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Hard on the weather, soft on you.
When it comes to outerwear, cyclists have two choices -- enjoy the stretch and ventilation of a soft shell and risk rain penetration, or opt for the hard shell with superior waterproof properties and risk clamminess and a limited range of motion. Sugoi, however, achieved the best of both worlds by partnering with Polartec and developing the RSE NeoShell Jacket.
Traditionally, continuous film membranes are the way that manufacturers add breathability to technical shells. The problem is, during intense efforts, moisture vapor builds because it's not forced from the interior, meaning that the environment is stagnate. Another disadvantage is the limited stretch due to the tightly knit, continuous fibers of those membranes. Polartec's Neoshell membrane, in contrast, uses a microporous polyurethane structure with a highly controlled pore size. This does a few things better than the former -- it permits flow in both directions so that vapor is forced out, and as you move around, air is recharged and pushes internal vapor to the outside. This keeps your core bone-dry no matter how much you turn up the jets, and it'll hold true in the coldest, wettest conditions.
And, unlike the limited movement of continuous-fiber membranes, the exactly sized micro-pores of the Neoshell poly membrane permit more overall fabric stretch. We found this surprising, as eliminating binding in a cycling top is a paramount priority, but a tough one to achieve. This is due to the wide range of positions that are required. For example, if a top is optimized for extension in the drops, it will fit awkwardly when seated. Mesh panels are often used to contrive stretch, but then weather protection is compromised. Instead, Polartec's Neoshell membrane allows Sugoi to shape the RSE for optimized coverage in all cycling positions without compromising its wind and water repellency.
That waterproof property is fortified with a durable water-repellent treatment in order to give the RSE NeoShell the breathability and stretch of a soft shell, with the impenetrable protection of a storm shell. But, technical ability alone isn't enough to merit a jacket as an impeccably designed cycling top -- that's where Sugoi's 20-plus years of experience comes into play.
The large, easy-access rear pockets are able to be operated with one hand, covered in a winter glove, and an offset front zipper prevents irritation at the chin. All of the zips and seams have been sealed in order to lockout weather. Adding to that ability are hook-and-loop cuffs and a pull tie along the drop-tail hem.
Of course, no foul-weather top is complete without reflective elements. You'll find accents throughout to help keep motorist alert of presence in low-light conditions.
The Sugoi RSE NeoShell Jacket is available in five sizes from Small to XX-Large and in the colors Black and Cyan.