Irish custom clothing manufacturer Velotec have been producing team clothing for cyclists and triathletes since 2005. In 2016 they produced their own retail range and I have been testing out the Velotec Elite Winter Jacket.
If you’re the kind of rider that likes to ride, whatever the weather, then you might want to take a look at the Velotec Elite Winter Jacket. This is a proper foul weather item. As well as being warm, water-proof and breathable, the exterior has a DWR coating to repel water and mud; which was handy on it’s first outing! Velotec have designed the Elite Winter Jacket to be a ‘dry system’; i.e. fully waterproof and breathable. It uses a combination of eVent and Lombardia materials to produce a jacket designed for “extremely harsh and cold climates” and they have succeeded!
“Bi-elastic inserts in strategic points” are used to produce a close, race fit. I had a size Small and at 1.72 metres and 64kg found the fit excellent. There was room for a base-layer and possibly a thin jersey as well underneath if you really needed it. Arms are long and finished with wide elastic cuffs. These cuffs slip into gloves easily, keeping draughts at bay. The jacket uses a YKK cam lock zipper, so it won’t come undone mid ride. Behind the zip sits a wind baffle that is turned over at the top and bottom to form a zip guard in a contrasting red; which is a nice touch. There are three open pockets at the rear, no fancy zipped security pocket or cable ports, just plain pockets with plenty of room for spares. The waist band has the same wide, black and white pattern as the cuffs and a light silicone gripper.
I chose to wear the Elite jacket after seeing the weather report for the Chilterns Wildwood CX Sportive. The weather man had warned of icy winds, rain and snow. As it turned out, he was right! Stood at the start, clad only in a long-sleeved merino base-layer and the Elite, I was shivering and questioning my choice. Other riders were bundled up in multiple layers of clothing and looked a lot warmer. I had packed a light-weight rain jacket, just in case, but I was seriously thinking about heading back to the car for spare layers.
I never made it to the car, instead the pre-ride briefing started and we were off! Within minutes the cold had started to penetrate my gloves, but my body was warm. Despite the cold and wind-chill producing temperatures that were only just above freezing I felt fine; the Velotec Elite was doing it’s thing. As the day progressed it stayed bitterly cold. We had flurries of light snow and periods of drizzle, proper winter weather.
The sportive was an eighty mile trek around the Chilterns and involved plenty of climbing, fast riding and mud. During the day’s ride I didn’t once feel uncomfortable. Velotec have produced a jacket that can handle fast riding in cold conditions
Back at the event HQ it was time to see what was going on under the jacket. My long sleeve merino base layer was a little damp, not anything major and I hadn’t noticed it at all while riding. Considering I had been riding hard over the day this was pretty impressive. The Velotec Elite scores high on the breathability front.
The DWR treatment worked well as I was able to hose the worst of the mud off the jacket before washing and it still looks good. The DWR coating also keeps you dry by stopping the outer surface ‘wetting out’. Water falling on the surface beads and runs off, rather than soaking in. This aids with the breathability, as a soaked jacket won’t breathe as well as a dry one.
I was very impressed with how the Velotec Elite performed in extreme cold weather, its definitely a cold weather item. Riding in temperatures above 10 degrees with a lightweight short-sleeved base layer I could feel my arms getting sweaty. In this jacket 10 degrees is warm! Although I didn’t get to ride in any heavy rain, it performed well with constant drizzle and light snow.
If you need a cold weather jacket for fast riding, then can I heartily recommend the Velotec Elite Winter Jacket. It’s simple, no fancy bells and whistles here, relying instead on excellent materials and design to do it’s job. The only downside is that it really is for cold weather riding and our winters in Sussex are becoming a little too mild, so I won’t get to ride it too often, which is a shame.