By Jessica Strange for VeloMe
Like women’s mountain bike shorts, a well fitting and functional jacket can be equally as difficult for a brand to get “right”. Because we’re all different shapes and sizes, because we all want different things and because we ride in diverse places, climates and terrains, there are many variables for a brand to consider when developing garments. After four years of finery, FINDRA has launched their first technical jacket, the Stroma.
When you pour over the tech sheets for the FINDRA Stroma Technical Jacket, it’s easy to lose yourself a little bit, but to me, that’s just a testament to the many hours of research and development that’s gone into its making. So, where to begin? Well, it’s got a 10,000 waterproof rating and it’s windproof, making it a force to be reckoned with against the elements.
Now, the technical fabric that’s been used for its construction is something to really pay attention to. Developed from P4Dry Technical 4-way stretch performance fabric, eco-friendly reusable coffee grounds and plastic bottles have gone into the creation of this jacket. With its sustainable blend, this material is breathable by quickly wicking moisture away from the body. It’s super lightweight and stretchy, enabling freedom of movement as you ride, without distorting the overall shape afterwards. The innovative use of coffee grounds within the yarn of the fabric also helps to absorb body odours which are not only pleasant for you and those around you, but it means you won’t have to wash it as often – unless you get it ultra super muddy, of course!
To top it all off, the Stroma jacket offers UVA and UVB protection, it’s machine washable at 30°C, fast drying, has extended cuff detail in soft stretch fabric with thumbholes, shoulder protection, drawcord adjuster on the hem and hood for enhanced fit, and concealed zip pockets – and breathe. It’s an ambitious order to pack into one jacket, but if there’s one thing we know about FINDRA, is that they don’t do anything by halves.
FINDRA Stroma Technical Jacket: Verdict
Before the incredible weather graced me here in Wales, I took advantage of a few downright gross days out on the bike to test the FINDRA Stroma jacket. I was not disappointed.
Focussing for a moment on the fit and shape, it’s superb. Tapers nicely at the waist to provide a feminine shape, it’s long on the bum so there’s ample coverage, and even though it’s loose enough to wear layers underneath, it’s not too baggy, nor does it billow in the wind as your descending. The fabric itself isn’t what I was expecting from recycled plastic bottles and ground coffee either. It’s lightweight, sure, but the outer material has a lovely soft warmth to it which certainly helps reduce the annoying rustling sound which often accompanies waterproof jackets.
I know I’ve said before that I don’t like hoods on jackets, and that I find them to be flappy nuisances, but I stand corrected. Firstly, the hood is not detachable, and at first, I simply rolled it away into the back of my collar. That was until the heavens really opened up on me and to prevent the rain from entering my collar, I put the hood up! Up and over my helmet it went with ease and what’s more, is that the shape perfectly accommodated my helmet, stayed in place and enabled my head total freedom of movement, without feeling like my neck is being pulled back due to insufficient hood coverage. Impressively enough, even on the descents, the hood stayed in place, didn’t get in my way and I can honestly admit, once I discovered the supreme fit, I kept it up for the rest of my rainy day rides.
As for the Stroma’s protective capabilities – I have no complaints. No rain breached it’s waterproof barriers, leaving my under-layer totally dry – apart from lovely sweat. The only small criticism I have about this jacket is that the inner cuff, which has thumb loops, is sewn into the outer cuff, so I found it rather difficult to wear the thumb loops inside my gloves. However, the inner cuff is made from a stretchy material, so it hugs your wrist sufficiently which prevents a chilly draught from scooting up your sleeve.
Available in sizes UK 8 to UK 16, the Stroma Technical Jacket is available in either teal or grey. For more information, head over to FINDRA’s website here.