The Specialized Women's RBX Softshell Jacket is a good choice if you're looking for a performance jacket that can withstand bad, but not extreme, weather conditions. With its thick yet breathable softshell material, it's warm, windproof and has a bit of water resistance, though its lack of elasticity and loose fit in places won't suit everyone.
Check out other options in our guide to the best winter cycling jackets.
With its RBX Softshell, Specialized promises the perfect jacket for the in-between temperatures of the 'shoulder' seasons – not deep winter, not high summer. From that perspective, it absolutely delivers. In fact, with a decent baselayer underneath, you can comfortably ride in temperatures around freezing.
The polyester fabric has a cosy, fleece-like feel inside, and the elasticated hem and silicone strip keep the jacket in place so it doesn't rise up at the back.
On warmer days, when the temperature rises above, say, 12°C, it can get a bit warm, but I found it breathable enough to wear comfortably on a fast 45-minute commute with a heavy backpack. The zip feels very sturdy, but it's not two-way so there's no option to open the jacket from the bottom.
Note that some of the information on Specialized's website is incorrect – this softshell doesn't have a DWR treatment and waterproof membrane (or a zipped pocket, as shown at the bottom of the page).
While the jacket is water-resistant, it's not waterproof. It is sufficient for a bit of light rain or a damp commute, but if you're planning on riding in a downpour then you might want to look for a different option or at least pack a rain jacket.
It's a good all-rounder and will definitely cover a good chunk of autumn, winter and spring.
The jacket is designed for everyday riding and has a slightly relaxed fit, making it a good choice for daily commuting or Sunday rides. The fabric isn't particularly stretchy and the jacket doesn't sit that neatly against the skin (not helped by quite chunky stitching on the arms and chest), though it's not so loose that it flaps, and there is space to layer up with a good sports bra, short sleeve thermal tank top and a long sleeve baselayer on the coldest days.
It comes up true to size, with good length in the sleeves, though the collar felt slightly tight on me and I think breast darts would make for a better fit on the chest.
The jacket feels well made and built to last, and it washed well in the machine, the nice maroon colour not running into other clothes.
Value for money
At £150, it's a not a cheap option, but it's still competitive compared with similar 'jackets' such as the Castelli Dinamica (£225) and Rapha's Women's Pro Team Long Sleeve Gore-Tex Infinium Jersey (£220).
> Read more road.cc reviews of women’s cycling kit here
That said, there are winter softshell jackets out there that cost a lot less, such as Decathlon's Van Rysel Women's Sportive Cold Weather Jacket, available from just £49.99, and Galibier's Female specific Route Training jacket for £59.22.
Overall, I'd say this jacket is a good all-rounder that should keep you cosy from the start of autumn to the end of spring, as long as the weather isn't too wet. If you don't mind a looser fit and carrying a light rain jacket in case of a downpour, it's great for everyday riding, and a good investment on account of its solid construction and versatility.
Sturdy and warm yet breathable – ideal for three seasons in the UK
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Make and model: Specialized Women's RBX Softshell Jacket
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Specialized says: "While finding the perfect jacket at either end of the temperature spectrum is pretty easy the temperature range in between is where you'll spend the majority of your time on the road - and that's where the RBX Softshell Jacket shines. It's stretchy wind- and water-resistant and is sure to keep you warm in the shoulder season."
The jacket is a great in-between seasons or even good winter jacket for temperatures around 5-10°C, if you wear a long sleeve baselayer. It is protective against the wind, and is relatively waterproof for an hour or so in very light rain. It won't sustain prolonged exposure to a heavy downpour, though.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
The jacket is made mostly of polyester (88%) and polyurethane for the main construction, and only the inserts under the arms contain elastane, which makes it snug but also lacks some elasticity and breathability, which you would get with fabrics such as merino. The cut is snug, but with the lack of elasticity, the fabric does not sit flat on the skin and therefore the jacket can feel a bit bulky or loose in places. Not a race fit then, but perfectly adequate for a group training ride.
The outside of the jacket has good tight stitching, protecting you from light rain and wind, while the inside is almost fleece like, making the jacket warm enough for a long ride. The zip feels very solid. The bottom of the jacket is very elastic and has a generous rubber band so the jacket stays nicely in place. The three back pockets are of a good size, and one can accommodate headphones, but it is lacking a zipped pocket. There are four little reflective bands: two on the pockets, and one on each sleeves. These could be slightly bigger, considering none of the colour options offered are very bright.
Specialized's website lists:
Three back pockets help to secure all your ride needs, right where you want them.
Fabric Content: FRONT 88% Polyester, 12% Polyurethane - OTHER 84% Polyamide, 16% Elastane
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
Feels sturdy. The stitching is quite bulky in places (likely because of the fabric thickness) and tended to annoy me a little on the breast while riding.
Rate the jacket for performance:
It performs very well against the wind, and with a long sleeve baselayer underneath it did a great job of keeping me toasty and happy. The fabric inside is soft and feels almost like fleece.
I would not keep it exposed to rain for too long without adding a rain jacket. It dries relatively fast, but still takes time as it is quite a thick fabric.
The band at the bottom of the jacket is wide and does a good job preventing it rising.
Rate the jacket for durability:
Early days but it seems durable.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
It is not a waterproof jacket per se. It keeps light rain at bay thanks to the thick fabric, but in heavy rain or if you stay out in light rain for a prolonged period of time you would get very wet indeed.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
It is breathable enough considering how good it is at stopping the wind. The fabric is slightly thinner under the armpits and on the sides to help the skin breathe. With a heavy backpack on the commute, my back stayed relatively sweat free, avoiding getting cold at each stop on the road.
Rate the jacket for fit:
It is lacking some elasticity, which prevents it from sitting flat on the skin and can make it look slightly unflattering. It is not so loose that it is floppy, but it isn't the best fit. The stitching is quite bulky in places too (likely because of the fabric's thickness) and tended to annoy me a little on the breast and arms. Breast darts would make for a better fit.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
True to size and good length on the arms.
Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Not quite stretchy enough and a bit too snug at the neck for my liking, but the fabric feels nice and cosy.
Rate the jacket for value:
Expensive, though you can still spend more on similar jackets from competitors. There are much cheaper options though.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Pretty easy to care for. The colour did not leak into other clothes during a wash. I washed it at 40°C and also put it in the dryer against the manufacturer's recommendations, and it came out just fine.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, it's a great jacket for commuting or leisure rides. Not a race fit but perfect for those days where you need to feel snug without getting too warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The maroon colour was lovely, the fabric is thick and feels windproof, the zip is solid, and the sleeve length is just right.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Seams are quite thick, and it isn't stretchy enough and consequently feels a bit bulky. More reflectives would be good, too.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's less than some top-end softshells from the likes of Castelli and Rapha, but others, as mentioned in the review, are a lot cheaper.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Despite lacking a bit of comfort due to its bulkiness, it's a good jacket for the price. It's a great choice for the start and end of long winter rides, and for commuting. A nice all-rounder that looks good off the bike too.
Age: 34 Height: 180 Weight: 73
I usually ride: Wilier Triestina Filante My best bike is: Pinarello F8
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra distance racing
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