RaceFace Emotional Support Layers NSMB AndrewM (22).JPG
REVIEW

Rivals & Collaborators: The Race Face Conspiracy Jersey v. Stash Jacket

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Sep 20, 2021
Reading time

Emotional Support Jackets

I've tried every combination of packing for rides. Different kits for long rides and short rides, bike-based tools and a little fanny pack for all rides, just taking a pack anytime I leave the house to pedal, small frame bags etc. At times I carry a bunch of 'sometimes tools' and at times I only carry tools I'm likely to need. Extra gloves? Yes. Extra socks? Maybe.

But one constant in my kit for the last couple of years, even for the shortest warm summer rides, is an emotional support jacket. I've continued to lend my ESJ out to less prepared riders and it's always nice to have for that post-ride coffee or beer, enjoyed outside in any weather. I generally find myself riding in my weatherproof vest over a merino layer is perfect for most situations where I'm moving, and when I guess wrong the ESJ becomes my mid-layer. When I'm going slower and the rain gets colder I'll still reach for a real rain shell but it has been a great surprise how comfortable I've been for any weather conditions on the fairer side of a deluge.

For the past many months I've been going back and forth between two very different ESJ options. Both are from Race Face. One is a traditional emotional support jacket, a very light, 143-gram, 165 USD just-in-case shell. The other is a mega-stretchy, 210-gram, 100 USD, weather-resistant cycling jersey. An emotional support jersey if you will.

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The Race Face Stash is a very light shell that's also proven surprisingly durable both in my pack and hitting the deck. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

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The stretchy Race Face Conspiracy jersey is billed as a product for "summer rain days" with its DWR coating. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

I've also done a number of shorter, non-stop solo rides, warmer rainy rides, and 'it-may-rain' rides wearing the Conspiracy jersey and supporting it with the Stash jacket in my pack. More than once I've misjudged how much some heavy precipitation cools everything down and ended up wearing both of them.

When I first set out to put together this review, I was thinking of these as competing pieces but as not that I have more miles into them I've been begun seeing them as a system. Mix in a simple Conspiracy jacket for those proper deluge days, and nights, and my outerwear options are dialed year-round. Already owning an ESJ that I really like, and a Conspiracy jacket, I could still see myself purchasing a Conspiracy jersey.

As standalone pieces, or as a system, here are some Race Face outer layers to consider as we enter the fall. The best part of the local riding season.

RaceFace Emotional Support Layers NSMB AndrewM (23).JPG

When the sun goes into hiding, the wind picks up, or some unexpected precipitation follows me from North Vancouver, the pea-green Stash jacket comes out.

The Stash Jacket

The cut is absolutely key in a garment with limited stretch and the Stash is a winner in that regard. The large is slightly big for me, but a medium would be too tight for executing body English on the trail. It layers well over whatever I'm wearing, which for me is key for a sometimes jacket. I've even pulled it on over a soaking wet combination of a vest and hoody just to act as a windbreaker on my road ride home.

The hood fits over my helmets, which is a must for me in an ESJ. In a pinch, there's nothing that gets me through a colder, wetter, more bitter bicycle experience like pulling a hood up. The fit is a bit tighter than I'd choose, considering the lack of stretch, but thanks to the elastic opening, the hood also stays in place very well, even riding into the wind.

The cuffs of the arms are elasticized as well, which I'll always take over my enemy; Velcro. This creates a seal to trap some body heat when I need it, which is most anytime the Stash is coming out of my pack.

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The frame-attaching Gripper strap seemed like a superfluous feature to me until I started noticing plenty of riders with a lightweight shell attached to their bikes one way or another.

As 143-grams the Stash is 34-grams heavier than my Pearl Izumi Summit Shell, which is my measuring stick for ESJs. The difference comes down to an extra zipper, for the chest pocket, and the Gripper strap that lives in said pocket and is meant to attach the Stash jacket to my bike frame. Actually, for the extra weight, the Stash material feels more robust as well though I haven't damaged either jacket to date.

