The Madison Roam 2.5 jacket may be a little on the heavier side, but not to the point where it ever feels like a burden to slip it on.
By far the cheapest jacket in our best mountain bike jackets test, the Madison Roam 2.5 boasts an impressive level of detail and performance for the price. It uses a 2.5 layer construction like the Fox, Altura and Scott jackets and comes in at a similar weight to the Ranger 2.5 Water.
Sizing is about right; there’s enough room to layer-up underneath but it doesn’t billow out like a balloon when you get moving. Like the other 2.5 layer jackets here, it has a slightly cold, rubbery feel to the liner that isn’t as nice as the 3 layer options next to your skin. In that respect it’s better when paired with a long sleeve base-layer than a short sleeve jersey.
Madison claims the ripstop polyester fabric has a 10,000mm waterproof rating as well as a 10,000g MVTR rating, which is pretty high considering the price. Certainly it trumps the more expensive Fox and Altura garments – in the lab at least. And the waterproofing didn’t miss a beat in the field. Breathability was surprisingly good considering the price too, better than the Fox and Altura, and helped by the pit zips that let you dump heat quickly – even though they’re not as easy to open as the Endura’s. If you crave further mechanical ventilation, the front zip has a two-way function, so you can open the bottom as well as the top.
Madison has not skimped on features either. You get two useful zipped hip pockets, Velcro sealed cuffs and an elasticated hood with drawcord. It’s just about large enough to pull over a helmet, but it does hoik up the shoulders enough to make this a temporary measure only. There’s also a large rear ‘dump’ pocket, but we think this is a step too far as anything important will get soaking wet with sweat. This does also function as a stuff pocket for the jacket, but it doesn’t scrunch down especially small compared to the specifically packable models.
The Madison Roam 2.5 is the cheapest jacket here but it packs a punch that outperforms many of its more expensive rivals. Yes, the styling is pretty dull, but the Roam will brighten up your mood on a filthy winter’s day without drying up your bank balance.