The Sliabh Mid Season Jacket from Irish brand Tadaias is, according to their website, designed for riding in cold spring and autumn conditions – in fact, in all but the warmest weather. Lets be honest, here in the north of England that makes it pretty much a year-round piece of kit!
The first thing that struck me about this jacket was the feel and texture.
The material is known as Plastotex, which is a new one on me. It’s not a name which conjures up an image of classy desirability – plastic is a word which is generally paired with other words like cheap, tacky, and garish – but thankfully the Sliabh is none of those things.
If, like me, you are used to a bit more natural fibre in your kit the feel and the shiny finish takes a bit of getting used to, but I’ve grown to like it. When worn directly against the skin it actually has a kind of clingy silkiness to it which is surprising, and very pleasant.
Can I use the word sensuous in a kit review?!
Practically speaking it’s a jacket which, in wintry conditions would work as a wind-proof top layer over one or two warmer layers, and in milder weather could be worn either as a single layer or with something light underneath.
When wearing it out in the weather it feels like your top half is sealed in a bag – albeit a very smart, and stylish looking bag. With tight and grippy cuffs and waistband and a fleece lined collar held in place buy a solid zipper and housing, there’s no chance of any draft sneaking in.
It really is superbly wind-proof.
It is also designed to be water repellent – not waterproof – and light rain does seems to bounce off and roll away. It’s not designed to deal with a full wet ride but rather one where light showers are likely to come and go.
In terms of breathe-ability there have been occasions where I’ve been working hard enough to expect a film of sweat to appear inside the jacket, but found I was dry as a bone. Admittedly the Spring weather here in the UK has yet to get genuinely warm, and I’ll be interested to see how it copes when the temperatures hit the teens, but the signs are really good.
It seems, so far, to do exactly what it promises.
The overall cut of the jacket is racy and aerodynamic but, pleasingly, it’s nice and generous in both body and sleeve length. This helps add to the overall feeling of weather protection. At just under 6ft and around 80 kilo’s the large is a great fit on me; a kind of ‘relaxed’ race-cut, if such a thing exists?
When you’re wearing the Sliabh it feels quite lightweight so the outstanding feature is just how comprehensive the wind-proofing manages to be. For those in-between days when you need something a bit more than a standard long sleeve jersey this is a good option, almost offering the feel of a jersey with the protection of a jacket.
Versatile, is the word I’m looking for.
Looks-wise it follows the Tadaias template which clearly places proper emphasis on style. It’s the familiar cyclist’s uniform of stripes but this is no retro stripe-fest – it’s a carefully considered brand image which (and judge for yourself, of course) I think looks great.
I have to say there is something about the shiny shade of red which made me feel, if not quite self-conscious, then certainly as if I were standing out from the crowd. That’s all well and good, but if you’re going to turn heads it’s quite important that you’re at least a half-decent bike rider.
On that basis, it’s a ready-made excuse to hit the road and clock up a few extra miles of training.