The Stash stuffs easily into its own chest pocket but I don't love doing up said pocket between the diminutive zipper and fairly inflexible material. So, I leave the zipper open and use the Gripper strap to keep everything bundled tight together and only close the chest pocket to contain the strap when I'm wearing the jacket.

I can't picture myself ever using the Gripper strap to attach the jacket to my bike and initially was going to suggest that it's a superfluous feature that Race Face could ditch, along with the chest pocket, to cut some weight and complexity. However, since I first had that though I've counted dozens of riders on the trail with lightweight shells attached to their bikes one way or another, so I had to walk back that thinking. The fact that the Gripper is a component of the Stash means one less thing to think about when packing for a ride.

Pearl Izumi Summit Shell NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

One feature I'd change on the Stash is to ditch the zippered chest pocket in favour of an inside stuff pocket that could also house the Gripper. This is cribbed straight from the Summit Shell.

Pearl Izumi Summit Shell NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

I actually have a few jerseys, including the Conspiracy, that I'd love to have an internal stuff pocket as well. It's much easier to pack a spare when it folds into a self contained pocket.

If I could change one small thing the jacket would be a pullover rather than a full zip. I mentioned it to a couple of regular riding friends on the emotional support jacket program and they fully disagreed for a couple of reasons including ease of installation and removal and also heat management and maybe that's how the majority of folks feel? Personally, I use it like a 1/3 zip pullover anyways so maybe the way it reflects the most universally saleable option.

The Stash jacket is also available in black, but I think the pea-green is a solid winner, and I could see Race Face making more colours available in the future. Value, as with any ESJ, is a tricky thing to calculate especially considering that this is a true sometimes layer. With a price tag of 165 USD | 215 CAD if it goes unused in a pack or on a frame, the peace of mind alone may not make for a great investment. But, if it saves your ass, or even stops your friends' whining when you loan it out, I think it will pay for itself tout de suite.

Most folks I know who ride with some sort of ESJ tell stories about it coming into play but can't remember what they paid for it, so I think that backs up the product category pretty well.

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Shout out to these five-year-old Stage shorts as well. After a minor repair during my review, they've been a rock-solid part of my spring/summer kit.

The Conspiracy Jersey

The Conspiracy jersey was not love at first feel. It's a bit, slippery and cold to the touch. It's not like any jersey I've worn or like any hardshell jacket either. If I had to come up with a comparison I'd say it's akin to a softshell material. A much thinner Giro Chrono maybe. It's not something I would wear right against my skin. I generally wear it over a short-sleeved, very thin, merino wool baselayer and that's perfect.

At first, I found the Conspiracy a bit confusing. It has the same C6 DWR coating as the Stash jacket but for whatever reason, it is remarkably more weather resistant while not being a rain shell by any means. Race Face bills it as a summer rain layer, "the perfect companion for rides on warmer days that have light rain in the forecast." On those days I just wear a merino shirt and have the Stash in my pack in case of a mechanical popping up or if I grab a coffee après.

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Free stretchy hugs for everybody! The Conspiracy Jersey is a really nice piece of kit to wear, even when the temperatures are cool-ish and it's not raining. On my back or in my pack it's meant a lot of rides not packing a weatherproof shell.

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I always wear a thin merino t-shirt underneath and occasionally, in a downpour, I run a weatherproof vest over top. The jersey + vest combo is going to get a lot of play on more heinous days this winter.

It's fantastic for an 60 to 90 minutes of of non-stop riding on days when a true rain-shell is too hot for us diesel engines who'd prefer not to ride around in sopping wet clothing. Even when the Conspiracy is fully wetted out it does an okay job of blocking the wind and it never gets super heavy.

The jersey also looks great, or at least so I've been told. I'm certain no matter how many colours Race Face offered, black would be the number one seller, but I'd choose something brighter if the option existed. The pea-green of the Stash or maybe dijon-yellow.

