Don’t let that Aqua in the title fool you. This isn’t just for wet weather. You could actually call it the Lusso Extreme Winter jacket and just deal with the aqua bit in the technical description. For implying that this is about water repelling, which it does extremely well, is actually selling it a bit short.
The Aqua Extreme is made from our old friend Windtex Storm Shield which regular readers will know that I rate highly. It forms the basis of the Mossa and Mossa.2 and a lighter form of windtex can be found in the very excellent Lusso Corsa Repel jersey. It’s a waterproof softshell membrane with very breathable qualities. And, in this jacket, like the Mossa.2, it’s the heaviest version of all being backed with a polyurethane ‘fleece,’ which gives it it’s winterised wearability. Lusso claim that this has a water column of 10,000mm an hour and breathability of 10,000gr/m2 x 24hr. So, that means this is good for heavy rain and that it shouldn’t boil you in your own sweat either. And those things were true for the Mossa et al so there should be no reason why they shouldn’t be true here either.
What you essentially have is a toasty winter jacket that you can wear out in the nastiest storms and still come back comfortable. There’s always a bit of a quandary in that statement. Personally, I’d not set out in such conditions but if I was caught in them I’d be glad of the protection. And, to that extent, that’s how I see this type of jacket. It’s a winter jacket, good in the cold but adds in that extra protection where the conditions demand it. So, to that extent, it could be named better. On Lusso’s site it appears in both the rain and thermal jacket categories but for me sits happiest in the latter.
It’s a very bright jacket indeed and, currently, orange is the only available colour. It will be available in black soon if that’s the look you want but, of course, orange is the new black. I’m happy with being seen this time of the year and it’s very visible. The waistband is cut in a shaped manner as you can see. The front sits where it should when you’re on the bike and the rear is tail-esque. More of that later. It’s a fairly thin fabric (and I’ll return to why in a bit) so it does have a tendency to fold ever so slightly. But it’s still sufficiently grippy to keep everything in place.
In terms of being waterproof you can see what I mean in the following photos. It holds the water there and, once you get rid of it, there’s little left bound to the fabric. That’s due to the innate properties of the fabric itself but also the DWR coating. It may wear out eventually but the fabric will remain waterproof.
Now, the achilles heel of such fabrics is seam placing and, in this respect, Lusso have got this one right. There’s no forward facing seams on the sleeves so water won’t get in that way. The shoulder seam is placed on top of the shoulder rather than forward facing but, in practice, there seems little difference between that placing and the dhb aeron softshell in terms of penetration, i.e. both seem to work equally well. There are a few more panels present here on the front but because of how you’re angled on the bike there’s minimal risk of ingress in that respect.
The back is equally bright and noticeable. There are 3 main pockets and a fourth zipped pocket for valuables. They’re pretty voluminous overall so there’s plenty of space for carrying around anything that you need. You’ll see that there are two sections underneath the pockets, a continuation of the main shell and a ‘dropped tail.’ The length of that tail is mid bum so if that’s something that’s important to you then great. Again, the fabric of the waist section is a little more prone to movement and requires initial placing but, well, you’ll see why that fabric has been chosen in a moment.
Elsewhere the cuffs are comfy and the neck is lined with fleece. It’s not double lined like the Mossa.2, which is a very similar jacket overall, but still warm and toasty. The zips are first rate and there’s a storm flap behind the zip to help with water ingress in that area.
Fit is, well, normal. I take a large in this at a 39-40 chest. It’s slightly smaller than the equivalent Mossa or Mossa.2 but not a size down. So if you want a more relaxed fit, and this is still a race fit jacket, then size up. If you are between sizes then do so. When it’s on you’ll have something second skin like but with enough space to factor in your relevant base layer.
So, onto the party piece. If you thought this thing was bright in everyday use you wait till you see what it’s like after dark.
Good isn’t it? That reflective fabric forms quite a lot of the jacket and the overall effect in headlights is excellent. That’s why this particular fabric has been chosen for the waistband so despite it not being quite as initially placeable as a Castelli alpha waistband it more than makes up for it with its light display. This is easily one of the best visible jackets out without sacrificing day time looks.
In practice it’s more than lived up to its promise. It’s useable at sub zero temperatures with an appropriate base layer (something like the Helly Hansen) or at milder temps with something a bit thinner such as Lusso’s Compression top. It’s breathable as well even if you’re pushing on a bit. And, of course, it really is waterproof. There’s always going to be some ingress in really heavy rain because it’s going to get through the seams in the end and may come down your neck a bit. And there will always be a bit of dampness inside but that’s the thing that warms you up after all. I still prefer jackets like this in the rain to your usual run of the mill rain shells. The only issue is that you need to choose to wear this for the entire ride rather than being able to stow it away. But that’s what this jacket is about.
The price? £139.99 but a few places have it for as little as £125. And I think that’s an excellent price for a winter jacket that can cover most days. Easily visible in the day, visible from space at night, warm, waterproof and comfortable. What more can you ask for at Christmas? Another top jacket made in the UK by Lusso. Tidy.