This softshell jacket marks Sub Zero’s first attempt at getting noticed in the mountain bike world. The idea of a softshell is to combine the best aspects of traditional warm fleeces and non-insulating but waterproof, hardshell jackets. It’s more about being breathable and keeping you warm and mostly dry than all-out extreme waterproofing.
The fabric is actually two-and-a-bit fabrics in one. The inner is 100 percent polyester. The outer is a mix of 97 percent polyester and 3 percent elastane, and it’s bound together by a breathable windproof laminate. It’s high-tech fabric and no mistake.
The elastane gives the Sub Zero a degree of four-way stretchiness, while the smooth outer surface beads and sheds rain (and puddle) water very well. As a bonus, it also stops the jacket from snagging on bushes and branches when things get a bit wild on spring trails. The extremely soft inner material is cosy and comfortable against bare skin, so it’s versatile with short-sleeve base layers on muggy days.
The performance of the fabric of this jacket is brilliant; in fact, we’ll go as far as saying it’s one of the best softshell fabrics we’ve encountered so far.
Feature-wise, you get two useful, zip-secured hand pockets and a seldom-used zipped arm pocket. The full-length zip has an effective wind baffle behind it and a nice garage at the top.
The tailoring of the body is good; nicely fitted and with a well-dropped tail. The arms, on the other hand, are something of a niggle. Although nicely articulated they’re just a bit too short on the bike. The rubbery vlcro cuff adjuster tabs are also a bit bulky and bunchy, but with slightly longer arms and slimmed cuffs this jacket would be perfect.