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Posted May 20, 2017 @ 6:06pm | by Hurl

44° and cold rain on a spring day? Don’t put away those jackets just yet. Here’s three we dig at CRC:

Chrome Utility Bomber Jacket ($160) (

(Chrome photos: GRAMO)


It’s not hard to imagine Chrome coming up with this style of coat, one that bridges their street vibe with bike culture. This is the jacket Steve McQueen would have worn if he was chasing bad guys through the hills of San Francisco on a bike instead of in that bitchen Mustang. The bomber hits right at the waist and is quite comfortable. The nylon shell offers a bit of stretch, thanks to 6% spandex, and the exterior features a DWR coating to shed light precipitation. Ribbed cuffs and waistline provide ample barrier to wind creeping in, and it’s greatest feature, imho, the two-way zipper allows for ventilation and “caping out” on the bike. Yet the moniker of “Utility” jacket is disingenuous, as the the pocket layout falls short of true utilitarian usage. Two hand-warmer pockets are a bit too shallow; with no zippers, keys or a phone will certainly make a hasty exit. A snap-down pocket on the left chest is not quite deep enough to swallow most phones. Two zippered pockets on the rear of the jacket are a nice touch, yet they, too, are a bit too undersized to be useful. As with the VOID jacket, I find the lack of an internal secured pocket to be a glaring omission. 



VOID Spark Jacket ($180) (


Sweden’s VOID (Vision Of Infinity Defined) according to their website, “merges Swedish design and high-end functionality with contemporary fashion.” I tend to agree, as the clean silhouette of the Spark jacket makes you want to hit the apres party for top euro pros. The Spark would be ideal for warm-up or cool down at a cross race, or riding to the coffee shop. It’s puffy exterior belies a synthetic polyfil thermolator that gets the job done from a comfort standpoint, but is not overly warm, i.e. not warm enough, in my opinion, at least as a stand-alone cold-weather jacket. I do like the slim fit and the hoody-style, and the tall collar locks out the wind when fully zipped. On bike fit is very good and the lower portion of the back of the jacket is a cordura material both for abrasion resistance and easier mud shedding. There are two zippered hand-warmer pockets, and one small zippered jersey-style pocket on the rear, but lack of interior pockets knocks it down a notch. This jacket is very stealth, but the reflective zipper-pulls and VOID logos on the left chest, cuff, and back are incredibly bright in low-light conditions. Alas, this jacket is no longer on their website, but hopefully an updated version will be announced soon.


Surly Waxed Canvas Riding Jacket 2.0 ($250)

(Surly photos: ROBJOB)


The title of Surly’s Canvas “Riding” jacket, in the strictest sense of the word, is a bit of a misnomer. Even though it is perfectly at home in the saddle, the waxed cotton canvas number is equally at home streaking through the forest and chopping firewood, shoveling a snowy figure-8 for your bicycle derby, or drinking Basil Hayden around a campfire. You’ve got a boxy, almost Carhartt™-esque body, but in more of a moto-jacket stance. While less agile than a provisional riding jacket, the Surly is far from bulky. A lightweight merino wool lines the body, with polyester in the sleeves for smooth layering. Gatored cuffs with thumb loops seal out the wind, and the most crucial aspect for any cycling jacket, the two-way zipper allows you to “cape out” and vent the wind, while also being supremely comfortable in a muffin-top friendly on-bike position. Pocket placement is keen, offering two zippered drop-in security pockets, and newly added, fleece-lined handwarmers. A concealed security pocket inline under the chest flap is a good spot to stash important stuff. The cut is generous, but not overly roomy. It’s not all sunshine and moonbeams, though. This is a heavy jacket, thanks to the canvas, and I was hoping there to be a nod to maximum versatility by adding jersey pockets on the rear. This is a rugged jacket for urban riders, and the waxed finish will only improve with age. 






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