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Yes, Velocio’s Zero HL jacket is expensive for a single piece of cycling apparel, but how much do you value comfort and warmth on winter’s nastiest days? This bright blue jacket has been an indispensable part of our wardrobe as the cold weather has closed in.
The Zero HL is noticeably different than other heavy-duty cycling shells we’ve worn. Unlike most, which are intended to layer with thermal jerseys beneath, the Zero HL affords significant insulation with fuzzy panels of Polartec on the front, sleeves, and collar. The shiny, silver wind-stopping material is a little less obvious, but if you unzip the front hand pockets or the breast pocket, you’ll see another key component that makes this jacket extra-warm. That material is combined with breathable panels on the back and behind the sleeves — these panels helped keep things cool when the sun came out or the pace picked up.
Velocio has included some other nice details, like a bottom zipper to offer another venting option on the climbs. There are reflective details on the arms too.
This jacket runs rather small, so if you’re planning on wearing extra layers underneath, consider sizing up. We did so, and it offered a comfortable fit that was trim enough for road riding but not too long in the arms or at the waist.
On the road, the Zero HL is remarkably warm. We wore a simple short-sleeve jersey underneath on a day that was clear and in the mid-30s, and there was no need for extra insulation. If you are particularly gung-ho, Velocio’s jacket, combined with a layer or two of merino wool beneath, would let you ride in temperatures well below freezing.
Velocio’s jacket isn’t a pure rain shell, but the fabric is water-resistant, so it’ll be capable in most conditions — unless it’s pouring cats and dogs.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, this jacket is very warm, which can occasionally be a downside. The material is light and flexible, offering great mobility, but the fuzzy insulation means it won’t pack down to a particularly small size. You’ll have to unzip to cool off. With that in mind, we have to wonder if, instead of the two front hand pockets, the jacket would be better served by a pair of armpit zips instead. The breast pocket and three rear pockets provide plentiful storage.
Aside from that small quibble, we love the Velocio Zero HL jacket. Is it expensive? Definitely, but it’s on par with competitors — Rapha’s Classic Winter Jacket sells for $385.
If you get the Zero HL, be forewarned: Cold weather will no longer be a legit excuse for skipping those winter base miles.