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The Velocio Women's Alpha Merino Air Jacket has a fantastic warmth to weight ratio and works very well across a wide temperature range of dry weather conditions and light showers. It fits wonderfully, feels delightful against the skin, and has excellent low-profile cuffs.
Made in Italy, this softshell with windproofing is a versatile layer that's best suited from cool to cold days in dry conditions, but it does also provide some extra protection when caught in a light shower.
The exterior of the jacket features Pertex's Quantum Air fabric – 50% recycled nylon, 50% nylon – at the front and sleeves to defend against chilly winds. This fabric has also been placed across the rear pockets and at the dropped tail as it also provides some light shower protection thanks to the DWR treatment. It's not a jacket for heading out on rides you know are going to be wet, but it does provide some defence against rain.
Alongside the windproof and water-resistant outer, Velocio has used a merino wool version of Polartec's Alpha insulation inside the jacket, across the front, through the sleeves and around the collar. This soft fleece lining – 63% polyester, 33% wool, 4% nylon blend – has been put in places where warmth is needed. It's incredibly soft and snugly, making this jacket a delight to wear.
Then, at the back the focus is on breathability and this is delivered by a soft fleece-backed panel that also has more stretch than other areas of the jacket to help provide a close, cosy fit. It's made from 100% recycled polyester, which is a welcome nod to sustainability.
The fit throughout the jacket was spot on for me. I found there was enough room to layer underneath on those proper cold winter days. Equally, if I wanted to throw a waterproof shell on top on those mega grim days, the fit was close enough that I could still move freely and comfortably.
The sleeves are also a very good length. A stretchier fabric is used for the underside, which helps with the low-profile finish, and it works very well with or without gloves.
A two-way zipper has been included which I find really helps with temperature regulation. The only thing that bothered me is that it could do with a bigger tag for easy grabbing with gloves.
As mentioned above, the rear features Pertex's water-resistant Quantum Air fabric and it's dropped slightly for added protection against road spray.
Three helpfully deep pockets are included at the rear. All pockets are the same 13cm width and are a great size for carrying a waterproof shell, nutrition for a long ride and a large smartphone in a protective case. For those who prefer to zip away valuables, the jacket is missing this, but the pockets have proved secure in my experience.
A reflective logo has been placed on the centre of the middle pocket as well as on the top left (for riding on the left side in America and Europe). As well as the subtle Deep Sea shade I've been testing, the Alpha Merino Air is available in a brighter Fire Red if you really want to up your visibility on the road.
It's called a jacket but the low weight of just 244g and the feel is much closer to that of a thermal long sleeve jersey, but with the warmth and protection qualities of a typically bulkier jacket.
This jacket has seriously impressed me. Priced at £194, it is certainly quite an investment but one you'll be grateful for given its incredibly high quality finish and performance across day-to-day winter riding.
Castelli's all-rounder Perfetto RoS Long Sleeve Women's Jacket is a similar price (£210), but you might not get on with its less traditional two-pocket setup.
That's not to say you can't buy a jacket of similar quality to the Velocio for less. Janine got on really well with the excellent wind protection, soft inner and cosy cuffs of Gore's Tempest Jacket, which costs considerably less at £149.99.
Overall, though, I'd say the Velocio is a great option for riding on dry wintry days and you need not be concerned if the odd shower is looming. This jacket provides an excellent defence against the wind, keeping you snugly warm, yet it's still breathable enough for those fast and intense blasts – all while being wonderfully soft, low bulk and not restrictive in the slightest.
High-quality lightweight yet incredibly warm jacket for dry winter riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Velocio Women's Alpha Merino Air Jacket
Size tested: Small
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?
"RECOMMENDED CONDITIONS: Cool to cold, primarily dry conditions when light weight and breathabiliy are the priority.
Using the latest and most advanced version of Polartec's renowned Alpha insulation, by adding merino wool, the Alpha Merino Air jacket punches way above its weight in terms of warmth, breathability and performance. Alpha Wool is used as interior insulation on the sleeve, front and collar, while Pertex Quantum Air provides an ultralight wind and water resistant barrier to help trap heat while maintaining class-leading breathability. The back panel of the jacket is made from fleece-backed italian milled recycled polyester to aid in breathability and mobility.
Likely our most technical riding jacket ever, the Alpha Merino Air uses our proprietary 3D patterning and carefully engineered on-bike fit for a super streamlined fit and covering a wide range of temps and conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Exceptional warmth-to-weight: warmth of a heavy winter softshell, weight of a longsleeve jersey
Alpha Merino Wool insulation provides warmth without bulk and thermoregulation for a broad range of temps
Pertex Quantum Air shell is windproof, water resistant, DWR treated, air permeable and stretchy - the perfect balance of protection and breathability for a range of conditions
Recycled Italian milled fleece backed polyester back panel for excellent mobility and breathability
YKK Vislon zipper
3 large back pockets
Lycra cuff hem for low profile fit with or without gloves
Extended rear hem for added protection
Internal waist gripper with silicone stripe
3D patterning for on-bike fit
Impressive warmth to weight ratio.
So, so snugly.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
All good when machine washed at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Superbly for most winter riding, from milder days to colder ones, in the complete dry to those with the odd shower. It's so comfortable to wear and really hits a useful balance between warmth, protection and breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The warmth and protection combined with the low bulk and an unrestrictive close fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Not much! If I'm being picky a longer zipper tag would be handy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Similar price to other premium options such as Castelli's Perfetto RoS Long Sleeve Women's Jacket (£210), but there are more affordable options such as Gore's Tempest Jacket Women's (£149.99).
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There is so much to like about this jacket. It has a great fit, the warmth to weight ratio is excellent, and it feels wonderfully snugly to wear. The construction is of high quality throughout and Velocio has really perfected all the small details, with, for example, useful deep pockets and smooth, low-profile cuffs. The price is high, but it's a worthwhile piece of gear to invest in.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track