years ago, i owned a multicoloured knitted jumper, displaying an amalgam of blues, reds, ochres and verdant greens in a remarkably pleasing hoop(ish) pattern. it featured nice long-sleeves and a round neck and was pretty much my constant companion day in and day out, even when it might have been better looking at the world through the round window of a washing machine.
and as if its singular wonderfulness were not sufficient, on discovering that bass player extraordinaire, the late jaco pastorius, wore a remarkably similar garment, it assumed even greater day to day importance. granted, i scarcely know one end of a fender jazz bass from another, but since jaco was flavour of the month at the time, having something even tenuously in common with such a superlative musician gave rise to admittedly inordinate satisfaction.
as with pretty much every woollen jumper in the world, it eventually began sporting more holes than mrs washingmachinepost was willing to tolerate and one sad day for sartorialism, it ended up in the bin. if i'd had my way, we'd have held a short service to commemorate its passing. i have kept an eye out for any similar jumpers that might be viewed as a possible replacement, but so far, many, many years later, nothing seems to have come close.
but i still listen to jaco pastorius recordings despite being no nearer to figuring out the bridge from the headstock on a bass guitar.
after only several days, endura's latest incongruously named thermal windproof jacket shows every promise of assuming the mantle of that jumper, albeit in an altogether different fashion. developed from their association with spain's movistar world tour team, the fit equates to the sort of comfort you always hoped a jacket would provide. the arms are of a length that keeps them around your wrists when in the sprint position, while the dropped tail has sufficient gloopy stuff on an elastic gripper to keep it in place when hurtling down an alpine descent (so i've been told).
the tall collar, however, provides something of a quandary. it's the first jacket i've come across in recent times that is bereft of a zip garage at the top, leaving the sturdy ykk zip perilously exposed to the nape of my neck. but the rear of the collar features a softer, internal flap collar more or less at the base, one that sits against the back of your neck and ensuring no untoward draughts exert their chilling nature when sprinting from cav's rear wheel. clever and welcome.
the full-length front zip is backed with a substantial and fs-260 emblazoned storm flap. though there's a degree of faff involved in zipping to the neck without catching this in the zip, it's effectiveness makes any amount of faff more than worthwhile.
maximising the jacket's pragmatic tendencies are three generously sized pockets at the rear, augmented by the mandatory fourth zipped version. despite the jacket's light weight, my stuffing of a waterproof jacket, digital camera, mini-pump, coffee money, a spare pair of winter gloves, musette (to carry home a bag of porridge oats) and a chunk of mrs washingmachinepost's christmas cake, only added to the heft without detracting in any way from the fit or out-of-the-saddle climbing ability.
of course, all the foregoing is well and good and not necessarily any more or less than you'd expect from a contemporary cycling jacket. but the hang tag makes mention of its thermal properties allied to a level of windproofing that is allegedly noteworthy enough to be highlighted. fortunately, at this time of year in the hebrides, there is no shortage of strong to galeforce winds with which to verify endura's claims. additionally, by varying the underlying layers, it is simplicity itself to take advantage of the jacket's thermal properties depending on the ambient temperature ruling at the time.
in order that i should not let the fs-260 off lightly, i tried everything from a mere baselayer all the way up to the latter accompanied by a thermal midlayer. the latter certainly tested the breathability to the max in remarkably mild weather, conditions in which it acquitted itself admirably. i really ought to mention, germain as it is to the nature of the review, that the windproofing is exemplary, verified by atlantic winds gusting to the upper forties. i do so enjoy my work.
but overall, the jacket's unique selling point is its ubiquitous feelgood factor. it's just one of those jackets that you could ride in all day long, week in, week out, as well as those hours spent supping froth and consuming caramel biscuits in the coffee shop. it's the very garment that can be worn well in advance of the day's bike ride and continue to be worn long after the bike has been cleaned, oiled and put back in the shed (everybody does that, right?).
i would, however, be in breach of the reviewer's code if i failed to come up with a flaw, no matter how minor. in this case it's a flaw that cannot solely be laid at the feet of endura, but i'd really rather they fitted a loop at the collar to allow me to hang it on a coat peg. i have made mention of this on previous occasions, but it hasn't happened yet. i'm hoping that persistence pays off. despite such a minor tribulation, in my opinion, this jacket is pretty darned ginger peachy.
endura's fs260-pro sl thermal windproof jacket is available in black, red (as reviewed) and lime green, in sizes small (in case you're nairo quintana) all the way to xxl, retailing at a very amenable £129.99.
monday 25 january 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................