Review: Bontrager Velocis S1 SoftShell Jacket
- Product: Velocis S1 SoftShell Jacket
- Price: £119.99
- From: Trek
- Tested: 4 months
- Tested By: Rob Dobson
The Bontrager Velocis S1 is designed for cold, but not freezing conditions. Sounds exactly like Spring in the UK then…
At the time of writing the Trek website was listing the jacket as being 20,000mm waterproof. This is about as waterproof as it gets. However, you should note that only the chest and side panels of the S1 (black fabric in these images) are in fact windproof and waterproof. Nevertheless, the jacket does not disappoint. I have tested the jacket (in black/grey – black/red and visibility yellow versions are available) through November to March and it performed very well as per the rest of Trek’s advertising.
There are some thoughtful design features. The rear pockets are a good size, two of which have zips. A fourth chest pocket is the right size for a mobile phone, with guides for ‘internal routing’ of headphone cables. The silicone grippers around the waist do a good job of keeping the jacket in place around your rump, and there are reflective elements to aid visibility. The fabric on the back of the neck is perforated for ventilation, which I really felt the value of in comparison to my other softshell jacket which does get hot under the collar. By placing the water and wind proofing where you really need it, you get the main benefits but it also helps keep the weight of the garment, and I assume its price, down.
For above freezing rides of between 2 and 10 degrees, with a base layer, it was ideal. The S1 uses Cocona’s 37.5 fabric on the back panel. Cocona says that the body strives to maintain an ideal core body temperature of 37.5° C and that you are most comfortable when the microclimate next to your skin has a relative humidity close to 37.5%. Cocona claim that their fabric helps your body manage the moisture in your microclimate to keep you in this “37.5 zone.” Cocona also use this fabric in bedding products, and their marketing team recently sent the White House a personalised duvet cover to “help President Trump sleep through the night and skip tweeting.” It may not have had the desired effect on Donald, but I have found the wicking properties of the S1 to be very good.
Though not made entirely of waterproof fabric, this had no impact on my warmth and comfort when riding in rain at temperatures of around 10°C. Indeed, such is the comfort of the soft fleecy inner lining, I wondered if a softshell of this quality gives you everything you could need in a jacket? For me, not quite, but nearly. If you are susceptible to the cold, at zero to 5°C you might want to use the S1 as a mid-layer; the “fitted” sizing of the S1 meant that I didn’t feel too bulky with a more relaxed fit waterproof jacket over the top. However, if riding in freezing rain and sleet is something you avoid, then the Bontrager Velocis S1 SoftShell will represent very good value for money for very many riders. I’m impressed.