A head start for winter training.
Layering is the skeleton key to Giordana's latest winter clothing line, with each entry in the extensive weather-protection hierarchy designed to span a large range of conditions depending on what you wear underneath it. The Men's AV Extreme Winter Jacket follows the same ethos, but its starting line is, well, extreme. It's still a layer-friendly, race-fit jacket, but it receives a sizeable thermal head start in the form of a Polartec Alpha 60 mid-layer instead of the lighter AV 300 jacket's brushed fleece lining. This insulating layer is sandwiched between a weather-resistant membrane and a winter mesh lining, so the AV Extreme Winter Jacket's temperature range reaches lower than any other jacket in Girodana's wardrobe.
The Alpha 60 insulation is the biggest difference between the AV Extreme and AV 300 models, but the rest of the jacket's protective measures see similar tweaks in order to boost its overall deep-winter utility. Instead of the AV 300's DVstretch membrane, the AV Extreme features a DValpine membrane. Like with much of its top summer-weight kit, Giordana looked externally for material solutions to the typical cycling issues we all encounter. This search led it to eVent, a relatively young company that, since 1999, has been carving out space for itself in the breathable membrane market on the strength of its Direct Venting technology.
Unlike the dominant strains of membranes currently flooding the market, eVent's Direct Venting models are what the brand calls a "dry system"—that is, they don't need to get wet before they begin to breathe. While traditional PU membranes require a slight accumulation of internal moisture before they begin to expel it, Direct Venting membranes like DValpine breathe immediately. This is ideal for cycling situations, where the work/rest cycles of intervals, climbs, or just pedaling between stop lights can make for a microclimate that constantly fluctuates from humid and hot to cold as exertion levels rise and fall.
By maintaining a constant state of breathability, DValpine ensures that you don't pay for those periods of increased effort with the gradual accumulation of a clammy chill as the ride goes on. Instead, it keeps you in what eVent identifies as the "dry zone," a happy stasis of temperature and humidity to maintain comfort during intense bouts of endurance training.
In addition to virtually instant breathability, the DValpine membrane is literally waterproof and windproof. Compared to the DVstretch membrane in the AV 300 Jacket, DValpine is more waterproof, just as windproof, and tests at a breathability rate of 20,000g/m² instead of DVstretch's perfectly serviceable 18,000g/m². That means it's built to keep you drier and warmer in worse conditions. There is a slight trade-off in stretch (DVstretch didn't get its descriptive name for nothing), but that's where Giordana's genius for fit comes into play.
Giordana cuts the jacket with an "aggressive ergonomic fit," which translates to a race-fit top that conforms to the body and fits best when you're stretched out on the hoods or drops. If you're into more of a generous club fit or foresee the need to supplement the Alpha 60 insulation with additional thermal layers, then we'd suggest sizing up. For conversational base miles, Giordana does recommend supplementing the jacket with additional layers; however, we recommend testing the jacket's limits before throwing on thick base layers, as that incorporated layer of Alpha 60 insulation is a pretty impressive thermal specimen.
Polartec developed Alpha 60 for US special forces to use in situations where stopping to don or doff layers could literally be a matter of life or death. In cycling, "life or death" becomes an overwrought metaphor (eg., "dying 100 deaths to recover and bridge to the lead group"), but Alpha 60's properties remain just as serious. It's a compactable synthetic layer comprising low-loft, hydrophobic fibers that establish a layer of insulation warmth between the jacket's lining and its protective face. Despite its ability to regulate temperature, Alpha 60 allows the free passage of water vapor and moisture, ushering it away from your body and into the winter air while the DValpine membrane keeps external moisture from enjoying the same mobility in reverse.
Giordana gives the jacket a typically lavish host of finishing details, including an inner layer of soft mesh that sits gently against base layers or skin and feeds surface moisture into the outer layers. On the outside, Giordana incorporates the Pixel reflective ducktail that serves to protect against rooster tails while adding a health swathe of eye-catching reflectivity for increased visibility in low-light conditions. The standard complement of three rear pockets is supplemented with a zippered, waterproof security pocket, itself fast becoming an expected addition to high-end kit.
- An insulated, weatherproof cycling jacket for winter's worst
- Windproof, breathable eVent DValpine membrane
- DWR treatment across the jacket's entire surface
- Polartec's Alpha 60 mid-layer provides thermal insulation
- Cut with an uncompromising, race-friendly, aerodynamic fit
- Three rear pockets and one zippered security pocket
- Giordana's attention to fit and detail put it atop our wish-list every year
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
- Fit: Runs small
An awesome jacket because the new membrane and insulation technologies are amazing. On a 3 hour ride that started at 35 degrees and ended at 60 degrees, I was warm at 35 and fine at 60. All I did was to unzip a few inches as the temperature climbed. There was absolutely no moisture (sweat) build up during the ride. I have never owned a jacket before that had such a wide comfort range. I did not wear a base layer as the jacket lining is soft, comfortable, and very capable.
Sizing is typical Giordana, very similar to Castelli. Size up if you are not sure.
Seems to run small
- Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Looks to be quite warm and high quality
I am 5'11" and 185
34 waist and 42 chest
Probably my personal preference in that I am a mountain biker and not a roadie and generally dont like skin tight apparel, and not built like the Schleck brothers, could never wear more than a single base layer beneath and still way too tight for my taste
Will be exchanging for an XL
Tried it on with a baselayer and was so hot inside had to take it off, will probably be very warm jacket
A large was way too tight across the chest and shoulders