25 January 2012

Train in rain? Try the Showers Pass Elite Pro on for size

One of the most frequently asked questions we get here at BicyclingHub.com is, "Is this [insert cycling product] really worth the money?"  The old adage "you get what you pay for" is never more true when it comes to cycling rain gear.  And with headquarters based in Portland, Oregon, we get to test out cycling rain jackets a LOT.  One of our favorite high-performance rain jacket holds its value extremely well is the Showers Pass Elite Pro Jacket.

But don't just take OUR word for it; both Josh Liberles of Cyclocross Magazine and Scott Mares of Crossbikereview.com agree that when it comes to finding a lightweight, waterproof, packable rain jacket will keep you warm and dry when you're pounding out the miles in the cold and wet, the Shower Pass Elite Pro can be your best friend.  Read on to find out why they've earned a full 5 out of 5 cowbells rating from Crossbikereview.

Scott Mares from Crossbikereview.com says:

We Liked:

Showers Pass Elite Pro Jacket is available in both black and goldenrod.
You know there is nothing like first-hand, real world experience when you are producing a product. The guys at Showers Pass do one thing and that is make rain gear. Anyone can make plastic clothing and you get what you pay for in that arena. The guys at Showers Pass live, work and race in Portland OR. And since I have moved here I can tell you it rains a lot here in this big cycling city. The Elite Pro is the next generation in the Showers Pass lineup. So what they did was take their most popular commuter rain jacket and put it on a diet and send it to the gym. The Elite Pro is a racer-cut, lightweight rain jacket for the serious cyclist. I liked the fact that this jacket did not flap around in the rain on our training rides. 
Lightweight: the Elite Pro is a lightweight when you compare it to other rain jackets. We love how light it is and how little space it packs into. Usually the trade off when you get into this weight class is protection. However, the Showers Pass Elite Pro is made of three layers of fabric designed to be waterproof and breathable. So what we have here is a jacket that Mighty Mouse would approve of.

So you're inspired by the bad weather and you find yourself in the zone and you are hammering away and you find that you are starting to get a little hot. The Showers Pass Elite Pro jacket has 3 vents that you can open to keep form overheating. Two of them are located near the front of the jacket on the side about 3/4 the way forward. What? Why not on the sides like everyone else? Well good question. The reason why Showers Pass has placed these vents towards the front is because in this position they act like scoops and bring the air in and allow you to not overheat. The third one is located on the upper back just behind the collar. When you open this third vent the air form the lower two actually pushes air out this vent.   
The Elite Pro has asymmetrical waterproof zipper. So this means that no more zipper on the front of your neck rubbing or scratching it. Nothing but soft flexible fabric on the front of your throat. This is a nice little feature for a jacket like that.   
One thing that we hate is when the sleeves are too short and our wrist are exposed to the cold and wet. Not here! The Showers Pass Elite Pro has longer than normal sleeves so you can get full coverage up and over your gloves. Nicely done guys.

Big cuffs! Ok so they made some long sleeves on this jacket. Well they didn't stop there. They know that you will be wearing gloves as well, so they made the cuffs of the jacket larger than normal so you can get the jacket on easier. It sucks having to force your hand through the end of a sleeve while it's pouring on you. All you want is to get that jacket on ASAP because every second you are getting wetter and colder. And your still miles from a hot shower and dry clothes.

Reflective trim: OK, so the jacket fits, its waterproof and now you have to stay safe. The Elite Pro was designed so that there was reflective material all around so that you can be seen. The jacket is available in black and golden rod. This will help in being seen on those rainy days.

We Didn't Like

Showers Pass Elite Pro Jacket is available in both black and goldenrod.
There is a lot of things that we like about this jacket. Time and time again is has proven its worth to us. However, one of our missions here is to give constructive feedback so that manufactures can make a better product. With that in mind we gave the following suggestions to the masterminds at Showers Pass.

I would like to see silicon grippers on the inside of the cuffs and on the tips of the Velcro wrist straps. This would prevent the cuff from twisting when you are closing them off with the Velcro straps.

I think that having the jacket available in a couple of other colors would be nice as well. A light blue or pink or even a white would be my vote. As I think that those colors would appeal to women and aid in low light visibility. We get rain jackets in all of the time and we just feel invisible when they are black. So we don't feel safe in them and don't ride in them. I tried it once and I ended up turning right around and going back and getting a different jacket. Every time we get a black rain jacket in it reminds me of a skit in the 70's from Saturday night Live (season 3 episode 4) with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin. They were spoofing dangerous Halloween costumes and one of them was a black plastic bag and it was called "Invisible Pedestrian."

The Final Say

Don't know what to get for a rain jacket? Well you need to ask yourself some questions. How often does it rain where you are at? And how often are you going to ride in it? If it rains on a regular basis then don't be a penny pincher and this is the jacket for you. Just like a great pair of shoes you get what you pay for and you get a lot of jacket here with the Elite Pro. Do you train in just about any weather? Then you will be happy with the performance that this jacket gives its owner. It's lightweight, waterproof, packable and won't be flapping around in the wind while you're riding. The guys at Showers Pass know what they are doing when it comes to rain gear. This jacket will keep you warm and dry so you can turn the screw out on the road while every one else is inside on the trainers.

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