In the midst of winter, I got the offer to try out Velocio’s Ultralight Rain jacket and Alpha Long Sleeve jersey. With their slim, lightweight construction, effective weather resistance, and great thermoregulation, these pieces quickly became a new favourite combo for cool weather rides. The jacket and jersey kept me warm, dry and happy in anything from freezing point temperatures to balmy spring days, and they’re clearly cut to work perfectly with each other.
Construction and Features – Ultralight Rain Jacket:
Velocio’s Ultralight Rain Jacket is a thin but fully waterproof shell made from eVent DV Storm fabric. This fabric is lightweight, yet completely blocks wind and rain while offering breathability as well. The jacket features taped seams, and a dropped rear hem with a silicone gripper. This shell has no hood, but does have a high soft-lined collar to keep the elements at bay.
Simple and lean stretch panels at the cuffs keep the sleeves in place as you ride, and a zippered inside chest pocket with a media port offers storage for credit cards, MP3 players or even smartphones. The main zipper has pull tabs for easy use with gloved hands, and a zipper hood up top to keep your chin and neck comfortable. The jacket is finished with reflective logos and details.
Two large vents on the back encourage heat to escape, and allow you to access your jersey’s back pockets without taking off the jacket (the vents line up very nicely with the pockets on the Alpha Long Sleeve).
The Ultralight Rain Jacket retails for $349 USD. Color options are Navy or Citron (yellow), and men’s sizes range from XS-4XL. Women’s models are also available, in the same color options with sizes from XXS-3XL.
Alpha Long Sleeve Jersey:
Made with 63% recycled material, the Alpha Long Sleeve is an ideal layer under a shell for colder, wetter rides, but can also be worn on its own or over a jersey in nicer weather. The front faces of the jersey are made from a grid-style Polartec Alpha Direct insulation while the sides, back, and lower sleeves are Velocio’s Merino 210 fabric. This fabric combination traps warm air in the front faces while allowing excellent breathability and moisture management; the polyester-faced Merino 210 back panel offers a soft touch and resists abrasions.
A half-length front zipper keeps thing light and trim, and the long, thin hems on the sleeves do a great job of keeping wind out of your jacket while fitting easily under or over other layers. The Alpha Long Sleeve’s collar sits fairly high, and a fabric hood keeps the zipper covered. The slightly dropped rear hem includes a silicone gripper, and the jersey has three large pockets across the lower back.
The Alpha Long Sleeve jersey sells for $199. Men’s models are available in Fire Red or Navy, in sizes XS-4XL. Women’s models are sold in the same colors, with sizes ranging from XXS-3XL.
Before we talk about performance, let’s address how the Velocio garments fit. I’m 5’10” tall with a slim build, and I’m wearing the Alpha Long Sleeve and Ultralight Rain Jacket in size medium. Both pieces provide a slim fit but covered my body and arms well. The belly is cut fairly high on the rain shell, but on the bike, it’s just long enough for me. The Alpha LS is a bit longer in the body than the jacket (particularly in the front), so its grippy hem holds onto your pants or shorts quite well.
I’ve found no comfort issues with the collars on the jacket and Alpha LS: The jersey’s collar sits just against my neck at a perfect height, and the jacket matches it to a tee. Arm length was perfect for both garments, and the jacket’s cuffs were snug enough to stay put over my gloves.
Despite the Ultralight Rain Jacket having a very lean cut around the body, I had no issues with mobility on my gravel bike rides. The jacket’s shoulders offer a little extra room, so I never found any limits to my range of motion while riding drop bars. That said, this jacket was clearly cut for riding position… off the bike, if I spread my arms wide, the jacket’s chest tightens up.
While the Alpha LS and Ultralight Rain Jacket are clearly best suited for road or gravel riding, I did ride them on my enduro MTB to see how they felt. Due to an injury I didn’t get the chance to go for any real trail rides, but I pedaled around town and had no issues spreading my arms wide enough for my 800mm handlebar. I expect the jacket’s mobility would be fine for MTB rides, I could only see the tight chest area becoming an issue if you took a tumble and your arm(s) got pulled back harshly. With no limits to mobility the Alpha LS could easily work well for MTB rides, as long as you don’t mind the road-biased styling.
My first test ride with the jacket and jersey was a cool winter day of 2-3° Celsius (35-37ºF). With bibs and a long sleeve jersey underneath, the Alpha LS and Ultralight Rain Shell kept me happy and warm throughout the ride! Both are thin and lightweight garments, but the Alpha LS held in my body heat very well and the jacket did a great job of blocking the wind.
Even on rides where my ears started off a bit chilly my body was warm enough with the jacket, Alpha LS and a long-sleeved jersey right out the door. I didn’t have to pedal hard to get warmed up, and I stayed warm throughout the rides without overheating. If you do get hot in this combo, simply opening the jacket will cool you down quickly as the Alpha LS allows wind to cut through fairly easily.
Finally, when spring came temperatures were high enough to drop the jacket. My first ride with the Alpha LS as an outer layer was about 9-10° (48-50ºF), in sunny conditions with light wind. With a long sleeve jersey underneath I was easily warm enough on this casual Sunday ride. The Alpha LS is definitely not windproof, so you’ll feel air flowing through it as you ride. Despite that it still traps a bubble of body heat around you so it’ll take a chilly wind before you need to toss a jacket over top.
I got a chance to ride the jacket in light rain for over an hour, and everything beneath it came home bone dry – My arms stayed dry right to the hems, the high collar kept my neck fully protected, and only two or three inches of my pants between my saddle and the lower hem got wet. I noticed water beaded up nicely on the shell and shook off easily after the ride, so I’m confident this jacket could handle a lot more rain than I subjected it to. An over-helmet hood would be nice for really rainy rides, but I accept its absence in the name of keeping the jacket lean and light.
I love the long, soft hems on the Alpha LS’s sleeves. They’re comfortable, thin and easy to slip into jacket sleeves (or over/under gloves), and they keep the wind out. The waist hem is snug but comfortable so it does a great job of keeping wind away from your torso.
The Ultralight Rain Jacket offers a zippered inner chest pocket, which has a port for headphone wires, so I threw my older iPod Nano in there. The slim pocket doesn’t leave much room for movement, and I couldn’t even feel the iPod as I rode. This pocket is large enough to carry a smartphone; it might feel a bit heavy in there but it’s nice to have the option.
The Ultralight Rain Jacket does pack up pretty small. You probably couldn’t squeeze it into your down tube, but most jersey pockets should work, and any backpack or decent-sized cargo bag could carry it easily.
One final note – I like it when your comfy riding clothes can be worn casually as well, but the Velocio gear is clearly made for riding. Both garments have a slim, lean cut and look like performance cycling clothes, so they’d seem a bit extreme off the bike… they are great for their intended purpose though!