Drive less, ride more. This is an ideal I strive for in my life, and as part of that, I look for equipment that supports this desire. This year, as the winter closed in, I started to think about an obvious hole in my closet and in the market in general. If you want a solution to keep you warm, and dry, when riding hard for long hours, there are lots of options. If you need a commuter solution that’s more focused on safety and short trips, there are also a lot of solutions available. There’s another need, though, and it’s this segment that is relatively under served. I scoured the market for a fashion forward jacket that works equally well on the bike and off. What I found was the Chrome Stanton Trench and Women’s Storm Seeker jacket.
I expected that finding something that looks good in pretty much any setting and works well on a bike would be easy, but the reality was a bit different. Ultimately, finding a solution came down to thinking about the heritage of available brands. I remember my first encounter with Chrome Industries. It was probably fifteen years ago, and I was riding the train to work near the Los Angeles airport. There was a guy I started seeing regularly who had the coolest messenger bag I’d ever seen. It had a seatbelt buckle on the strap, and I looked it up to see who made it. Since then, I’ve come into contact with Chrome Industries gear on and off through the years. Usually, it has been an item owned by a collection of super stylish graphic designers and photographers who I once called co-workers.
Not long after I started writing for Cycletechreview.com, I took a look at the Chrome Barrage Cargo Bag and loved it. I still use it regularly, and despite that, it still looks brand new. So, when I couldn’t find much on the market designed to look great off the bike, but also transition smoothly to riding, I thought of Chrome.
Chrome is a company that absolutely oozes cool and has always held cycling as a core part of the brand. The Chrome Stanton Trench fit exactly the need that I had, and when they told me that for the first time in a very long time they had a women’s specific jacket in their lineup, I knew I needed to recruit some help, so I could discuss Women’s Storm Seeker jacket at the same time.
I fully embrace that my needs are not unique. Even if they aren’t the same as everyone out there, it’s likely that if I have a need, so do a lot of other people. In this case, my need is a jacket that I could grab in about any situation. It has to be warm enough to be all I’d need for the weather that a city like Portland, Oregon (or London) was likely to experience. It needed to work as a rain jacket, and it needed to work both riding my bike to a location as well as walking inside.
I have some fantastic jackets that work for long rides in cold weather, I’ve got warm jackets that are bulky and uncomfortable while also being ridiculously warm, and I even have some jackets that more or less fulfill the usage needs but are far from stylish. Meeting this wide range of criteria is where the Chrome Stanton Trench really shines. At its core, the Stanton Trench is a stylist trench coat, but by incorporating smart design like a flexible closure system with snaps at the bottom, a zipper that starts higher up, and a split lower back hem, it feels completely comfortable on the bike. Despite the length, your legs are free to move, and it’s easy to sit on my city bike with fairly aggressive geometry.
One feature I’ve come to really love both on and off the bike is the seam taped chest pocket that’s perfect for a phone. I tend to keep my phone in my pants pocket, but when I’m caught in an unexpected downpour, I can move it to the chest pocket so as not to worry about it getting wet. It’s also a great place to stash it when sitting, off the bike, and I don’t feel like struggling to get my phone into my pants pocket.
The Stanton Trench manages to keep from being bulky while simultaneously being the only jacket I’ve needed for cycling with temperatures as low as about 40 degrees Fahrenheit; as well as every situation I’ve encountered off the bike. If I really needed more warmth, I did test that it works well with a good down layer underneath, but I can’t imagine a situation in my part of the world that would require that. There is even a store away hood that can be used in an unexpected downpour.
Perhaps it’s most unique feature, though, is that its style works equally well on an urban city bike like the Priority Continuum Onyx, a fixie commuter, with jeans and a t-shirt, or a suit and tie. The Chrome Stanton Trench is also the jacket I grabbed recently when I flew from rainy winter weather to a warm vacation destination with a bit of wind. In short, for an msrp of $250 dollars, the Stanton Trench is the most versatile jacket in my closet.
As good as the Stanton Trench is, the women’s Storm Seeker is perhaps the more exciting part of this story. There is a lot of buzz in the industry about getting women to ride and an important part of that is being inclusive in all parts of the industry. It’s not exactly easy to find something designed for a man that fits into the versatile, stylish, category I went looking for, but it’s even more difficult for women. When I saw that Chrome had something available I knew I wanted to pull in my favourite guest reviewer again, so that I had the opportunity to tell Cycle Tech Review readers about the women’s specific Storm Seeker.
I checked out the Storm Seeker in True Blue. Immediately, I loved the colour. It looks great with rain pants, jeans, riding gear, and even my zany, everyday leggings. I really loved that it is a super stylish jacket that meets a lot of technical needs, and I found it able to handle a variety of situations. It did great in the rain. It has waterproof armpit zips for ventilation, so you don’t need to feel miserable and extra sweaty while dealing with riding in the rain.
It was a great jacket to grab during the unpredictable fall weather of Portland, OR. And it kept me warm without needing a lot of layers, and I tend to run cold all the time. It also was a great jacket to wear when transitioning between Portland winter to slightly chilly and windy evenings in Mexico on our holiday trip.
I’m a tall woman at 6’1”, so I can sometimes have trouble with women specific cycling gear, but the XL worked great for me. The length is perfect, and the fit is comfortable. This jacket is specifically designed with extra length in the tail and arms for coverage in the drops, and it works perfectly for me. It also has a variety of ways to adjust the fit. The six panel hood is adjustable at three points, and the bottom hem is adjustable. And finally, I just really like how this jacket material feels. The 2.5 layer 100% poly softshell just feels really good under my fingertips.
The Storm Seeker retails for $250, comes in Black or True Blue, and is available in sizes XS-XL. This is the first women’s specific product from Chrome in many years. They tell us that they have a great product team, 3 out of 4 are women, and that we can look forward to some really great products for women cyclists moving forward. I can’t wait to see what they bring us. The Storm Seeker is a really strong first step.
Chrome Industries Stanton Trench jacket
Chrome Industries Storm Seeker
Compare prices and buy cycling clothing from:
|Chain Reaction||Wiggle||Cayclestore||Evans Cycles|
|ProBikeKit||Rutland Cycling||Hargroves Cycles||Merlin Cycles|
|Ribble Cycles||AW Cycles||Biketart||Cycle Surgery|
|Leisure Lakes Bikes|