Rockrider is the name for Decathlon’s mountain bike sub-brand, and it has a growing range of reasonably priced mountain bike clothing and accessories. This Slim-Fit Softshell which is branded as Cross Country on the jacket itself, is a well put together piece of kit with some interesting design details such as a ‘rubbish’ pocket. However, the 'Pro-Fit' that Rockrider has used seems very extreme, a more relaxed fit would have suited it better, and opened it up to many more riders looking for a budget mountain bike jacket.
Design and Aesthetics
The Rockrider Cross Country jacket, which as the name suggests is targeted at the more XC rather than trail-focused mountain biker and has a close anatomical fit to suit. The bulk of the jacket is made from a wind and drizzle-proof softshell fabric, which has a soft inner fleece lining with a honeycomb pattern to trap warm air. The sides and a large section of the back are made from a stretchier material, that still has the honeycomb fleece on the inside, but foregoes the windproof outer membrane, which enables a slim-fitting profile and allows perspiration to escape.
Decathlon has clearly given some thought into how the jacket will be used in a cross-country environment, with six pockets incorporated into the back, two of which are zipped, and one intended for rubbish storage. The hem around the bottom of the jacket is wide and stretchy with a silicone strip to help keep fully-loaded pockets under control and stop any unwanted drafts. The collar is suitably high for a winter jacket and the chunky YKK zip has a garage at the top and bottom and a pull tab for use with gloved hands. The cuffs of the jacket have a double flap design to help prevent drafts and to work well with winter gloves.
The fabrics used for the jacket feel very premium considering the price and the jacket looks nicely put together with some well-considered detailing. I’m 5’ 11”, weigh 72kg with a 37.5” chest and a slim waist, and I’ve been testing the size medium. Straight away a few issues with the cut of the jacket became apparent. Firstly, the fit around the waist is extremely snug and I was thankful for the stretchy side panels. In Decathlon’s defence it does describe the jacket as Pro-Fit and even suggests sizing up on its website. However, the fit on my shoulders was great, suggesting a larger size wouldn’t fix the problem. This leads onto the second quirk with the jacket’s cut, which is the cuff openings. The cuffs are made from a soft stretchy material, but the circumference is too big, which leaves them flapping in the wind as result. This isn’t great for a winter jacket where cuffs should be nice and snug to prevent unwanted drafts. The overall fit is therefore a bit odd, with the jacket fitting nicely on the shoulders but at the same time being extremely snug on the waist and baggy at the wrists. I was left a bit confused as to who this jacket would fit!
Despite the slightly odd fit, the stretch in the materials allowed me to persevere and I tested it at this year's Newnham 60 off-road sportive on Dartmoor, which proved to be a good testing ground. It wasn’t particularly cold at approximately 8 degrees C, so I only had a short sleeve base layer underneath. But as Dartmoor has a habit of doing, it threw everything at us, from drizzle to sunshine with a bit of wind for good measure. The water-repellent treatment shrugged off the light showers, and I never felt the wind getting through, even on the fast descents heading back off the moor. Even the baggy cuffs helped keep things cool when the sun put in a brief appearance. I can’t say I made much use of the six pockets provided, which do seem a bit at odds with the current trend for onboard storage, but nonetheless I did stuff a few gels in the unzipped pockets for easy access during the event. One detail I really did like was the rubbish pocket on the right-hand side. This pocket is cut slightly lower than the rest and is easy to reach and avoids you having to put sticky, used gel wrappers back into the main pockets. Overall, I was very impressed with how the jacket performed.
The jacket seems to be bearing up well after several filthy rides and cycles through the washing machine. I’ve not seen anything to suggest that the jacket shouldn’t be durable and long lasting.
Despite the slightly strange Pro-Fit, which will greatly limit who the Rockrider cross-country jacket will fit, the performance out on the trail has surpassed my expectations for a jacket at this price point.
The materials used are probably a bit lightweight for use on its own in the depths of winter but it could easily be used as part of a layering system. The jacket seems best suited for those mixed condition days in spring and autumn, where a suitably thick or thin base layer can be used, and a waterproof shell stuffed into one of the pockets.
Tech specs: Rockrider Slim-Fit Mountain Biking Jacket
- Price: $NA / £64.99
- Sizes: S to 2XL
- Colors: Black / Lime Yellow and Navy Blue / Pale Gray