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www.singletracks.com

Review: The Madison Flux is a Packable Mountain Bike Rain Jacket

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Mountain bike apparel has come a long way since the days of just making stuff look like anything other than roadie clothes. Now, after a period of mostly baggy and oversized gear flapping in the wind like a drag-race brake, I am stoked to find ride clothes that fit.

The Flux packable rain jacket from Madison Clothing is a prime example of a form-fitting coat that leaves enough room to layer underneath, but not so much that it waves in the wind and gets caught on things. The weight, breathability, and elasticity make this jacket feel like you are wearing a second jersey, rather than a waterproof shell. I wear a size small in nearly any jacket, and this small Flux fits true me to size.

Rolled tightly, the jacket takes up about a third of my hip pack.

If I had to choose one favorite feature of this jacket, it would handily be its packability. With very few technical adjustments or pocket materials to add bulk, the jacket rolls neatly into a hip bag or even a large pocket. During the coming summer months, when precipitation is but a distant memory, I will stuff the Flux in my pack on long alpine trips. Even in August, it can get chilly in the Alps, and this jacket will be the perfect fix.

The main material used in the jacket is something called P4DRY.

Already a world-renowned invention, P4DRY™ is a winner of multiple prestigious awards from 2013 Outdoor Trade Fair in Germany, to 2014 Taiwan Excellence Award in Taiwan. Using repurposed coffee grounds making a print layer that has four principal functions: quick-drying touch, odor control, reduces condensation rate, and a tremendously sustainable product.

Sustainably-produced fabric that makes me less smelly? I’m in.

This flap keeps the hood rolled up when not in use.

Flux Specs

  • Lightweight and waterproof softshell
  • 4-way stretch, fully seam-sealed fabric with 20,000mm waterproof and 30,000gms breathability
  • Adjustable hood fits under or over a helmet and can be folded away
  • Neat laser cut underarm vent holes allow a flow of cool air without any bulk
  • Two water-resistant chest pockets
  • Micro hem and hood draw cords for adjustment
  • Low bulk cuff bindings for a snug fit over gloves
  • Silicone print over the shoulders keeps your pack in place
  • Sizing: XS-XXL
  • Four color options
  • £99 (€114, $130) (available on Amazon.com)

On the trail, and in the rain

This jacket and I have been on some rides that were a bit too cold, and a few that were just right. If you are riding in the Flux jacket on a rainy day in temperatures below 12°C (54°F), or a dry day below 8°C (47°F) you will want to keep moving. It’s a thin waterproof shell that will require an extra layer or two underneath in the winter months.

The two chest pockets double as ventilation and are about the size of a half PB&J sandwich. The taped zipper seals work well, and so far no water has soaked through. Together with the underarm vent holes and breathable fabric, the Flux manages perspiration and body heat nicely.

Laser cut underarm vent holes.

Rated at 20,000mm waterproof, I have managed to stay dry during a couple of rather gross days in this jacket. Either through the magic of the recycled coffee bean fabric or the well-sealed seams keeping the water out, the folks at Madison Clothing in the UK seem to know a thing or two about rain gear.

There is an adjustment cord at the bottom hem to close off your waist to the elements, and one to cinch the hood over or under your helmet. I am not into riding with a hood on, so I made use of the hood roll strap to keep it out of the way on most rides.

This is by far the most packable rain jacket I have worn to date. It is a fantastic rain shell and fits just loose enough to layer underneath. If I were to change anything about the Flux I would shift the overall cut around to leave less material over the stomach area, as it bulges a bit while riding. Fortunately, this bulge doesn’t affect the ride or the performance of the jacket.

We would like to thank Madison Clothing for providing the Flux jacket for review.