3 of the best: softshell riding tops for off-road
Enduro21 takes a look at three of the best off-road clothing options for keeping the chill air, wind or rain off your upper body when you’re riding enduro or out on the trails.
We all know that the weather can be changeable when we’re riding off-road. Temperature differences between early mornings or just the difference in body temperature as we go from stone cold to boiling depending on how hard we’re working on the bike or how fast we’re moving.
You know the scenario, you don’t want to wear a jacket because you know it’ll be too hot but just a jersey isn’t going to be enough. And what about that rain shower expected later in the day?
This is where a gilet or softshell riding top comes in super-handy as an addition to your riding kit. It’s a practical solution when you’re on the bike and away from a kit bag and the answer to a perennial problem.
Enduro21 has taken a look at three of the best options on the market, products we’ve tried and tested and each with a slightly different take on this issue but which won’t break the bank.
Rules of engagement – what a softshell needs to do:
- Keep the wind and cold off your torso, maybe keep the rain off as well
- It should keep you warm but be breathable
- Be easy to put on or take off
- Not be bulky or get in the way of riding
- Be easily stowable
ACERBIS Rain Vest
Enduro21 quick verdict: light, gilet-style top which is waterproof. Easily rolls up for stowage inside its own (waterproof) chest pocket or in a backpack/bumbag. Less tight-fitting than some but that means it fits quickly and easily over other clothing, armour and even smaller hydration packs.
- Outer waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane
- Taped seams with over flap at top/neck
- Sport fit with room to be worn with or without body protection
- Pocket on chest area to pack items inside it
- Race number visible through material
- Stretchable neck and cuff
- Refractive Acerbis logo and applications on the front and back
Sizes: S to XXXL
AMPED Softshell Gilet
Enduro21 quick verdict: Simple and effective gilet-style garment which is light, durable and fits closer to the body. Front material acts well as wind stop but the airier rear material allows body heat out and the high neck is a bonus on colder days. A pocket somewhere on it would be handy.
- Comfort fit
- Good mid-layer option
- Breathable fabric including rear panel
- High collar
- Longer shaped back panel with elastane hem with rubber gripper
- Soft athletic stretch fabric
- Full front zip with inner storm flap
- Pocket free to aid streamline contour shape
Sizes: S to XXXL
SCOTT Light DP Rain Jacket
Enduro21 quick verdict: waterproof and light to wear plus it fits well over riding gear including a small hydration pack, even over a light enduro jacket making it a speedy way of covering up in a downpour. Sleeves are (obviously) the big difference here plus the bumbag pack which clips almost unnoticed around your waist on a trail.
- Stretchable and breathable outer material
- Waterproof laminated DRYOsphere membrane
- Comfortable high collar system
- Easy zip weather protection with wide inside flap
- Elasticated at waist, collar and cuff
- Comes with a transportation bag on an elasticated strap
Sizes: S to XXXL
Photo Credit: Tilde Tighe | FOTO-X