Sugoi RSE NeoShell Jacket $279.95
Hard on the weather, soft on you.
When it comes to outerwear, cyclists have two choices -- enjoy the stretch and ventilation of a soft shell and risk rain penetration, or opt for the hard shell with superior waterproof properties and risk clamminess and a limited range of motion. Sugoi, however, achieved the best of both worlds by partnering with Polartec and developing the RSE NeoShell Jacket.
Traditionally, continuous film membranes are the way that manufacturers add breathability to technical shells. The problem is, during intense efforts, moisture vapor builds because it's not forced from the interior, meaning that the environment is stagnate. Another disadvantage is the limited stretch due to the tightly knit, continuous fibers of those membranes. Polartec's Neoshell membrane, in contrast, uses a microporous polyurethane structure with a highly controlled pore size. This does a few things better than the former -- it permits flow in both directions so that vapor is forced out, and as you move around, air is recharged and pushes internal vapor to the outside. This keeps your core bone-dry no matter how much you turn up the jets, and it'll hold true in the coldest, wettest conditions.
And, unlike the limited movement of continuous-fiber membranes, the exactly sized micro-pores of the Neoshell poly membrane permit more overall fabric stretch. We found this surprising, as eliminating binding in a cycling top is a paramount priority, but a tough one to achieve. This is due to the wide range of positions that are required. For example, if a top is optimized for extension in the drops, it will fit awkwardly when seated. Mesh panels are often used to contrive stretch, but then weather protection is compromised. Instead, Polartec's Neoshell membrane allows Sugoi to shape the RSE for optimized coverage in all cycling positions without compromising its wind and water repellency.
That waterproof property is fortified with a durable water-repellent treatment in order to give the RSE NeoShell the breathability and stretch of a soft shell, with the impenetrable protection of a storm shell. But, technical ability alone isn't enough to merit a jacket as an impeccably designed cycling top -- that's where Sugoi's 20-plus years of experience comes into play.
The large, easy-access rear pockets are able to be operated with one hand, covered in a winter glove, and an offset front zipper prevents irritation at the chin. All of the zips and seams have been sealed in order to lockout weather. Adding to that ability are hook-and-loop cuffs and a pull tie along the drop-tail hem.
Of course, no foul-weather top is complete without reflective elements. You'll find accents throughout to help keep motorist alert of presence in low-light conditions.
The Sugoi RSE NeoShell Jacket is available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the colors Black and Cyan.
- How to Measure:
- For best results, take measurements over your underwear.
- Measure under your arms, around the fullest part of your chest.
- Natural Waist:
- Measure around your natural waistline, keeping the tape a bit loose.
- Measure around the fullest part of your body at the top of your legs.
- Using pants that fit well, measure the crotch seam to the bottom of the leg.
Reviews & Community
Great Waterproof Shell with One Issue
If you are looking for protection from prolonged downpours with the most breathability possible, Polartec's Neoshell is as good as it gets. There are plenty of hooded versions of Neoshell jackets out there. I already have a Westcomb Apoc which is just such a jacket and has become one of my favorites. Clearly though there are times when a hood is a major negative, even in a heavy downpour. Consider biking and running on the road or other athletic endeavors when you need to hear your surroundings with 100% clarity. Having seen my Westcomb Apoc wet onto portions of the inner liner via a very saturated open hood during a very wet day of competition recently, I was determined to find a similar Neoshell jacket without a hood.
Searching cycling and running jackets confirmed the Sugoi RSE and RSX as the only options. The form-fitting RSE has no hood while the looser-fitting RSX has a removable hood with velcro attachment tabs at the collar. I'm 6'-2", 180lb with a 33 waist. I tried a number of jackets:
RSE Neo L: far too tight, felt I could barely zip it up with nothing underneath.
RSE Neo XL: perfect fit as a form fitting jacket. Just for reference, a 10oz Marmot Quasar Down Jacket (Sweater style) will barely fit underneath but with arms too tight to be comfortable (not that I'd have any reason to try this anyway). Wearing only a light wicking layer underneath, everything feels great with one exception. When lifting the arms to horizontal, I've found the bottom of the jacket lifts more than desired and the shoulder area feels overly constricted. Despite this problem, nothing else on the market compares with this jacket so it is a keeper for me.
RSX Neo XL: after wearing the RSE, the RSX feels a bit like a trash bag but, in reality, it has a very same traditional loose but stylish fit of my Westcomb Apoc (L). Honestly I would have been tempted to keep it instead of the RSE as my all purpose rain shell if I didn't already own the Westcomb.
Gear Break Review from PEZ
Best waterproof jacket I have
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have used this several times in light rain and dry cold in the 20s.
Breaths well, I feel protected, , rear zippered pocket holds small items, small chest pocket alittle small and on the right side when it should be on the left for right hand access. Wish there were 2 chest pockets.
Athletic cut, size up.
5'-8", 38 chest, 31 waist puts me in the...
5'-8", 38 chest, 31 waist puts me in the small category with this jacket. from review on Bike Radar they indicated some limited room when stretching out in the drops position (which you would expect). does this jacket run to the small side or can I go with the chart? Any help is appreciated!
The RSE Neoshell definitely runs a bit small as a race fit, sizing up is a good idea, awesome jacket!
I am a 39 chest. I ordered a large which fits ok. Even that is about an inch too small. I prefer a more relaxed fit but this jacket is not designed that way.
Watch out for sizing
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Me: 38 chest, 31 waist. Medium says chart but M is too tight around shoulder and forearms. Which is funny given that I am nearly 6"2 and 162lb (not much shoulder width of forearm meat on that frame).
I tried the L as well but the room in the lower torso area area was just laughable: I could have fitted a third trimester belly in there.
Jacket "looks" waterproof but there are lots of panels and taped seams which make the jacket much more rigid than it ought to be with Polartec Neoshell. Reflective accents are very nice.
Summary: I *really* wanted to like this jacket but the cut needs some major improving upon. I found the BikeRadar review after trying this jacket and their comments are also that the cut is not adequate for a high end cycling jacket.
Waterproof AND breathable
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is the first partnership between outdoor giant Polartec and Sugoi to create the worlds FIRST truly waterproof and breathable cycling jacket. Incredibly lightweight AND packable into your back jersey pocket. I rode with this jacket for 2 days in Tahoe recently and it was perfect, no vents needed and still seam sealed. True race style fit, so if looking for a more loose fit make sure to size up, also great for nordic activity!