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review

Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket

6
£160.00

VERDICT:

6
10
A warm and versatile cycling jacket, but the fit might be looser than you're expecting
Good warmth and insulation
Versatile, with removable insulating layer
Some waterproofing
Fit won't suit all shapes
Pockets could be deeper
Weight: 
377g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket is warm and versatile, with a removable insulating layer that means it works well across a wide temperature range. It'll also keep you dry on showery rides, though it's not the most breathable, and the shape and fit won't suit everyone.

The softshell jacket is primarily constructed of recycled polyester that boasts 10k water resistance and 20k breathability. I found the fabric soft inside and comfortable against the skin, although I did wear a jersey or baselayer underneath.

> Buy this online here

It coped easily with light rain – it's certainly good enough for the typical drizzle you'll encounter in Britain from autumn to spring – but for sustained heavy rain you'll want something that provides more protection.

Like many cycling jackets, the Thorncombe has a dropped hem at the rear designed to protect you from road spray, which it does, but it's quite extreme and in fact felt too large and flapped around. I would have preferred that the jacket was just a conventional length, or at least had the option to zip the flap away.

2021 Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket - drop.jpg

I was really impressed by how warm the jacket is. I used it on rides between 4 and 12°C with the insulation and it coped without a problem, though I did feel a little sweaty when putting in bigger efforts. The 'OCTA Active Insulation' is removable, attaching via internal poppers around the shoulders and chest.

2021 rivelo thorncombe softshell inner 2.jpeg

Removing it turns the jacket into something more like a long sleeve jersey, increasing its scope to work in a wider range of temperatures. I'd say the insulation makes 3-4°C of difference, at best guess.

2021 rivelo thorncombe softshell inner.jpeg

The jacket comes with the usual three rear pockets, plus a zipped side pocket. I found the two outer pockets at the rear a little too shallow – my iPhone 11 or mini-pump would stick out the top of the pocket and feel less secure than I'd like.

2021 Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket - pockets.jpg

The main zip has very large – almost cumbersome – double Vislon zippers, meaning it can also be unzipped from the waist. I didn't find any need for this feature, as opening the bottom zip would only serve to enable the jacket to flap about in the wind.

2021 Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket - hem.jpg

Cut and fit

The jacket is cut short at the front, roughly at belly button height, with the rear of the jacket being particularly long. The sleeves are of a good length, ensuring there are no gaps for cold air to pass between sleeves and gloves.

2021 Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket - cuff.jpg

Rivelo claims the jacket has a 'slim performance fit' – and even suggests sizing up if you want to put layers on underneath – but it didn't feel like that on me, especially compared with other softshells I've worn. I tested the medium and found it loose around the chest, shoulders and arms; I would have preferred something a little tighter fitting. However, it must be said that my build is on the slim side, so it might suit those with broader shoulders a little better.

2021 Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket - chest.jpg

No complaints on the style side: Rivelo offers the jacket in two colourways, Red/Navy and Navy/Red. I think I prefer the look of the navy one, but the red I tested looks good paired with black bibs.

Value

The retail price for the Thorncombe Softshell is £160, which seems expensive compared with some. The dhb Aeron All Winter Softshell Jacket, for example, which Paul rated highly, costs £130, and Iwein was particularly impressed with Stolen Goat's Mekon Climb & Conquer Winter Jacket, for £149.99.

> Spring cycling clothing guide: how to choose and use the best gear to ride through the most unpredictable season

You can spend more – Rapha's Pro Team Winter Jacket is £180, but Robin was impressed with how well it insulates and its breathability, and he also really liked the fit.

Conclusion

Overall, the Rivelo Thorncombe has some strong features, including the removable insulation which adds both warmth and versatility. If the cut suits you, it's one to consider – though you can buy similar for less.

Verdict

A warm and versatile cycling jacket, but the fit might be looser than you're expecting

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket

Size tested: Medium

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?

This softshell jacket is aimed at road cyclists looking for a jacket to keep you warm during the winter and early season. The unique feature of the jacket is the removable internal insulation, which offers good levels of warmth, and can be detached quickly to allow use as a long sleeved jersey. Rivelo note the jersey is intended to be worn like a jersey with a baselayer underneath and provides a slim fit. Although I found the fit to be loose, and would not advise sizing up any further.