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The rubber overlay patches on my Conspiracy jacket have taken enough of a beating with zero torn elbows that I've come around to the feature. Happy to see it on the Conspiracy jersey.

If I was the boss, I'd only make one change to the 100 USD | 130 CAD Conspiracy jersey and that would be to add a hood. Or maybe Race Face could just add a hoody version? Either way, a hood that fits over my helmet would really take this piece to the next level for me. Also, I'd add a little internal stuff pouch to make the Conspiracy self-contained for improved packability.

The Stashpiracy Jersket

There was many a day wearing the Conspiracy jersey or Stash jacket that I would daydream about my personal perfect combination of the two. A real hodge-podge 'The Homer' level effort to such a point that when you clicked the link on Race Face's website La Cucaracha would play. First off, to hell with zippers and velcro.

I'd take the wonderfully stretchy Conspiracy Jersey and add an inside stuff pocket so the thing would be self-contained in my pack. Then I'd stitch on the lightweight hood from the Stash jacket. And while I was hybridizing anyways, Stash sleeves or panels of the material from the Stash jacket for the areas of the sleeves and torso that require less material could certainly cut some weight.

Then I started thinking about my preference for weatherproof vests, and even my weatherproof vest over the Conspiracy jersey as a substitute for a proper rain jacket, and I think I may be on to something with a three-way hybrid. Take the weatherproof shoulders, chest, and back of my Conspiracy jacket including the gilled armpits, then add the super-stretchy weather-resistant arms and torso of the Conspiracy jersey, sans zippers. Then tag on the super-light hood from the Stash jacket and add a stuff pocket.

Yes, I would probably just end up cutting the arms off and making a Stashpiracy vest instead. But I still think I'm on to something.

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The Stash is more robust, and a few grams heavier, than other ESJs I've used. I still wouldn't think of it as a daily driver though. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

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The Conspiracy jersey has rubber overlay patches on the elbows like the Conspiracy jacket and still looks fresh after many trips through the wash. Photo: Mr. Lungtastic

Crazy ideas aside, if you don't already have an emotional support jacket in your backpack, fanny pack, or strapped to your frame, the Stash is a great option. There are others as well and most of these super-light shells have similar features so I'd recommend finding the one that fits in a colour you can live with for a long time. In my experience these sometimes jackets have a lot of staying power. I've talked to a few people who have the Stash - the Grabber makes it pretty obvious when it's frame-mounted - and the reasons for the choice were fit and availability.

The Conspiracy jersey is a very interesting piece. I think it's a hood and a stuff pocket away from being a true ESJ, and it won't layer on top of whatever else I'm wearing like the Stash, but on rides where I'm wearing a simple jersey, it is always my choice for the extra layer. I haven't talked to any other folks who have tried the Conspiracy jersey, so I'm prepared to be told otherwise, but here on the relatively mild 'Wet Coast' I think it's a piece that anyone going out for a continuous-rip will love.

For more information on the 165 USD | 215 CAD Race Face Stash Jacket.

For more information on the 100 USD | 130 CAD Race Face Conspiracy Jersey

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Comments

olaa
+2 Andrew Major tj7mesh
olaa  - Sept. 20, 2021, 12:08 a.m.

In the weather resistant jersey category, I absolutely love my 7mesh Compound jersey. Surprisingly weather resistant panels in the right places, and light and quickdrying elsewhere. I use it for biking, hiking and skitouring! 

Adding a lightweight hood to that jersey would be pretty interesting...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 12:53 a.m.

The Compound Shirt is a great-looking piece, but I didn't realize it was weather resistant. 

I think there are a lot of mountain biking tops that would be made a bit better by helmet-sized hoods.

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andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 20, 2021, 12:58 p.m.

It’s not a wet weather garment but I do love mine. It cuts the wind in the right places. No DWR that I know of.

