Vulpine: 1. of or relating to a fox or foxes. 2. Crafty or cunning
Both are rad definitions and relative in the urban cycling world. Daily riders need their mind clear when riding through the city, we weave and wind through cars and traffic, accelerate when needed, and have a constant desire to keep moving, in ALL weather..and every season.
In October, a good friend of The Spindleros John Woodruff (@twotoneams, follow him now!), modeled for Vulpine, a commuter brand out of London, and suggested we take a look at carrying their line. We called them up for some testing materials and a few weeks later, our package arrived and the testing begun. As we opened the box to reveal the contents, this jacket caught my eye. It was purple and yellow..usually not my bag color-wise but I dug it. What I didn't understand was why in the hell a company would make a cotton jacket for cycling, doesn't wick moisture and I'll get drenched on myrainy rides.
So, like any inquisitive person would do I hopped on Vulpine.cc search for the reasoning. There it was, the answer that would blow my mind, Water-resistant Cotton! The jackets are made with silicon treated Epic (TM) Cotton. It is not completely waterproof, they couldn't use the samematerials and have the breathable jacket they desired to make. But after riding in this jacket for the past 5 months I can say that they are being kind saying water-resistant. The website claims to withstand 2+ hours of heavy rain and persistent torrential rain, and I have ridden from weather varying from a light sprinkle to an all out nasty flooded-streets monsoon, and have been COMPLETELY dry! Once reaching the destination I have given the jacket a quick dry snap and it was fine.
The features here are very innovative, Vulpine has ditched the conventional approach and uses magnets for the front pockets, the neck snap, and the removable reflective splash guard. With fully-taped zippers on the chest and side pockets, the flaps with magnetic snaps ensure extra protection against rain, and doesn't leave you with that annoying, dangling flap that you usually have to snap back in, nope, you just slap it forward and it stays put.
A brilliant feature is the removable reflective splash guard, also kept in place by, you guessed correct...magnets. This can be used on those days when an unexpected shower comes through and you are without your trusty fender, when you don't need it, it will magnetize to the inside of the jacket, or simply unzip to remove it. It is reflective, so if your back light goes out during a ride, you still have a safe way of making you visible to traffic on those evening trips around town. Additionally, if you roll up the sleeve it reveals a reflective cuff, but your wrists are still protected against the cold with a fleece cover. It's nice to see a company putting such though into their products, the little things is what regular riders love like a cool little sleeve pocket to store the necessities.
I have never been so amazed with a single piece of gear ad I have been with this jacket, it's breathable and beads rain like other, way more expensive jackets. The Original Rain Jacket runs about $300 USD, a little steep, but for a water resistant cotton jacket that looks damn good anywhere and is durable as hell, don't hesitate to snag this piece. If one is looking for less reflective components, go for the gorgeous Harrington for $290. They sent us a small and I was surprised at how well it fit, I can still layer it with a merino hoodie and it won't constrict my form, so you can size down if you feel the need. This is a solid Fall>Winter>Spring piece, if you have the proper layers it has a good wind resistance for cold climates and can be worn up to 75 degrees. It would be nice if it was packable so I could just have it in there for those questionable days, but it is what it is, and what it is a damn fine jacket.