With winter hanging on for dear life all around the country, it’s important have the right jacket for both the deepest cold and the transitional temperature days. Over the past season, Specialized has completely revamped their line of apparel, bringing a host of new features and innovative ideas to their outerwear.
The top of the line Element 2.0 jacket is the perfect example of the progress they’ve made. When I first picked it up, it seemed impossible that the Element 2.0 was meant to be the warmest jacket the company offered. It felt incredible lightweight, the kind normally associated with cool, but not deep cold protection. The winter of 2014 provided a fantastic testing ground and it has consistently delivered, when layered appropriately, into temperatures deep into the teens. Amazingly, with a lighter base layer, the jacket performs in milder temperatures where most cold weather jackets would act as an oven. Windstopper fabric and decent water resistance make this jacket a solid choice across a wide variety of climates.
Along with real world performance, the new Element 2.0 jacket boast a host of new common sense features that set it apart from the competition. Elongated sleeve cuffs seem like a no brainer that should have been on every cold weather jacket thus far. How often have your sleeves not been perfectly aligned with your gloves, only to leave a small patch of skin on your wrist exposed to the elements? Additional details like an offset zipper prevents cold air from seeping through layers of zippers and venting options throughout help to regulate temperatures. Pocket configuration has also gotten a lot more intuitive, topped off with a cell phone pocket on the chest.
All in all, the new features and updates to the Specialized Element 2.0 jacket have brought it into a class apart and definitely exceed expectations of what a bike company can do when it comes to apparel. Hopefully, this year provides less and less opportunity to test the bounds of the garment, but the longer this winter hangs around, the more it will prove its worth.