The endless quest for the perfect cool weather outerwear has been especially hard this year, with the Fall season lasting way longer than usual and the temperature sticking way above the usual early winter highs. For riders who hit the road every day, it’s a delicate balance of layering to beat the morning chill and staying cool once the midday sun starts to beat down and your workout kicks into gear.
It’s hard to believe that one piece of kit can take care of all these issues and still look and feel great, but the Specialized Deflect Hybrid Jacket is astonishing in its capability and deceptively technical in design. I was skeptical when the first order of the women’s version arrived at the shop -- I had ordered them thinking they would be a heavier winter piece and was surprised at how thin the material was. I doubted the insulation and water-resistance, and didn’t know how useful it would really be even though it has great versatility due to the zip on sleeves, hidden splash guard and back stash pocket.
Well, all I have to say is that it took one demo out in the field for me to be completely and enthusiastically proven wrong about this jacket’s potential. I took it out for about two hours on a windy, damp November afternoon along the river, and was sold by the time I got back to the shop. First of all, the material feels amazing on bare skin, stretches incomparably to fit snugly on the torso, and has plenty of room around the shoulders so that no upper body movement is hindered. There’s none of the plastic bag swish that normally comes with water-resistance, and it’s structured but not stiff.
Zipper garages on the shoulders keep the pulleys hidden from view, and in theory you could dump heat with a simple half-zip under either arm. The best news, though, is that you won’t have to modify anything to dump heat: Mesh on the shoulder panels is paired with a hidden vent, and I was perfectly comfortable in the low 50’s -- the temperature regulation is surprising, given the lightweight fabric. The back pocket has a mesh liner as well, and while word on the street says that it isn’t quite big enough to hold the sleeves, it’s definitely spacious enough to hold gloves and a snack.
Compared to other jackets on the market, the Deflect Hybrid is aesthetically subtle enough to be worn off the bike, while retaining 360-degree reflective piping. For those who want to be seen from afar, it comes in loud shades of yellow, pink and emerald -- but for those who want a more subdued look the indigo, red, navy and black options keep you safe and dry without the neon.
Even though it’s been too cold in recent weeks to wear it as an outer shell, this piece is going to be the one you reach for on the random warm winter days, and it’ll be your go-to once the inevitably wet and humid spring roll around in just a couple months. We have men's and women's sizes in stock so grab one today. If you want a color or size you don’t see in store we can order one for you at no additional cost.