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The Lusso Windtex Aero+ jacket is a warm, well-made softshell for the cold weather, and the price is pretty reasonable too.
I've tried out quite a few Lusso pieces of clothing over the years and this is the best of them. As the name suggests, this jacket is made largely using a Windtex membrane. This is a material used by many brands to make windproof and waterproof fabrics. It's lightweight and very stretchy, breathable in the right circumstances (like any other breathable fabric), and the inner face is comfortable against skin.
The white panels at the front and back use Windtex membranes too, in a fabric called Aero+. The fabric manufacturer reckon the golf ball-style surface of the fabric helps with aerodynamics but Lusso admit it's probably not going to propel you towards any Strava KOMs! I don't think the indentations make a whole lot of difference to the performance – possibly providing a bit of flexibility to a fabric that would otherwise be very thick – but they certainly add a distinctive look.
The underside of the arms and the centre of the back, areas that aren't so exposed, are made from a fleecy, brush backed polyester, the sort of thing you find used in a million different winter tights. It has been given a DWR coating to add water repellency (although it'll wash out and need re-applying over time).
This jacket really does keep the cold air out very well, so much so that you'll cook if you wear it in typical autumn/spring conditions. No, this is one to save for winter weather, although those who particularly feel the cold might get a larger window of use. Even with just a base layer underneath (with no jersey), the temperature had to be well down into single figures before I was getting the most out of it.
I like a fitted cut and found this to be about right (that's not me wearing it in the pics). Some Lusso tops are too loose in the body for me but this one is slim with enough stretch in the fabrics for you to get another layer underneath without feeling that you're going to asphyxiate yourself when you do up the zip.
Speaking of the zip, it comes with a middling-sized puller that you can grab relatively easily with gloved fingers, although a little larger would help. There's a windproof baffle behind it and a chin guard at the top at the top of the tall, close-fitting collar, each doing its job well.
Wearing this over a long sleeve base and jersey will see you right for most cold winter temperatures you're likely to encounter in the UK. You'll need a waterproof jacket if you're out in proper rain but water will roll off the Windtex and Aero+ areas and keep you dry for a while – it can get through the untaped seams – but damp air won't soak into those panels.
The waist is drawn in by elastic gripper tape like you get around the hems of many shorts. It works fine and will cope with a wide variety of waist sizes because it's super-stretchy. Silicone print on the inside adds a bit of grip to help prevent it riding up as you pedal. The cuffs are the same fleecy fabric that's used for the back panels, again with enough stretch to fit closely without feeling tight. Breeze can get through that material so you need to cover it with the cuffs of your gloves if you don't want draughts on really cold days.
You get three big pockets around the back along with a fourth zipped one that's big enough to take any mobile phone (even one of the huge new-style ones like the iPhone 6 Plus). There's not acres of reflective trim but stripes on one pocket and on the wrists, along with reflective logos, all help out.
Lusso handmake their clothing in the UK – Radcliffe, Manchester, to be precise.
Warm, well-made softshell at a reasonable price
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Make and model: Lusso Windtex Aero+ Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product 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?
Lusso say. "Redesigned windproof softshell. Completely redesigned for 2014, this jacket features new generation carbon look Windtex and Aero+ Fabric, offering wind protection whilst remaining highly breathable and comfortable.
Windtex thermal fabric
Windproof – breathable
In 3 colours
Full zip front-4 Rear pockets
Made in the UK
Although this looks a bit like a jersey, it's very much a softshell jacket, and the price is good considering the level of performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. It's definitely one for days when the temperature is low and you want to keep the cold air out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The windproofing and the slim fit (our photos don't show it well but it comes in a sporty cut)
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hmm, nothing really. I think it's a really well designed and put together piece.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This is a really solid performing jacket for cold winter rides. It's an easy 8.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.