Reply

tj7mesh
+3 Andrew Major olaa Andy Eunson
tj7mesh  - Sept. 20, 2021, 4:15 p.m.

Thanks for the shout out! The Compound upper fabric is tightly woven which helps with water resistance, and it does have a DWR treatment, but the primary purpose of those panels is durability and blocking wind. It won't keep you dry when things get messy. If you want to further explore the strange world between shirt and jacket, maybe check out our Cypress Jacket & Vest, or Synergy Jersey (more road-focused). They have a full membrane laminate on the front, but not the rear, so they take the edge off getting damp/wet while being more supple and breathable than a fully waterproof jacket.

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Lornholio
+1 Andrew Major
Lornholio  - Sept. 20, 2021, 2:22 a.m.

Look up Morvelo’s overland shirt if you’re OK with the flannel shirt look. It’s a really thin stretch softshell that looks like a shirt. Long slim cut (very long arms) and great pockets at the kidneys. Love mine. I was waiting to see if they brought out some other colours and would have picked up another for sure (plain black or dark grey would be a winner) but it’s not on their website any more so might be discontinued.

Weatherproofing is good but breathability isn’t great - I guess you can’t have both. If you try to force your breath through the fabric you can get little bit through. Could you say how the RF Conspiracy compares in the same test?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 7:13 a.m.

I run hot and I’d say RaceFace has certainly leaned towards breathability over weatherproofing. I run too hot to use it as a “Summer rain jersey” (I just get wet in a short sleeve jersey in summer) but much less sweat inducing than a rain shell.

I really don’t have a product to compare it to. Other then the Giro Chrono soft shell jacket I linked to, which is beautifully stretchy but certainly more water proof / less breathable.

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Andrew Major gubbinalia
fartymarty  - Sept. 20, 2021, 3:36 a.m.

Andrew, I spy some skinny tyres....  do tell (or tell me to be patient and wait).   m

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 gubbinalia
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 7:09 a.m.

It’s a rare and magical combination of tires I like that were also available to purchase. 

A 2.4” DHR2 in MaxxTerra and a 2.3” Purgatory both with CushCore Trail (aka XC) inserts. 

Still have the 2.8” Vigilante High Grip set up for the front running my rigid fork. It also clears the lowered Durolux for greasy days but won’t clear the fork I’m currently reviewing.

Reply

gubbinalia
+1 Andrew Major
gubbinalia  - Sept. 20, 2021, 7:27 a.m.

"Rare and magical" indeed! 

Curious the choice of MaxxTerra over MaxxGrip (assuming the latter was available?) Harder wearing compound for the dry season? I find MaxxTerra a little lacking relative to WTB High Grip or Schwalbe Soft.

Guessing there will be an article re: XM421 rims in the near future (I think you alluded to the narrower rim selection a few comments-sections ago), but if you have preliminary thoughts on that rim choice I'd love to hear your take. My Velocity Blunt SS rims aren't quite up to snuff any more (seem to go out of true every third ride, even w/inserts F+R) and I'm contemplating the 421's as a replacement. Wishing DT had a 27-28iD rim on offer, though...

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AndrewMajor
+1 gubbinalia
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 9:11 a.m.

I have a 2.8” Vigilante High Grip on an i40 with a CushCore Plus insert for when I need to crawl down slimy roots. 

The idea of this wheelset was to make all the riding I do to the trails, and up the trails, more pleasant without giving up too much DH capability. I like the MaxxTerra for this. Notably faster rolling v. the amount of grip that’s actually lost. Plus I run great brakes so modulating the firmer-rubber DHR2 isn’t too bad.

I know it’s weird with all the XC Pro riders switch to 2.4” rubber on i30 rims but I like the slightly rounder profile of the 2.4” rubber on an i25 rim. Going a bit narrower also offers a bit more rim protection and helps maximize the strength v. weight in an aluminum hoop. The CushCore XC inserts take up some volume and eliminate any negative tire rollover I might get otherwise. No review on the XM 421 pending, they’re just a good rim I could get my hands on in the right width - not a product that was provided for review. 

