Review: Madison Flux Waterproof Storm Jacket
July 28th, 2013
The great British summer is finally upon us, and how fitting it is that a light drizzle fills the air as I peak out of my window on this beautiful mid-June day (this was written before the heat-wave). But hey, we know how to handle such weather; we are British and fear nothing right? Thankfully, there is a vast swathe of quality product to keep us riding when the weather turns nasty, including Madison’s latest offering, the Flux Waterproof Storm Jacket…
Words & Photos: Nathan Carvell
Madison, that great behemoth of a company, has been part of our sport since the dawn of time, dealing with the best of brands and the highest calibre of racer and rider alike. As part of their market battle they are managing and producing their own brands these days, including Saracen, Genesis and similarly, products bearing their own name too.
Now, technical clothing is not the first thing you think of when some says Madison to you, but it does conjure up thoughts of big brands, heritage and trust. These things can be just as important as just looking cool. But fear not, although the branding might not appeal to the Santa Cruz riding, all the gear, no idea type, it does appeal to those that need some clothing to do a job and do it well…
Coming in at the top of Madison’s clothing line, lets give you some facts on the Flux. Constructed from a stretch fabric that claims 20,000mm of breathability and 10,000mm of waterproofing with more pockets than you can shake a bunch of car keys at – a count of 6 in total including one internal. All boasting waterproof zips and fully taped seams and there is no way water is getting in. The main zipper, also fully waterproof, runs the full height of the jacket, topped off with a soft fleecy collar lining for comfort.
Other neat features include two front facing waterproof vents to help regulate your temperature and stretch panels on the hips and cuffs to ensure a great fit. A drawstring around the hem allows adjustment around the waist and a single-hand friendly cuff really means you can seal yourself in when the weather gets gnarly.
Out on the Trail
I’ve had the pleasure of wearing this jacket in the worst of our ‘summer conditions’ and yet have had no leaks or discomfort. The stretch material isn’t like your normal shell-like material, but it is a softer feeling material that does stretch enough to allow you to move freely and not notice it. Naturally being fully waterproof it isn’t as breathable as it claims, but it is breathable enough – a compromise you sometimes have to make. Opening the front facing vents does help keep things a little cooler though, although you do run the risk of catching some splash in them.
The technical details of the jacket all add up, being able to tighten the hem and cuffs whilst keeping the comfort all makes for an enjoyable time in the Flux. The small we tested was a perfect fit, dare I say, one of the finest fitting jackets of this nature. Whilst the fit was good, the cut however would benefit from one minor improvement… Whilst off the bike and wearing the Flux, the fit feels fine, but in the riding position it could benefit from a slightly longer back just to provide a touch more cover towards the saddle. Although it’s not a major one and not massively noticeable, it would just clinch things for me, especially as I’ve been using the Flux on regular commutes to work.
The bounty of pockets on offer is a godsend when on a long trial ride… You can quite literally take the kitchen sink with you and it won’t even get wet! The best pocket by far though has to be the internal gadget pocket. Fully waterproof and with a well-sealed cable route for earphones, which can be handy if you’re riding solo, or if you need your phone for a mid-ride Instagram moment. The external pockets all offer good room and the back one is a monster. The amount of pockets do not make up for the lack of a hood, even a light one that rolled up into the collar would have been nice – it’s a jacket made for wet weather after all?
The styling of the jacket may not be to everyone’s taste, understated, yet purposeful looking with a subtle splash of branding. We haven’t been afraid to wear this off the bike either as after all, it does serve very well as a general waterproof jacket. The quality of manufacturing is also pretty good with no loose threads, broken zips or odd sizing – only the rubber off the cuff enclosures parted from the Velcro after a wash… A bit of superglue soon sorted that out. (This is something we have seen across multiple brands with this design).
All in all, the Flux is a great jacket and with one subtle change to make it 100% awesome, it could be one hell of an outstanding jacket. Priced at £119.99, it’s pitched about right amongst similar jackets on the market and perhaps priced rather well if you’re not a brand whore. I think asking anymore would be way off the mark given that the brand doesn’t quite carry the weight of the competition just yet. but like all things, it’s early days and thankfully quality product like the Flux can do the talking for you. Would I buy it? Looking at the features, the fit and the fact it has a limited lifetime warranty, yes I would, but I would also be sure to check out what else is out there and try it on your bike, just to be sure.
Hit the logo below to see Madison’s apparel range. Happy trails – Nathan