by Matt Letch
March 18, 2011
Looks like a cotton checked shirt is actually technical "pretty foul weather" top
Tested: About four months.
The Scott Roarban is a bit of a odd one really. I first saw one last year on a ski lift in the Alps being worn by one of the guides at Chatel Bike Park. It may have been the slight crush I developed on Mr Rad™ on his bike but whatever the reason, I wanted one.
What looks like a cotton checked shirt is actually a technical “pretty foul weather” top.
The shirt is made entirely of polyester; it’s a single layer material which has extra windproof panels added to the inside around the chest and shoulders. Added to what is already a very windproof material already, it’s quite capable of coping with cold wet and windy weather in a way that you wouldn’t suspect of a garment that essentially looks like a shirt.
Unlike a normal cycle top it’s not terribly breathable. I’d say it was less breathable than a lot of windproofs on the market currently but Scott has cunning ways of getting around that…
Massive full-length zippable vents run along the sleeves to help things breathing. If you’re going uphill I’d recommend using them (or wear fewer clothes… or be fitter). This is a warm garment.
There are also vents under the shoulder yoke, across the shoulders of the shirt that in theory help a bit too. Well, if you’re not wearing a pack. The sleeves and also undoing the buttons and zip on the front of the shirt are the best way to control your temperature.
It’s definitely been designed for the “bike park” rider. iPod pocket and cable routing into the shirt/jacket built in (a really nice touch is two little loops that are by the collar to help with headphone routing). Zippable pockets so you don’t lose your pass…
It’s much more a jacket than a shirt and as such it works admirably. I’ve been snowed-on in it, rained-on in it. I’ve crashed down some rocks on it. And it just (quite literally) all slid off it. It’s not as good as keeping drafts out as a more technical jacket and it’s not as breathable. But I’ve also worn far worse ‘technical’ jackets than this shirt.
Let’s be clear. If you want a really breathable technical jacket you could definitely get something more useful for your money. If however you’d like something with a little bit of fashion and fun thrown in when you’re out on your bike. And if you like some bright Euro colours thrown in and enjoy smiling smugly at disapproving glances for people that think you’re inappropriately prepared for a day in the hills (when in fact you’re toasty under a windproof), you’ll love it.
Overall: I suspect this is one of those garments you’ll either totally get and want, or hate and reject out of hand.