Wouldn’t necessarily be a fair review anyways. One of my goals for 2021/22 is to get my wheel building skills up, so I built these rather than having one of my epicly-experienced friends do it. So far so good, but not a fair comparison to other rim-only reviews I’m done.

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kos
+1 Andrew Major
Kos  - Sept. 20, 2021, 6:22 a.m.

I would kill for a conspiracy jersey with the classic "roadie" jersey triple pocket backside.

Any ideas from the NSMB commentariat?!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 7:06 a.m.

The material is too stretchy for pockets I’d find usable. Like my three-pocket Ibex wool jersey, even a road tube is heavy enough to be annoying.

I guess you could try making the pockets less stretchy material and then you’d only be dealing with the flex of the back?

The material would certainly lend itself well to a tighter road fit.

Reply

ehfour
+1 Andrew Major
ehfour  - Sept. 20, 2021, 7:53 a.m.

Im a sucker for good technical riding gear, esp for our wet weather rides.  Thanks for the reviews

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 9:12 a.m.

Cheers!

Reply

DaveSmith
+1 Andrew Major
Dave Smith  - Sept. 20, 2021, 8:31 a.m.

Look at you, hanging that outside elbow like a pro - nice to see all my yelling took root.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Dave Smith
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 8:58 a.m.

Oh, for sure! Whenever the camera’s out I sing my little Dave-Ditty:

“Head and shoulders, knees and elbows - KNEES and elbows - KNEES and elbows | Head and shoulders, knees and elbows | do it one more time and GO!”

Reply

TomM
+1 Andrew Major
TomM  - Sept. 20, 2021, 8:58 a.m.

What is your "weatherproof vest"?  I'm always trying to figure out the best combination for winter riding.  My old windbreaker vest may be due for an update.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 9:14 a.m.

Until a month or so back it was an old Gore Active jacket that never fit me awesome which I had the sleeves removed from. The zipper finally died and it was finally past the point of being worthy of a repair.

I have another jacket that I damaged riding (big cut at the bicep) that I was going to patch and now it’s up on the chopping block. Gore Active material again (but not Gore brand).

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Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - Sept. 20, 2021, 11:30 a.m.

Andrew that gnar shot on the wet rocks! Noice! 

Thank you for reviewing affordable gear!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 11:41 a.m.

Cheers Greg!

One of my ongoing projects is to write something about the bike in that photo. The BB was terrifyingly low (except when it was terrifically fun!).

Short forked (120mm), Anglesetted (-1.5*), short shocked, mulleted, used SB130. Static BB height was lower than my hardtail!

Reply

Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - Sept. 21, 2021, 10:22 a.m.

Ultimate climbing dual suspension?  I'm assuming that's a Durolux up front . Are you swapping carts or is it the older coil negative version?  

Suspension werx rebuilt mine. The coil negative version and did a mod. Something about a hole drilled In air shaft. All I know is now I don't get suck down. The fork always sits at a glorious 180 mm of travel.  

Bit off topic . If your wondering if you need a new fork because of performance issuses. Try sending your fork into suspension werx . My fork now performs much better than it did out if the box. 

Treats from Thomas Has  work wonders for showing appreciation.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 21, 2021, 10:21 p.m.

Nah, I was channeling my love for old 4X FS bikes like the Blur 4x, Meta 4x, Tazer, Yeti 4x, etc but with the modern additions of a truly slack HTA and a mullet setup.

It was a fun (used) bike project!

SuspensionWerx does the 100hr service on my Durolux and my wife’s Auron. Certainly I do meet a lot of riders every year asking about damper or air system or fork upgrades who really just need a service.

I’ve been loving my Durolux EQ dropped to 120mm, although it’s currently getting some down time as I’m reviewing an R7. It was just an air shaft swap with the unit out of a Axon XC race fork. Not as easy as when I lowered my coil-neg fork but still easy enough.

