If the bright red color with signature white striping doesn’t get your attention, the price tag on Ashmei’s softshell probably will. Fortunately, this piece’s quality construction, superior fit, timeless aesthetic, and well-planned details mostly justify the price.
Ashmei’s Cycle Softshell is actually made from a combination of lightweight softshell material and a Merino wool blend that regulates temperature while protecting you from the elements. A fully waterproof and breathable front works in conjunction with the Merino blend on the back and under the arms to provide a tailored, race-cut fit with enough stretch for full range of motion.
Its minimal bulk and weight shouldn’t fool you though: It’s a proper softshell that held up well to some surprise winter storms as well as clear days in the 30-40 degree range. To offset the surprising warmth, zippered side vents help regulate your body temperature during hard efforts, and the well-concealed YKK zippers are paired with pulls that are easy to find and operate while riding with thick gloves.
The long sleeves have waterproof softshell material on the top, and the Merino blend on the underside facilitates both fit and ventilation. The cuffs also have a thin, longer-length weather guard that easily tucks into your gloves to prevent exposed skin.
An offset waterproof front zipper features a substantial, easy-to-use-with-gloves zipper pull. There’s a slim pocket built into the internal zipper flap that Ashmei calls a key pocket, but is too small to fit most keys. If it were just a bit wider, a house key might fit, but certainly not a car key or fob.
The three decently sized rear pockets have elastic to help keep the contents inside. An additional zip pocket holds your ID and credit card inside the left pocket, while a waterproof external zip phone pocket is integrated into the right pocket with a cord port to the inside of the jacket. The center back pocket has an elastic loop with silicone grip to secure your pump on rough roads and steep descents. A drop tail is tucked inside the jacket with magnets but is easily pulled down when needed.
The white bands across the left breast and down the back are reflective and attractive, but white on any foul-weather outerwear eventually shows stains and discoloration. This always seems to hurt a bit more when the garment is this expensive.
Certainly, this jacket comes with a premium price, but Ashmei has provided some very well thought-out features and created a premium product to back up that price.
This review was written by Brittany Jones.