zeus himself. The jacket does not come with a hood, but I zipped all the way up and didn't have one drop of water roll down by back, I coupled the jacket with the Swrve Gore-Tex hat and waterproof trouser and DZR H2O's..I was bone dry once I walked into the shop after the 4-mile ride through an absolute dump of a rainstorm. My phone was in the front chest pocket, although it is not sealed like the main front zipper, it does have a storm flap so nothing was getting in there.
The Merdian also comes with an inside chest pocket, both front and inside chest pockets have headphone outlets. There is also a back stasher pocket for gloves, sunglasses, tools, or whatever you want to put back there, no hand pockets on this one unlike the Orion, but this is would not prevent me at all from purchasing this jacket. Also, unlike the Orion the back pocket does come with a zipper pull, making getting your gear in and out in the rain very simple.
In the end I am a huge fan of the Meridian Jacket in the ACRE line, I highly recommend it for all riders whether you blast the mountain tops or crush the pavement, this jacket is a champion all year round.