Review – Paramo Ciclo Jacket: £200 / 670g (medium)
What Is It?
Paramo’s first ever cycling-specific waterproof jacket uses the prove, leftfield Nikwax Analogy fabric system and is cut specifically to work for cyclists with long sleeves, an extended tail for added butt protection and a hood specced to go over or under a cycling helmet for when things get gnarly.
- Nikwax Analogy fabric with single mesh pump liner throughout
- Helmet-friendly hood with vertical and horizontal adjustment
- Short-front and scoop-tailed cycling friendly cut
- Articulated long sleeves and shoulders
- Sleeve/torso vents with two-way zips
- Hand, chest and single zipped tail pocket
Paramo has made jackets you can use for cycling before – the Cuzco and the Torres for example – but the new Ciclo is the first time Paramo waterproof jacket designed specifically for cycling or more specifically cycle touring, commuting and, at a pinch, mountain biking as well. We’ve used the Ciclo for a mix of casual road and off-road riding in temperatures from around +10˚C down to -5˚C or so and in conditions down to and including driven snow.
First thing we discovered was that the cut is definitely on the large side. We normally take a medium, but the medium Ciclo hung off us, though in an oddly proportional way. Turned out that the small was a nigh-on perfect close, but not tight fit with an ample drop tail for added butt protection from rear-wheel spray and sleeves that are long enough not to pull up when reaching forward to the bars.
One small omission is the lack of a drawcord or partial drawcord for the hem. It was, admittedly, fine for us, but differently proportioned riders might have issues with drafts and flapping, particularly if you’ve gone for your normal size.
Cold Weather Friendly
The one downside of Paramo’s unique Analogy waterproofing system is that the pump liner adds extra insulation to the jacket. That’s great on really cold days, but less positive when it’s warmer or you’re working really hard. The Ciclo uses a single layer, perforated mesh pump liner in an attempt to minimise this effect, but it’s still pretty warm and worn back-to-back with an Enduro mountain jacket, we didn’t think the Ciclo was appreciably cooler.
It is, however, still very decently breathable, which means even if you do get hot and sweaty, the internal fug seems to clear faster and there’s no clammy ‘plastic bag’ feel. You can improve things a fair bit with the vents though.
We found we couldn’t open them completely from one end to the other, but unzipping from either end – as in the image right – has the advantage of preventing the vents from gaping open on when descending at speed. Easy to use on the move too. For us it’s still a winter jacket, but if you run on the cool side, it may manage milder conditions too.
One feature we were initially dubious about was the permanent hood, but we found it didn’t really flap annoyingly on the move even when left to its own devices, is big enough to pop over a cycling helmet at a standstill, though we found it limited head movement like this, and also sits snugly under a helmet for riding use.
Add in the high collar and it makes for a super snug winter option that also manages to allow decent peripheral vision and head movement. Finally it means the Ciclo can double up as a walking jacket if needed. The same goes for the not strictly vital hand-warmer pocket, again nice at a standstill.
More functionally, we liked the slanted Napoleon-style chest pockets, which were easy to access on the move and just about the right size for a snack, a phone and a set of keys, though they won’t take a map if that bothers you. Nor will the smallish pocket on the tail, which could do with being a little larger we reckon.
One thing we don’t understand is why there’s very little reflective on the rear of the jacket, just a single label in the centre of the tail pocket. There’s a horizontal strip on the front, but nothing out back to catch the attention of following cars. Not a deal-breaker, but on balance we reckon it would make sense.
And while we’re being fussy, a red colour option might make a nice visible halfway house between the discrete blue pictured and the retina-burning high-viz yellow alternative, please!
It’s a little heavy and a little warm and the sizing is a tad odd, but if you’re after a winter-friendly, wind and waterproof jacket specifically for all-round cycling use, the Ciclo takes all of Paramo’s positive points and wraps them up in a bike-friendly package.
We particularly like the venting options, the high, protective collar and, to our own surprise, the hood, which isn’t obtrusive when not in use, but adds handy extra protection worn under a helmet. If you’ve ever been blasted by hailstones through your helmet vents, you’ll know what we’re talking about…
Ideally we’d like it in red with an adjustable hem cord and some rear reflective, but even as things stand, it’s not half bad.
• Quiet, breathable, protective warm fabric system
• Neat bike-friendly cut once you get the size right
• Good, easy-to-use venting options
• Surprisingly useful but unobtrusive hood
• Sizing is generous – you may need to downsize
• Limited reflective on back
• Non adjustable hem
• May be too warm outside winter months
Scores (out of 5)