Well, the new Mossa has been in the media quite a lot recently, generating many positive reviews, and rightly so. Having owned a Mossa for about 6 months now, I guess you could say I’m a long term user, so I thought it was about time I wrote about my experience with the Mossa, and how it works across all sorts of weather.
When I received my Mossa, I was a little dubious how Parentini could proclaim that is was good down to 0 degrees. It’s thin material makes it seem more like a jersey than a jacket. However the fabric engineering that’s gone into the Mossa, helped to dispel any worries I had.
The Mossa is made with a tri-laminate fabric, the middle part of which is a Windtex membrane. Now Windtex has been around quite a while, and it’s use in the fabric laminate has meant the Mossa has received some negative comments on social media sites. Some people remember cycling in garments that featured Windtex, and getting wet through with sweat. Problem is this wasn’t a fault with Windtex but rather the way it was used. You see Windtex isn’t actually a fabric – it’s a membrane. Parentini’s fabric engineers produced a new way of using the Windtex membrane, so that it’s properties could be used to best effect.
Take a look at the images below. These were taken at a test of the Mossa fabric laminate. The first one shows the laminate over water that is being pressurised to the equivalent of 10metres under water. As you can see it isn’t letting any water through. And it’s true because I was at the test and touched the fabric. It was bone dry. So that proves that the Mossa’s laminate is waterproof.
However, the real test of a waterproof garment is its breathability. There’s no point being shielded from the rain if you’re going to get soaked from the inside with your own sweat!
Take a look at the next images. This shows the Mossa laminate placed on top of a glass of warm water, with a mirror placed on top of the laminate. The next image clearly shows condensation on the mirror when it’s removed from the laminate.
It’s obvious sweat vapour is getting through the membrane. Sweat vapour particles are smaller than rain molecules which is good news. This is the basis of how Windtex works. The membrane is made up of tiny holes, that are big enough to let sweat vapour through but too small to let rain molecules through.
So if the Windtex membrane clearly works, why do cyclists have such bad memories of it? The reason is how the membrane was used with various fabrics and how the garment was cut.
A lot of manufacturers thought that by adding Windtex to their normal fleece lined winter tops, that they had produced the perfect all round winter top. The problem is the sweat generated sits in the fleece fabric, and finds it difficult to transfer to the Windtex membrane and evaporate.
Another problem was that the vast majority of these jackets were ill-fitting, creating gaps and pockets so that yet again the sweat found it difficult to transfer to the membrane.
What the design team at Parentini have done is engineer a jacket that works with the excellent properties of the Windtex membrane.
So when you first try on your Mossa, you’ll notice it’s tight. It’s supposed to be. The stretchiness of the fabric not only means you’ll be comfortable, it also means that the fabric sits in direct contact with your body, meaning the sweat generated transfers instantly to the membrane. Which is why Parentini didn’t bother with taped seams. Taping the seams would result in a stiff jacket and the little ingress of rain at these points is far outweighed by the benefit of the skin hugging fabric. You need the sweat to get to the membrane quick because this is the clever bit. Your sweat in the Windtex membrane acts as a protective shield – whilst it’s evaporating, it’s actually keeping you warm. Which is why you don’t need to worry about the thinness of the jacket.
I was amazed at how such a thin and comfortable jacket could work so well. When I first tried it on I put my arm under a running tap. Totally waterproof. So armed with this reassurance, I set off on my first ride. It was an hour and half tempo ride in with a couple of little showers. A staple in my training regime. This is perfect territory for the Mossa. I was working hard enough to build up my protective sweat shield. So on my ride, even though I knew it was cold (3degrees) and I got rained on I didn’t feel cold. I felt just right. And I didn’t feel like I was being ‘boiled in the bag’ either. OK, when I got home I was a little sweaty (I do sweat a lot cycling anyway), but the main thing was that I was warm and comfortable. In fact, you forget you’re wearing the Mossa, meaning you can concentrate on riding hard.
So over the last few months, I’ve ridden in all weathers and temperatures. Heavy rain, drizzle, fog, wind, sleet and even some warm days where the temperature nearly hit double figures! On each ride the Mossa was superb. The key to riding in far-ranging temperatures is to pick an appropriate base layer. On the warmer days, I use my Parentini base layer. This is the perfect partner to the Mossa. Firstly it’s made from polypropylene, which is the best fabric to wick away sweat. Which means the sweat will quickly be transferred to the Windtex membrane. But the base layer also contains elastene, which gives it a very stretchy quality. Again, no part of your skin is left untouched.
On colder days, touching freezing, I use a thicker polypropylene/Merino laminate underlayer. This does tend to hold sweat a little more, but it is a little warmer. However, in Parentini’s ongoing development of the Mossa concept, they will be introducing a ‘Pesante’ (Heavy) version, which will feature a thicker laminate. I suspect this will be popular in the Northern and Scandinavian countries!
I never thought I would say this, but a cycle clothing company has engineered the perfect winter jacket. OK, it might not work in temperatures way below freezing. But unless you’re a pro, you wouldn’t be out on the road anyway. It’s become my go-to piece of clothing. You just put it on no matter the weather. You don’t have to deliberate about how many layers to wear, taking a rain cape, or packing a gilet in your back pocket. Come rain or shine, you just know it will work.
It’s a no brainer.