Dark, yet bright
Beauty is such a curse. Thankfully, there’s no need to hide in winter.
A torso and arms are probably the most visible parts of a rider. As such, in the cooler winter months, we need jerseys that act as a barrier against the elements, but also demonstrate aero and eye-catching, visible properties.
Say, “hello” to the Velotec Extreme LSJ.
Why this jersey?
Let’s be frank: the winter jersey that is the benchmark for all is the Castelli Gabba.
Since then, Castelli have perfected the famous Gabba through an array of iterations – removable arms, and SSJ version and most recently, the trimmed down version, perfect for this island, by way of the Prefetto. Now, that’s an almost perfect winter jersey.
As much as we respect the Castelli wardrobe, there are alternatives. Admittedly, one could certainly consider them as imitations, but as some say: an imitation can also be viewed as a compliment.
Why consider the Extreme jersey?
Before putting an order through, we were fortunate enough to test a jersey for a season before committing. A not-so-good summer jersey can be redeemed quite easily, but getting the winter wardrobe wrong can be a major mistake: it can ruin a ride, and worse still, end up with a cold.
The Extreme jersey doesn’t let you down over the cold months. First off, it is aero. Secondly, the heat/moisture management system is excellent – one can race in this jersey.
On the inside of the fabric one will find a light-roubaix, whilst the outside is a smooth water resistant finish.
The Extreme jersey was developed with the Arkea Pro-Team. That’s not the reason we chose it, but it’s good to know that it is tested in partnership with people who race for living.
How does it work?
Besides being designed for and tested for world tour cycling team, the Extreme jersey was rigorously tested in real conditions before approval for sale. Although we don’t know the exact membrane combination, it is clear that at least 3 materials are used to maximum effect.
As mentioned the inside is made of minimalist roubaix. It is completed on the outside by a fine finish that resists rain, puddle-splash and the winds. But also does well with the all-important wicking management.
The third material caters for the back pockets and stowaway rear-tail-flap. As one would hope, it is highly water resistant and is also handy to keep things cosy.
Does it work?
Is it warm when it’s cold? Yes. Combined with the right base layer, one can wear this to below freezing. However, I didn’t need this above 10 degrees celsius.
Is it aero and good enough to race in? Absolutely. As with anything, if you get the right size it will work marvellously. I am 5’7 tall and 65 kilos; the size small is perfect – it isn’t a women’s fit, but it works well. At 5’9, and 73 kilos, Lowell takes a size medium.
Is it rainproof? We’ve had 2 seasons with this jersey and it hasn’t let us down in the cold and light rain conditions. Anything wetter, and you’ll either want a dedicated raincoat, or shouldn’t be riding at all.
Is it visible enough for dark mornings and nights? The Baroudeurs have an alternative jersey for very dry days – the Kalas Temps jersey in red. However, if conditions are changeable, the Extreme by Velotec, is my go-to jersey. In my opinion, adding the reflectors is a good addition. They cover the chest, shoulders, back and rear. Coupled with good lights, I believe a Baroudeur donning the Extreme jersey will be a well-protected rider.
What could be improved?
As mentioned, I wasn’t able to get a women’s cut. Currently, one is limited to the men’s version. For me, this is okay, but for all riders to benefit and to demonstrate true inclusion of all body types, it would make good business sense for Velotec to offer a comprehensive range.
Beyond that, the cut is very good. There are members from 5-foot to 6-foot-plus, who find the Extreme a favoured addition to the winter wardrobe.
Our version of the jersey isn’t waterproof. This is because we didn’t opt for taped seams. We haven’t used it in soaking conditions, so would recommend going for the taped option
At circa £110 a piece + shipping and customs, it sits comfortably in the mid-to-top end of winter jerseys. However, there is an MOQ of 10 pieces, which may prohibit some.
The low down
Is the Velotec Extreme the best LSJ out there? Possibly not.
However, after 2 long winter seasons it has not once let me down. I get cold easily. Most of the time, I can beat this by pedalling harder. But, on less favourable days – a good base layer and a gilet make the Extreme LSJ an excellent winter companion.
My favourite design points are nothing new, but well executed: the rear tail is long enough to offer complete rear cover, but not prohibitive when riding. Most other jerseys simply offer a token flap. The pockets are deep and have a cover to keep all good safe and sound.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with Velotec. We simply like their ideas. You can find a range of reviews here ::