Subzero eh? That’s legitimate coming from Wisconsin-based, Bontrager. Things get pretty cold in the Upper Midwest and the Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell Jacket is up to the challenge. With proper ¬†layering, this one’s a great option for all your winter riding needs.

Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell Jacket Features:

  • Front features wind/water-resistant softshell fabric
  • Soft ribbed knit material on cuffs and collar add comfort and seal out elements
  • Three open-back, pleated pockets
  • Single zippered rear pocket for valuables
  • Thermal inserts under arm and back
  • Fitted cut
  • MSRP: $219.99
Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell Jacket Review

Cold, dry conditions were perfect for the Subzero.

Layer up and stay warm, friends

The full Bontrager Velocis series of clothing has been impressive this winter. And, on the coldest days, I’ve been layering up with the Velocis Subzero Softshell on the outside. Softshell jackets are my personal favorite. They aren’t waterproof, but retain a high level of water-resistance and effectively block the wind on cold descents. Best of all, softshell fabrics move with you and match every move with invisible comfort.

The Velocis Subzero layers nicely atop the Velocis Thermal Long-sleeve Jersey. In fact, the wide color of the Subzero plays very nicely with the snug, tall collar of the jersey. Admittedly, I may have liked a medium jacket to go with the medium jersey, but the size large wasn’t too oversized on my 5’11” – 170 lb. body. Sleeve length is outstanding and the knit double-cuffs work well with any gloves I pulled out of the drawer.

Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell - Cuffs

Nice, simple, knit cuffs sealed well with a variety of gloves.

A nice feature of the Subzero is the inclusion of three, pleated jersey pockets with a zippered side pocket. Digging through multiple layers to access your phone, essentials or nutrition is never fun when temperatures are hovering in the 30’s. A quick reach yielded all I needed in the saddle.

Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell Collar

The wide, low collar played well with the matching Velocis Thermal Jersey.

The Velocis Subzero does lack actual vents, but does feature thermal inserts on the underarms and back panel to aid in moisture transfer. For cold, dry conditions, that proved to be an outstanding choice. The balance of wind/water protection on the front and breathable panels has worked like a charm. I didn’t feel overdressed — even when temps approached the mid-40’s. Admittedly, I don’t typically ride below 35-degrees and the Subzero has done well on rides ranging from 35-45 degrees.

Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell Jacket and Bib Tights Review

Cold days met their match.

I appreciate the simplicity of the cut and design of the Subzero. There are no pit zips or additional zippers everywhere and all the cuffs are simple, knit designs. Additionally, the collar features a knit lining, which makes things comfortable. I will say that the low-profile of the collar is a little surprising, so you’ll want to match it with a thermal jersey that has a tall collar. With that, there was never any restricted movement that you sometimes experience when a jacket and jersey both have tall, snug collars.

SIZING NOTE: I’m 5’11” – 170 lbs and wore the size large for review. I could have gone with a medium for more of a racy fit, but the large worked well enough and allowed for comfortable layering.

The Good

  • Excellent warmth and protection
  • Ribbed, knit cuffs worked well
  • Three rear pockets are always awesome
  • Extra long for added coverage
  • Fabric enables natural movement

The Bad

  • Bi-directional zipper would be nice
  • Collar is wide and short — plan your layers accordingly

The Bottom Line: Bontrager Velocis Subzero Softshell

Softshell jackets are definitely tops on my list for winter riding. With their added warmth and natural stretch, they disappear while keeping you comfortable a winter ride. With the Velocis Subzero, you get a nice-looking jacket with a solid feature-set and three jersey pockets. Everything adds up to a solid combination.

Buy Now: Available at REI.com

 

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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