The Specialized Altered-Edition Trail Rain jacket is their alternative mountain bike outerwear offering.
Specialized Altered-Edition Trail Rain jacket is available in both men’s and women’s versions and uses a 2.5 layer construction and Polartec’s acclaimed Neoshell polyester fabric. Polartec Neoshell is different from most waterproof membranes in that it keeps you cool through airflow rather than moisture transmission. It’s the reason why Polartec doesn’t publish a MVTR rate for Neoshell.
While it’s natural to question the Neoshell’s windproofing ability as a result, in use excessive air penetration from the outside was not a problem we encountered in our best mountain bike jackets group test. However, while we’ve used Polartec Neoshell in the past in a three-layer guise and absolutely raved about it’s temperature control, in this instance we were underwhelmed by its performance – the jacket got very wet inside on our 10 minute test climb.
Inside, the half layer is typically rubbery and nowhere near as nice against bare skin as a three-layer jacket, but the Specialized was probably one of the least offensive in that respect. Waterproofing, at 10,000mm is at the lower end of the scale but we didn’t have a problem with ingress during the test. Perhaps not the best jacket for all-day epics in persistent rain then, but good enough for most winter forays.
Fit is on the generous side, which leads to some bunching at the belly when bent over in the saddle, and there’s no drop hem to speak of. The hood fits over a helmet and leaves you with a sort of balaclava effect when you fully zip up the collar – perfect for driving wind and rain. Additional features include a chest pocket big enough for your phone, hook and loop cuff adjusters and a waterproof YKK zip. Specialized says it has an adjustable drawcord, but we couldn’t find one anywhere.
The Specialized Altered-Edition Trail Rain jacket was somewhat underwhelming overall. We expected a lot from the Polartec Neoshell fabric, having been impressed by it in the past, but the breathability was nothing to write home about and the price and weight are so close to the test winning Endura GV500 that we know where our money would go.