The Stratos is feature-packed: it combines at least three outer fabrics – a water-resistant shell, stretchy softshell sides, and a more breathable back panel. The front has an asymmetric zip, behind which sits a zip-in mesh, allowing you to effectively ride with the jacket open for ventilation, but without it flapping around in the wind. Hidden below the more substantial shell fabric, the sleeve cuffs are soft and stretchy. The bottom of the jacket can be snugged up via simple elastic and toggles.
What sets the Stratos aside here is that both sleeves zip on/off at the shoulder – not necessarily a new idea, but one which has its benefits on mild, damp, changeable days. What is new, to me at least, is the Quickburst technology on the zips – essentially a few of the zip teeth don’t fully interlock, allowing you to grab a pull tab at the front of each shoulder and remove the whole sleeve with one hand while riding. A neat idea, but given there are no readily available pockets in which to place the sleeves, a stop is likely. The gap at the zip also allows a bit of cold air (and water) to seep through.
The Stratos filled a hole in my riding wardrobe that I didn’t know existed. It is very breathable (even more so without the sleeves…) and offers similar levels of weather protection to lightweight fully waterproof jackets. It sometimes feels as though companies throw in features for the sake of it, but I regularly used all of those worked into the Stratos.
Overall: Went from being the jacket that I didn’t know I needed, to the only jacket I need for 90% of wet rides.
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|Tested:||by Tom Hill for|