The combination of Velocio’s product design and Polartec Alpha Merino insulation has all the trappings of a match made in heaven. We’ll skip the Hallmark movie, but there’s a lot of synergy going on and a predictable outcome that gets everyone home happy, warm and cozy.
Velocio Alpha Merino Air Jacket Features:
- Extra length sleeves and hem for coverage
- Body-mapped insulation and protection
- Polartec Alpha Merino used
- Pertex Quantum Air Shell on all front-facing surfaces
- Recycled Italian fleece on back panel for breathability
- Alpha Merino is 63% polyester, 33% Merino wool and 4% nylon fibers
- MSRP: $249
A top-shelf, versatile jacket
Heading into the winter months, I was glad to have the new Velocio Alpha Merino Air Jacket at the ready. If you haven’t had the chance to wear an Alpha jacket or base layer yet, you owe yourself a favor to try one. Last year, I gave the Pearl Izumi PRO Alpha Layer top marks and also enjoyed the Santini Alpha Trail Jacket — both of which use Polartec Alpha. Uniquely, both the Velocio and Santini jackets use Alpha Merino, which blends Merino wool with the synthetic fibers for a hybrid blend that gives the best of new-school and old-school warmth, moisture management and odor control.
The design team at Velocio has their fit game nailed. Typically, I’m easily able to pick out little things that detract from the on-bike performance, like short sleeves or hem, but they have this nailed in all the right ways. It slides right on with a just-right fit when worn atop a sleeveless base layer and the Velocio Signature Long Sleeve or Concept Merino Long Sleeve jerseys.
With the Alpha Merino front panel and sleeves, you can expect great warmth on cold rides into the upper-30’s. Of course, you could layer it up with a thicker under layer for even lower temperatures, or you could wear a lightweight long-sleeve jersey to further extend this jacket’s utility as well. I believe that Polartec Alpha is the best-performing insulation available today, but maintaining the right balance between moisture management and warmth is tricky — particularly with cycling jackets.
Even in the cold, I still sweat a lot and all those layers create their own micro-climates. This is most noticeable when stopped for a photo or nature break and then restarting. You don’t feel the chill until all that cold air hits you square-on. Even though the Alpha Merino fibers feel damp, they remain warm while stopped. Those initial few minutes back on the bike will be chilly until your body heat warms up the fibers again. On extended rides, the fibers maintain breathability and move moisture out of the way while trapping warmth inside the air channels created by the fuzzy lining.
Velocio has chosen to go with Pertex Quantum Air face fabrics for excellent wind and good water protection. While it won’t be the end of the world if you get stuck in the rain or snow, just don’t expect Gore-Tex performance out of this one. Where it shines is on cold and dry days on the road or gravel. I’ve encountered a few showers during testing and it has done quite well.
The back panel is made of recycled midweight fleece and it helps expel moisture from the backside of the jacket. Since there is no wind hitting your back, it’s just fleece, but the pockets create a double-layer that does trap moisture and can saturate items stashed inside. Regarding the rear pockets, they are ample sized to store all essentials. Keep in mind that they sit a little lower, so access differs from a Velocio jersey, for example. Heavier items do sit well without bouncing around on rough gravel.
Smartly, the sleeve cuffs feature a lightweight insert on the underside of the wrist, which provides added stretch and comfort. Thankfully, these cuffs can be worn under or over your chosen pair of winter gloves. And, they stretch out nicely if you wear a watch.
After many miles, I did have a few items that I wish were better. While I love Alpha Merino fabric, I don’t feel like it’s necessary all the way around the arms. It does pull on the sleeves of your base layer when pulling it on and I would like to see some added venting on the underarms — maybe just a fleece insert. I also appreciate the tall, Alpha Merino-lined collar, but it’s a little loose when worn with a no-collar base layer and can let cold air inside.
Buy Now: Visit Velocio.cc
The Bottom Line
For cold-weather riding, the Velocio Alpha Air Merino Jacket is a great choice. The sleeve and hem lengths are perfect for coverage and the weather protection is just right. I appreciate the warmth and moisture management that Polartec Alpha provides and feel it is the ideal insulator for cycling jackets. A few tweaks would make this jacket even better -- most notably a fleece underarm insert for added airflow and breathability. Other than that, I willingly grab this jacket for all my cold-weather rides.
- Polartec Alpha Merino is the best cycling insulation
- Wicks away moisture like a champ
- Versatile for riding temps between 35-55 degrees
- Two-way zipper is a must-have
- Great wind protection and just enough moisture protection
- Large jersey pockets that carry a lot of stuff
- Could use a fleece underarm panel for added airflow
- Collar diameter is a little large
- Pockets do sit lower than usual
- Weather Protection