This season was great for testing the breathability of outerwear. I can confidently say the Steep Ride breathes and vents flawlessly, as it should. The pit-zips aren’t huge, but they do their job just fine. I think I put in more bluebird, 55-plus-degree days this season that I ever have (we’re talking days when others were sporting swimsuits, banana suits, cow suits, zoot suits, space suits, and the occasional birthday suit—gaper day temps), and I never felt too warm.
Notable Features / Design
I’ve been particularly happy with a few design features on the Steep Ride.
All the zipper pull-tabs are larger than normal and are easy to work with gloves on. The Velcro on the wrist cuffs is doubled up on two separate strips for added strength, plus the cuff strap itself is oversized for a fresh look and is also easy to adjust with gloved hands.
I’ve always been a fan of jackets with wrist gaiters.The elastin inner cuffs on the Steep Ride are super soft with a little extra material over the top of the hand. Cozy.
Coreupt describes the shell’s outer fabric as “abrasion resistant.” I did happen to notice that dirt and scuffs easily rub off the black material, which is a plus to keep things clean. I’ve had dark jackets in the past that seemed to attract dirt and grime more than they should.
The Steep Ride is built with a soft fleece lining inside the collar around the zipper (as I’m sure you’ve seen on other jackets). This lining wraps around the back of the neck and into the hood for added comfort when wearing the jacket as a piece of street wear. Nice.
The purple hood drawstrings shown on the jacket in this review are being done away with in the production version. As is, they stick out awkwardly when the jacket is fully zipped and whip around in your face at speed. The production model of the Steep Ride will replace the purple strings with an ordinary cinch cord.
Apart from being 100% waterproof and breathable, the SympaTex laminate that Coreupt uses is marketed as also being 100% recyclable. Instead of being made from PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), as are most GORE-TEX and Teflon products, SympaTex’s laminate is made from of polyether-ester, which is recyclable like a standard #1 PET plastic bottle.
Coreupt says “PTFE has been increasingly criticized in recent years, as the production process uses fluorides suspected of being harmful to health and even causing cancer.”
I’m no chemist, but if SympaTex is making efforts to create a more environmentally friendly, biodegradable post-consumer product, then good on them.
The Bottom Line
I’m not prepared to put the Steep Ride Shell in the same class as other $400–500 technical shells like The North Face Enzo. A jacket with fully taped seams and zippers and a truly athletic fit might be more capable in the gnarliest of weather conditions. But for the price, the Steep Ride comes impressively close in terms of functionality. For any day of resort riding and the occasional slackcountry tour or bootpack, the shell will provide most everything you need.