Halloween came early to Sportful's atmospheric, heavily mood-lit R&D laboratories, which are located just northwest of Treviso in Italy. After months of seclusion with captured specimens from Sportful's standard lines and the outdoor industry writ large, the mysterious engineers emerged from the mist, their long white coats stained with Chianti, bicycle grease, DWR treatment, and other, unidentifiable substances. Months of secretive chirurgery resulted in the Sportful R&D Jacket, which uses layers of weather-resistant material and (we think, but can't be sure) black magic to create a jacket that approaches the insulating prowess of goose down but is fitted well enough for cycling. A true monster.
The Polartec Alpha is the jacket's heart, giving it a loft similar to down. This is entombed in a skin of Windshield, which does exactly what you'd expect: sit on the outside and shield against the wind, because every real monster has tough skin. The stretchy mesh lining acts as a comfort scrim while also creating additional microclimate space around your body. All three fabrics are highly breathable, so the jacket evacuates moisture with the same alacrity that it traps warmth. At a claimed weight of 405 grams, it is a little bit heavier than most of Sportful's other jacket offerings, but you'll definitely appreciate the additional warmth that those extra grams buy you on cold training rides.
The jacket's remaining features are more standard, and include a wind-flapped YKK Vislon zipper, an elastic hem with a grippy silicone pattern, three rear pockets, and a bit of reflective detailing on the pockets' pleats. The fit may remind you of the BodyFit Pro line. It should, because it has a similar cut, which Sportful refers to as """"ergonomic."""" Still, We should note that the loft of the Polartec Alpha makes it slightly thicker than most slim-fit cycling jackets. The extended collar is the final highlight of the R&D Jacket's construction. It's cut to accommodate an in-the-saddle position, so when you reach out to the bars, it stays close to your neck, covers admirably, and doesn't feel overly constrictive. You won't feel the need to unzip an inch just to take a drink.
The Sportful R&D Jacket - Men's is available in seven sizes ranging from X-Small to XXX-Large in the colors Black and Marine Blue/black.