Reply

Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - Sept. 22, 2021, 6:53 a.m.

Has anyone got thiere hands on the 38 mm beast 20mm axle (option) Durolux. ? 

Andrew I remember lusting over the Intense Slope style . I think Norco made a dual suspension 4 x bike . A 26/ 27.5 mullet? . Yeah . I'm old!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 22, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

To the best of my knowledge, no. But honestly I’m not thinking my Durolux needs to be even 1% stiffer in any direction so I haven’t been following 38 development.

I’ve been thinking about shorter travel bikes a lot lately (hence the lowered Durolux) which is nice because I don’t feel any draw to write about 240mm brake rotors or 42mm stanchion single crown forks with the new 1-1/8”-to-1.8” steerers.

AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 22, 2021, 7:59 a.m.

I think the Norco was called the XXXX?

Saw Hoots Jay ride the lower Boogey Man rock rolls on one with Small Block 8 tires on a greasy day. Mind blown.

GiveitsomeWelly
+1 Andrew Major
Karl Fitzpatrick  - Sept. 20, 2021, 11:35 a.m.

I had an Endura packable jacket that lived in the bottle pocket of Dakine 2L bum bag. Not waterproof and no hood or pockets but as an ESJ, it was awesome. Windproof enough to take the sting out of a stiff northerly and I kept the DWR in good nick for just in casies. 

It gave up on me a couple of months ago after a 8 years of faithful service (I didn't buy even it, it was a shot prize at race I entered!) and despite just coming out of winter down this way and Spring still being pretty damn unpredictable, replacement ESJ options are thin on the ground. 

I opted for a Giro Stow. Windproof again with a good DWR coating. Three pockets, none of which are seen very secure (I think they're more for hands than stuff), but the fit is really nice while also being able to fit in the Endura jacket's old bag (about the size and shape of a beer can) 

I also run hot so the full zip is a must have. I've only had a chance to wear it once so far but it definitely feels more robust than the endura.

ESJs FTW. Nice review, Andrew.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 2:41 p.m.

Thanks!

Giro has a great soft goods line. When their stuff first came out the fit and appearance were excellent but the durability was awful. The Chrono soft shell I have is excellent and I’ve had good results from other products more recently too. 

ESJs are definitely thin on the ground. I think a lot of folks don’t get them and a lot of shops don’t like making time to explain them. Fair enough, but I’ve ridden with a lot of folks over the years who would have had a more pleasant time of it with an extra 100-200 gram sometimes shell in their pack.

Good call on using the bottle pocket.

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 tj7mesh
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 20, 2021, 1:06 p.m.

I have a Castelli Gabba long sleeve jersey which a slightly heavy soft shell. Works really well in cool damp temps. Highly weather resistant. It’s a road jersey though so many people won’t care for the “Shatnered” in look. I ave another road oriented jacket from 7mesh that’s fits the bill as an ESJ. Gore wind wear but with a really good DWR. it’s good for quite a while in shower type conditions. Packs up small. If it’s cool with no rain in site I’ll use another 7Mesh jacket that is just a wind shell. 

What I appreciate about companies like 7Mesh and Castelli is that their clothing fits better in a riding position than standing bolt upright. Many manufacturers don’t get that.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 2:46 p.m.

Does the Gabba have a full zip? Sounds a lot like my Giro Chrono Soft Shell. The Giro is also from the road lineup so the fit is a big snug v. my usual preference. 

That’s a great point about fit that also applies to the Conspiracy jersey. It fits well in any event but in the saddle the cut makes another level of sense.

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andy-eunson
+3 Andrew Major khai Timer
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 20, 2021, 5:31 p.m.

Yeah. Full zip, tail flap, three pockets with drain holes and a couple zip vents at the chest. When they first came out half the pro peloton bought their own and blacked out the logos with a sharpie . They only came in black at first. As a joke Castelli sold a “Pro” version of the jersey. Same black one but it came in a box with a black sharpie included.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 21, 2021, 2:12 p.m.