Rivelo says: 'Fantastically versatile and lightweight softshell that's as comfortable as a jersey with the protection and performance of a jacket. The removable OCTA Active Insulation lining offers great flexibility when you're just not sure what the weather will do, snap it in for warmth and comfort and remove it once you've warmed up. The water-resistant outer fabric is made from recycled polyester with PFC free DWR, as part of our drive for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly range.

'This jacket has a slim performance fit and is designed be worn like a jersey with a baselayer or minimal layers underneath. If you plan to wear it as a jacket (over a jersey or lots of layers), we would recommend sizing up from your usual size.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

Rivelo lists these features:

100% Recycled Polyester main fabric, with 38% Recycled Polyester/45% Cationic Polyester/17% Elastane backing

10K water resistant protection & 20K breathability

PFC free DWR coating to aid water resistance performance

57% Recycled Polyester/43% Polyester removable OCTA Active Insulation lining - offers flexible warmth & comfort performance on the move, start with it in place and remove mid-ride as you warm up.

Stretch thermal jersey underarm panels aid freedom of movement and breathability

3 large pockets at rear with elasticated opening

Additional zipper pocket for valuables

Reflective panels at back pocket for added low light visibility

Dropped hem at rear to protect from road spray

Full length 2-way Vislon zip with zip garage & guard for protection

Webbing zip pullers for easy opening

Angled collar, lined in soft microfiber fabric, for comfort and weather protection

Articulated sleeve panelling, for an 'on-the-bike' fit

Soft gros grain ribbon back neck hanging loop

No scratchy labels - care label is sewn flat

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
7/10

It seems well made, and the main fabric of the jacket good quality. The articulated sleeve design provides a good sleeve length while holding the handlebar.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
7/10

The jacket is nice and warm, especially with the insulation in place, if not the most breathable.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
7/10

I used the jacket on a few winter and early spring rides, and no sign of any issues. The little road spray wiped off easily.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10

The waterproof rating of 10k indicates that the jacket can cope with short periods of rain. I would agree that it can cope will with light rain or drizzle. I wouldn't want to wear it in prolonged or heavy rain.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
5/10

The breathability is rated as 20k, which should allow a reasonable amount of air to pass out of the jacket, but I found it got sweaty if I put in an effort or tackled a longer climb. The breathability is certainly enhanced when worn without the insulation.

Rate the jacket for fit:
 
5/10

Personally, I found the fit to be loose. As a 178cm, 69kg cyclist, the medium jacket did not provide the 'slim performance fit' as advertised by Rivelo.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
7/10

Going by Rivelo's example of a cyclist of the same height and waist size as me, I tested a medium. The size of the jacket was correct – the length of the arms and torso were good – but see above for 'fit'.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10

The jacket weighs 377g, which compares well with the competition. Weight isn't a major factor for me as other performance characteristics are more important in a winter jacket, but Rapha and dhb offer similar softshell jackets that weigh around 390g.

Removing the insulation saves roughly 50g.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
6/10

My only problem with comfort was the excessively long hem at the rear.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
4/10

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Similar to other cycling kit, it is machine washable at 30 degrees, and OK to tumble dry at a low temperature. It's also easy to wipe away splash from the road with a wet cloth.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The jacket's key purpose is to keep you warm and it offers light waterproofing, and performed well in these areas. However, it's not as breathable as some, and the 'performance fit' was looser than I'd expected.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

I liked the warmth, and the removable insulation is a good feature, making the jacket versatile.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

I didn't like the fit – I found it too loose around the chest, arms and shoulders. Two of the rear pockets were also too shallow for my phone and mini pump.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's a little pricey: the dhb Aeron All Winter Softshell Jacket costs £130, while Stolen Goat's Mekon Climb & Conquer Winter Jacket is £149.99. Rapha's Pro Team Winter Jacket is more at £180, but Robin was impressed with how well it insulates and its breathability, and he also really liked the fit.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? No

Would you consider buying the jacket? No

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Probably not.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Rivelo Thorncombe Softshell Jacket has many positives, but for me there were also some negatives. The key characteristic of the jacket is to keep you warm, and it performs well in this area, but I prefer my cycling clothing to be closer fitting. I'm scoring it 6 for 'above average', factoring in that the price is also a little high, the pockets a little shallow, and the rear excessively long.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 30  Height: 182cm  Weight: 69kg

I usually ride: S-Works Tarmac  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, club rides, Gravel on a CX bike

Nick hails from the west country and combines riding bikes with hitting balls with cricket bats and golf clubs. You'll find him riding a mix of road, cyclocross and XC MTB.

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