Review: 2XU X-Lite Membrane Jacket
- by Danny Beveridge
- Published: 15 June 2010
2XU’s X-Lite rain jacket is a new addition to the product line up for 2010. It’s a light jacket that can roll into a jersey pocket and clear enough so that your race number and pro cycling jersey are visible and stay dry.
The fit is snug and the material doesn’t flap in the wind, though because the material is clear, it smarms down your arm hair down like a clear swimming cap. And on top of this, the outside is rubberised – so the whole thing tends to resemble a big latex glove. It is not windproof as it is undoubtedly built for one purpose – to keep the rain out.
As a functional garment, it is quite comfortable to wear. While the outside is rubbery, the inside is not, and it doesn’t feel like a garbage bag. From this perspective, it’s a totally different (better) product to the plastic-style raincoats.
It is well designed as far as waterproofing goes. It has all the necessary attention to detail. The zipper is waterproof and as you would possibly expect, it locks itself in position to avoid accidental unzipping. It has a nice long tail and silicon grippers, as well as a reasonable-sized collar that doesn’t choke.
Along with its welded seams, it has everything you need to keep dry in all but the most unpleasant conditions. It takes more than 30 minutes of heavy rain for moisture to permeate some parts of the jacket. This tends to happen wherever water can accumulate, and with very long sleeves, this is usually where it bunches up on your arms.
In light rain, you can ride almost all day without getting wet while with a moderate shower, the amount of water that gets through is probably less than the sweat you can work up during this time. Don’t underestimate the advantage of having mudguards on your bike during rain; without rain coming up from underneath, the 2XU X-Lite Membrain Jacket will perform even better.
The breathability is excellent and being wind-permeable it rarely becomes uncomfortable. This is reason that this winter jacket would be a great in spring, autumn and summer. If it’s raining, there are very few places in Australia where this jacket would be too hot to wear. And besides, in Australia, summer is the wet season, not winter.
Unfortunately, there’s no free lunch when it comes to waterproofing vs. breathability as breathable materials can only stay waterproof for so long. But the X-Lite jacket delivers very well on both accounts – which is what you would expect for a jacket at this price point, RRP $200. It will be a rare exception that you will face wet weather that really challenges the abilities of this jacket, though even then it will keep its excellent breathability. Just don’t mistake it as a warm weather jacket, if it is raining and cold, you will need a different jacket.
It may look dorky to outsiders, but it’s a very specialised garment that does its intended job admirably. Although part of 2XU’s winter range, it will perform well throughout the year.
2XU gear is available in 2XU Stores and bike shops across Australia as well from the 2XU online shop. www.2XU.com