Verdict: Delivers in terms of design, performance, technology and eco-credentials – that it's from a UK company is the icing on the cake
One of the most immediately interesting things about the Findra Stroma Technical Jacket is that the fabric uses repurposed coffee grounds alongside recycled plastic bottles in its creation. The clever eco-fabric has four-way stretch and a 10,000mm waterproof rating, and the resulting jacket is very light and stretchy. Just bear in mind that it's designed to be an all-round outdoor waterproof rather than cycling-specific.
- Pros: Versatile, waterproof, great breathability, low weight, packable, environmentally conscious, independent British manufacturer
- Cons: Lacks a few cycling-specific features such as a dropped tail and reflectivity; hood can get in the way
Because of the level of stretch, the fit of the jacket is reasonably forgiving – worth bearing in mind when selecting your size. If you're likely to want to wear it with multiple layers underneath then I'd say go for your usual size, but for a sleek fit maybe consider going down a size. (Tass is modelling a 12, her usual size, but reckons a 10 would probably be a better fit.) It's available in sizes 8-16, and in 'Nine Iron' grey as well as this lovely teal.
waterproof YKK zips and two side zipped pockets…
slightly toughened shoulder patches…
a drawstring at the hem and soft double cuffs at the wrists.
The cuffs are an absolute delight, with the soft inner cuff easily reaching far enough to protect the wrists when stretched out on the bike, while the outer cuffs don't cut in or have any intrusive fastenings to get in the way. Personally, I'd be disinclined to use the thumb loop on the inner cuff, but there are plenty of folk who would.
I'd be unlikely to use the hood under or over a helmet, but it does fit if that's something you do. On its own it didn't flap about when pulled up, but felt slightly obvious when not in use; it didn't hamper peripheral vision too badly, but did catch the wind from time to time for some slightly hairy moments. I'd have liked some sort of simple button or something to secure it or roll it up when not in use. That said, when fully zipped up, the snug fit of the neck of the jacket not only meant for a weatherproof fit but also kept the hood largely in check.
The jacket packs down small, but not really small enough to pop into a jersey pocket. It's more in saddle bag or rucksack territory.
The fabric is soft and comfortable to wear, and brilliantly breathable along with its waterproofing. The yarn is made from repurposed coffee grounds and recycled plastic bottles, and is claimed to be odour resistant as well as offering UVA and UVB protection.
It's waterproof enough to keep out moderate wet stuff for a commute or mid-length ride, but it's not a jacket for all-day torrential conditions. It is, however, extremely good at not making you overheat, which is a constant battle with waterproofs.
On all but those seriously unpleasant hot, persistently wet days, it offered rainproofing without any real sweat penalty, apart from on long climbs where I did need to unzip to allow extra venting. I can genuinely say it's one of the most comfortable waterproof jackets I've ever worn.
For a high quality, versatile, all-purpose waterproof jacket that's manufactured by an independent Scottish company and has good eco-credentials, I'd say this is well worth the £159 rrp. We haven't tested that many similar jackets aimed at a more generalist end-user, but the Gore R3 mentioned above is £20 more, and the Showers Pass £35. Arguably, those provide more durable protection in prolonged downpours, but then they don't have the Findra's more appealing elements such as the innovative stretch eco-fabric and the company's British pedigree.
By Lara Dunn for Road CC