That's cheeky, so I love it. I don't think Castelli makes anything in my size though...

Reply

blangshaw
0
Burgess Langshaw Power  - Sept. 20, 2021, 3:42 p.m.

How much rain has the Conspiracy been exposed to? I live in Alberta (aka no-rain land) and have the RaceFace Nano jacket - it is a supreme disappointment in that it is completely useless in even the slightest rain, and not worth much of anything as wind protection. Between that and really disappointing quality of other raceface clothing in recent years I had given up on them as a brand. Curious to know if others have had similar issues?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 20, 2021, 4:12 p.m.

Aside from really premium small-batch gear I've ridden from Mission and Kitsbow I can't think of a brand that I've never had a manufacturing issue with. In general, I've had good results from Race Face (my Conspiracy jacket for example looks like it's been through a blender and still works great). Actually, the shorts I referenced in a photo in the body of this piece failed during my test (single-stitch crotch seam) and after a $5 fix at the local garment repair place they've been going strong for some five years or more.

I know Race Face has had some quality misses - the first run of the Agent shorts for example - but in general, I've kicked a lot of their gear around with good results. 

The Nano is not a rain jacket by any stretch of the imagination. I still think it's a useful piece of kit and, actually, my brother CTK has had years of ESJ use out of his. The Stash is slightly better in mist but also wets out fast. The Stash is better in the wind, and at trapping body heat, but in both cases, and as with all ESJs, packability is the key feature. 

I've ridden the Conspiracy jersey in the rain plenty. I do live in North Raincouver. I'd like to think I did an okay job of explaining that it's certainly not a true weatherproof rain shell in the spirit of the Conspiracy jacket? As an easily packable ESJ layer and as outerwear for a rip where I'm constantly moving - in damp or rainy conditions, it's great but, like the super-light shells, it's not pretending to be a rain jacket.

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Briain
+1 Andrew Major
Briain  - Sept. 20, 2021, 6:43 p.m.

Great review. I've been looking for winter riding jerseys a little bit waterproof but definitely windproof. I just find I cook in jackets and I hate to be stop, starting cause your too warm or cold. I'd love something that's windproof on the front and waterproof on the back. Not sure about a hood I switch helmets a lot and in the depths of winter and I tend to have a helmet light because it stays dark in the forest

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 21, 2021, 2:11 p.m.

I do a lot of night riding and agree the hood is unuseful in those situations, except sometimes when I pop my light off my lid and just run the bar light for my road ride home - in which cases it's sometimes an experience saver after a wet ride.

I've just always found a hood never bothers me when not in use, but whenever I have call to use one it's a little comfort that always makes the experience better.

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khai
+1 Andrew Major
khai  - Sept. 21, 2021, 9:06 p.m.

You almost won me over to the ESJ bandwagon when 7mesh had the Copilot on sale earlier this year but given that my Skypilot more or less permanently lives in my pack anyway - unless we're in the dead of Summer and the chance of rain is Scottsdale, I figured it was dumb to have two really nice jackets serving essentially the same purpose.  I have been thinking of digging out a vest though - I used to own a couple, and possibly one might even still fit...

Loved this reference, btw: 'The Homer' level effort to such a point that when you clicked the link on Race Face's website La Cucaracha would play.

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AndrewMajor
+1 khai
Andrew Major  - Sept. 21, 2021, 10:24 p.m.

My favourite riding vests have all been weather proof jackets with the sleeves hacked off. Highly recommended. 

Cheers!

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khai
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khai  - Sept. 22, 2021, 8:19 a.m.

I'm not sure that I've got a jacket I'm willing to hack up, but that's a good tip.  One bonus feature of doing that is you COULD get a hooded vest that way!  Also, a sweet bonus feature of a hood is that you can roll the jacket up into it really nicely to make a highly packable burrito.

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