Champion C9 softshell jacket at Target
I came across the Champion softshell jackets while waiting for my wife to try on some clothes and bought one to use as a winter shell. For $30 (reg $35) it'll make a nice jacket/shell for winter cycling.
It’s slightly stretchy material with a light fleece backing. It's cut long in the rear for full coverage while cycling (or running, its intended purpose). The material is wind and water resistant. While it does not have specific ventilation such as zip pits, it has two side pocket zippers that extend from near the armpit to 3/4 the way to the bottom. The pockets are mesh inside, so the zippers provide significant ventilation.
I've worn it on a 30 mile workout ride at 42F with just a long sleeve baselayer (and appropriate covering for other body parts of course). It became a bit too warm until I vented with the pocket zippers. I expect that it will work well at much lower temperatures with the proper layering.
In the past I simply layered as needed with a cycling windbreaker as the final layer. The downside of that system is that at low temps too much sweat would condense inside the windbreaker, eliminating breath-ability and causing me to get soaked by the end of the ride. I also found the flapping of windbreaker material to be a little annoying.
I thought I'd pass this along to folks that might be interested in getting started cold weather cycling for very little $$ outlay.
Last edited by rogerstg; 11-08-10 at 05:46 PM.