Specialized just released a new jacket into their SWAT (Storage Water Air Tools) apparel line. Dubbed the Deflect, it’s an ultra minimalist shell that’s wind and water resistant. As the cooler weather approaches, I’ve snuck it into my morning routine for a few rides. Since these rides have occurred in California, where unfortunately we still haven’t gotten any rain (!), I can’t speak for its water resistance, though Specialized makes no grand claims in that regard anyway. Rather, it’s meant to be stashed away easily and it is largely aimed at cutting wind and dealing with light moisture.
- Six sizes: XS – XXL
- 2 colors: Black, Oak Green
- $125 USD
- 148 grams – men’s large
- Pertex Nylon with DWR treatment
- Wind and water resistant
- Stowage designed with SWAT downtube in mind
- Abrasion panels at the elbows
- Under helmet hood
The first thing you’ll notice about the Deflect is that it’s got quite a lot of stretch built into the material, particularly for a shell. If you wanted to err on the trim side in terms of fit, you likely wouldn’t have to worry about a restricting feel.
There is just one single left side chest pocket, which the jacket folds up and fits into. It’s got room for the average smart phone and a very easily accessible tab on the zipper.
The sleeves have an abrasion resistant, but stretchy fabric on the outside running about halfway up, leading to an asymmetrical cuff. This material should help with durability when running a bit wide on trail and under minor slide outs.
The hood has a rather trim fit, with no cords or adjustments…
The trim fit is because it’s meant to fit under, rather than over a helmet, and does so without any bunching.
There is a single band of reflective material running around the hem at the waist for safety’s sake should you find yourself pedaling home on roads.
Packed up, the Deflect is slightly larger than a smart phone, and features a tab so that if you were to jam it into a SWAT downtube storage compartment on a Specialized bike, you can still yank it out rather easily.
Coming in at 148 grams in a men’s size large, it’s featherweight.
On the trail
While it’s a too early for a full test, I found the Deflect to be a very nice jacket to start out in on morning rides, or to stash away on evening rides, when anticipating things cooling off. Beginning with fit, I’d categorize it as fitting pretty true to size – if anything the Deflect is a touch on the roomy side considering the rather trim fit that is typical of cycling apparel. The cut is nicely thought out without anything feeling particularly odd or disproportionate on or off the bike, in a hunched position. Like most good cycling shells, at the waist the back drops a bit lower than the front so as to prevent a draft.
I liked that the zipper features larger teeth and moves quite freely. This meant that on trail adjustments to open it part way, fully or even close it back up are pretty effortless, with no snagging, even while riding. Knowing that this is meant to be typically considered as a jacket to stow in anticipation of intermittent weather, and not something that sees an enormous amount of use in inclement weather, it was nice to see that Specialized still went to the effort to work in some abrasion resistant paneling at the sleeves. The material it’s made from felt as soft, comfortable and flexible as the rest of the jacket, which is a bonus.
While it is a bit early to speak on long term durability and water resistance, so far I’ve found the fit, comfort, functionality and minimalism of the Deflect jacket to be quite appealing. For the few rides I’ve had so far, it has done a nice job of cutting the wind without feeling like it inhibits in any way. The fact that it can be packed up easily and tucked away into a standard pocket or a SWAT downtube is a bonus for sure. We’ll follow up after we’ve spent enough time riding in the coming winter months in order to make our long term assessment, but for now – so far, so good. Stay tuned…