The Cobra Hoodie 2 is a hoody designed for cyclists by cyclists with every feature optimised for hours and days on the bike. The brand may not be a household name but in the USA it's described as having a near cult level status thanks to a range of high quality, well designed, products.
What Chrome say:
We never do anything half way at Chrome. So when we set out to make a cycling hoodie, we went all out. Merino needs no introduction, a naturally moisture-wicking, antimicrobial fabric that combines performance and comfort. With extra pockets, a streamlined hood and a cut specifically fit for the bike, it’s got the utility you need for the bike and a classic look you can wear all day.
• Hoodie made from naturally odour-inhibiting, thermoregulating merino wool
• Specially adapted to cycling posture
• Stand-up collar
• Full-length front zip
• Long sleeves with thumb holes
• Two zipped front pockets
• Two zipped back pockets with mesh lining
• Reinforced cuffs
Chrome Merino Cobra Hoodie 2 reviewed:
If you're already familiar with the Cobra Hoody you need to know immediately that this is the 2.0 version with some significant changes from the previous verson, most significantly the thumb loops have gone. The fit is noticably longer than average, and longer than the previous version, with a longer tail and longer arms and the hood has lost its adustment pulls. While it still looks totally at home off the bike as leisure wear it's still very much optimised for cyclists.
The Cobra 2 has 3 pockets, 2 mesh handwarmer pockets behind a very slim set of zips and a single large pocket across the back. Unused the pockets are virtually invisible. The hood has lost the adjustment pulls of the previous version so is a fixed size, and it's not small - you won't have a problem pulling it up over a helmet. The cuffs are neither elasticated nor thumb-looped, but they have been reinforced and sit at the end of very long arms, so rolling the cuffs back on themselves comes naturally.
Of course where the Cobra Hoodie 2 excels is the balance of warmth and breathability. Merino comes in various weights. or thicknesses, depending on its use; from thin baselayers through to hoodys and jackets like the Cobra 2. At 580g it's up there with softshells in terms of weight, and in many ways it's an alternative to a soft shell - just softer against the skin and better wicking. Merino is kown for being comfortable against the skin and the Cobra 2 is no exception, it has something of the feel of a warm sleeping bag at the end of the day; you sink into it as much as wear it. Zipped up the hoody instantly feels warm and it takes a while for the heat regulation to kick in.
At this point it really is worth pointing out the importance of base layers. It doesn't matter how well a mid layer wicks heat and moisture away from the body if your base layer acts as a trap. The Cobra 2 is warm, and if you're pairing it with a cotton T shirt you're going to really put the odour resistance qualities of the merino to the test. With a decent, breathable, base layer, however, the Cobra Hoodie 2 is a very effective midlayer/outer. The drop tail allows for the stretched forward position on a bike where cold spots can develop while also allowing the sides to hang optimally when riding with it unzipped. The cut has been described as "performance", "active" and "athletic". Whichever of these is the right description I don't know; personally I'd say it's form-fitting but without being clingy and sizing is generous.
The hood is a matter of personal choice. It's unusal to see a fixed hood these days, with no adjustment possible, but it's a generously sized hood that's deep but also shaped so that it doesn't flap around excessively. Pocket zips take some getting used with the pulls being so small and the handwarmer pockets will take a guidebook but aren't quite big enough for an OS map. The full width back pocket is accessible from either size and is ideal for slipping that map into.
As part of a layering system the Cobra Hoodie 2 is an ideal insulation layer with the breathability only merino provides and for may it will double up as a base/mid layer without a dedicated base layer - this is where the odour resistance of merino really comes into its own. With the addition of a thin shell, in case of extended rain, it's a real all-day hoody; breathable when it needs to be, insulating when you're stationary and quick drying if you do get caught out. Above all, though, it's comfortable. Comfortable to the point that you start wearing it without thinking about what you're going to be doing - it will handle it, whatever you have in mind, and handle in comfort.
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