The Rivelo Garsdale is one of the best performing softshell jackets on the market – its great waterproofing, breathability and quality features make it hard to ignore.
Let's get stuck in with the best feature of the Garsdale: its fabric. It's a premium blend from Swiss manufacturer Shoeller called C-Change softshell. It's right up there with the very best on the market. Water doesn't just bead off, it hits the jacket and almost bounces off. On a wet ride where the rain came and went on multiple occasions, the Garsdale kept me completely dry all day.
The C-Change fabric is also very breathable – in the order of industry standard Gore-Tex. Never once did I feel overly sweaty, and the cool fabric against my skin only helped to reassure me it was doing its job well. It helps that the C-Change fabric is a quick drying formula, because the jacket is able to work at peak efficiency soon after one shower has cleared and another has come in.
As well as being waterproof and breathable, the fabric is superbly windproof, doing without an internal fleece layer to allow the jacket to work as efficiently as possible. This was fine on all but sub-zero days, when I would opt for a long-sleeve merino baselayer instead of my usual lightweight sleeveless choice, to add that extra bit of warmth I felt I needed.
The Garsdale's technical fabric is backed up with great features. The three rear pockets are spacious, and the two additional zipped pockets – one on the rear, one on the breast, with YKK zips – are weatherproof, with no wind or water leaking through at any point. You can trust your valuables to them, that's for sure.
Cuffs are double layered, resulting in a nice seal between your skin and fabric and helping to reduce draughts up your arms. That doesn't mean there's nowhere for the warm air to go, though, because alongside the breathability of the fabric, the underside of the armpits feature laser-cut holes for extra thermal regulation.
My only criticism of the double-layered cuff is that it felt slightly high on my arm when I first pulled the jacket on, as if the sleeves were slightly too short in the medium, which fit perfectly elsewhere. However, this is an issue I often have with jackets, and I stopped noticing after a while because the outer cuff does extend slightly over the top.
Also, in fairness to Rivelo, it does say this is a performance-cut jacket and advises you to size up if you want more room or you sit between sizes; but it's the cut that really makes the Garsdale work so well in my opinion, so I'd recommend trying to stick to your normal size for best performance.
One thing to bear in mind is that unlike some softshells, such as Rapha's Classic, you can't really get away with wearing it as a casual garment off the bike – the cut is severe enough that I really think this is a bike-only deal.
Other useful design features include a tapered neckline for better insulation, and a long storm cover back to protect your rear from road spray. It also has small reflective logos scattered about for extra visibility on gloomier days or at night. The storm guard tail has a reflective Rivelo embossed in the centre, which to my mind is tasteful and stylish too.
The performance of the jacket from new is so good you'll want to look after it. Washing it on a delicate setting with a good technical wash and reproofer has kept the fabric working as new, while the shape has stayed the same.
This is also testament to the quality of the jacket's construction – I can see it lasting years without deteriorating under regular winter use, with the flatlock seams holding strong throughout all my testing.
I expected a garment of this quality to be expensive and I was right. Its RRP of £215 broadly matches it up with Rapha's Classic Softshell and equivalents from the likes of Castelli and Gore. It's a premium price, but this is a premium jacket with premium performance, so fair enough I think.
Having said that, online sports discount store Sport Pursuit currently features the Garsdale (and most of Rivelo's wider range) at a 53 per cent discount (£99.99), in both full black, and black and red colourways. It's a top softshell jacket at full price, but at that price it's an absolute steal.
The Rivelo Garsdale is a top softshell jacket, make no mistake
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rivelo Men's Garsdale Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black/Red
Tell us what the jacket is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Rivelo says: "[The Garsdale is] constructed from Swiss-made Schoeller C-Change fabric to offer a superior quality winter riding experience. water resistant, wind proof, breathable, versatile and suitable for all winter riding conditions. Understated design but loaded with technical and performance details. designed, tried and tested by cyclists, this jacket is ergonomically panelled for freedom of movement and the best fit possible whilst in the riding position."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
- Premium, performance Schoeller C-change soft shell fabric - suitable for cold, wet or windy weather. depending on the conditions, breathability and heat retention increases or decreases giving you a stable body climate. click for more info on Schoeller Textiles
- 10,000mm waterproof rating
- Excellent breathability & quick drying properties
- Windproof, oil & dirt repellent
- Highly reflective Pixel panel in CB pocket, for low light visibility
- Four spacious back pockets including a water resistant & reflective YKK zip pocket for keeping your phone & valuables safe & dry
- Ergonomic panel construction gives the perfect fit whilst in the riding position
- Reflective details for added visibility
- Extra dropped hem panel at rear to protect from spray
- Double layered cuffs act as a seal against the elements
- Laser cut holes in underarm panels for extra breathability
- Waterproof YKK Aquaguard zip with Ri puller, zip garage & guard for protection
- Angled collar for comfort and weather protection
- No scratchy labels – care label is laser cut and bonded
Flat seams and a great fabric; treat it well and this jacket isn't likely to fail on you.
This is about as good a performing softshell jacket as I've ever worn.
No reason to suspect it won't run and run, this one.
Water beads off brilliantly, and washing it every three or four rides with technical wash seems to maintain it too.
Absolutely no boil-in-the-bag effect here – laser-cut holes boost the breathability rating on top of the great fabric.
Great – my only minor criticisms are that you can't really wear it off the bike, and the sleeves are a touch baggy in relation to the rest of the jacket.
Performance cut – Rivelo itself recommends sizing up if you don't like a tighter fit, so worth bearing in mind.
A good balance struck – 368g isn't heavyweight at all, but it's not so light that you feel exposed.
The double cuffs rode up slightly, but I do find this an issue sometimes when I wear slightly smaller cut garments.
I have to mark it on its RRP, but I'd take that 'all the way up to 11' if I could take into account the current price it's available for online.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Technical wash is certainly the best way to maintain the Garsdale. Stick to that to maintain your investment.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly. It can deal with all wintry conditions bar sub-zero temperatures when worn on its own.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Fabric, cut, design, performance...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The double cuffs rode up slightly, and I don't think it fits that well off the bike (unlike some rivals).
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes – 100%, especially at the current available price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding