With a couple of tweaks, the Huub Aventus Winter Peaks would be an excellent winter jacket. If Huub could build in a little more breathability, rework the zip and maybe reconsider the rear flap (for traditional mudguard bike riders) it would be hard to fault at this price.
Could be more breathable
Rear flap won't be for everyone
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The Huub Aventus Winter Peaks jacket is part of a new cycling range from the British company that sponsors, with Wattbike, the UK’s most famously innovative track team. Huub says it is the result of a year-long project to find the best options for fabrics, fit, aero benefit and pattern design to deliver all-day comfort in the saddle. The jacket is also designed with the riders themselves: Huub Wattbike's Dan Bigham et al race on the road for Ribble Weldtite, with Huub as kit sponsor.
It certainly stands up against the Best winter jackets with an origin story like that, so it's hard not to have very high hopes indeed for the Aventus jacket. It's also competitively priced compared to winter jackets from more established brands like Assos, Castelli and Santini. I found it mostly hit the mark with its performance and the close fit is great, but for me there's still a short snagging list for Huub to deal with: I'm not convinced by the long tail flap, I'd like the zip reworking, and I wonder if using windproof fabric on the back as well as the front makes it a bit too warm for hard riding.
Huub Aventus Winter Peaks jacket: construction
Huub says the Aventus Winter Peaks jacket has a recommended temperature range of -2°C to 13°C. It refers to a waterproof membrane but doesn’t claim outright that the jacket is waterproof – just that it “keeps cold air out, keeping you warm and dry for maximum all day comfort in the coldest conditions."
It’s a softshell-type winter jacket that's mostly made from a patented fabric by eVent called DVstorm. This is very stretchy – I’ve never seen a winter jacket with this much stretch – and very light. The DVstorm fabric has a micro-herringbone patterned back that’s soft but not fleecy. The only part of the jacket where DVstorm isn’t used is under the arms, where there are triangular pieces of standard fleece-backed polyester.
The stretchiness means the Aventus can be very close fitting. Huub recommends sizing up by one size. I actually found the medium was perfect (I'm 178cm, 69kg). If you follow the accurate guide on the website – and want a snug fit – you shouldn’t need to size up.
The Aventus has the standard three rear pockets with a waterproof zipped one – these are nice and deep and don’t sag. There’s also the reflective trim at the back.
But probably what’s not quite standard is the weatherproof tail flap. For starters it looks a little odd since the rest of the jacket is so close fitting. More importantly, is it necessary? Am I am the only one who would rather see a flap at the bottom of a mudguard than at the bottom of a jacket? Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tuck it away invisibly since it actually emerges from the bottom hem, but it could probably be carefully excised if you really objected to it. Some riders less inclined towards mudguards may appreciate the tail flap of course.
Something else I would like to see tucked away is the front zip. It’s missing a top zip ‘garage', which means that it not only sits directly against the skin of the neck, but also looks untidy since the external flap (I believe this type is called a ‘lapped zipper’) doesn’t cover the puller. I’m getting a similar sausaging of the zip flap at the bottom. A better, more aesthetically pleasing – and probably more weatherproof – solution would be to put the flap behind the zip, as the Rapha Pro Team Winter and Santini Vega Multi jackets I’ve tested this year have done.
There are two more zips at the sides, which are not pockets but air intakes for extra ventilation.
My first ride in the Huub Aventus Winter Peaks was in 2°C that felt like 0°C due to a 7mph NW wind according to Strava. I wore a short-sleeved winter base layer underneath and was impressed with the way the fabric kept the wind out. The zip, despite its aesthetic shortcomings, sealed the top of the high neck really well and I was able to warm up and stay warm very easily. During this lockdown I’m often riding hard on my own on a Sunday morning for between an hour and two hours, which tests a jacket’s breathability more than a longer, slower club run would. I found the DVstorm fabric not quite as effective as Polartec Power Shield Pro or Gore Windstopper at releasing moisture/sweat/condensation in cold weather, and I wonder if the back of the jacket wouldn't be better off made from a lighter-weight, more breathable fabric, which would solve this.
However, I found the Aventus performed extremely well in milder, wetter weather at an easier pace. On a slower night ride at 10°C which started out drizzly and ended up light-rainy I found myself completely dry at the end, all raindrops having beaded off the fabric, and I had stayed at the perfect temperature throughout, again with just a short-sleeved base layer underneath. I also tested it in heavier rain and the fabric did wet out eventually, absorbing water, although I stayed warm enough. You'd need a waterproof hardshell over the top to stay perfectly dry, but as I've mentioned, Huub does not actually claim it's waterproof.
So, the Huub Aventus Winter Peaks jacket would excel on a typical British club run three seasons out of four, but if it was to strengthen its training game, which would also be logical considering its racing links, it would need a little more breathability.
Huub could probably leverage its association with the much admired Huub Wattbike team to set a higher RRP, so it’s to its credit that the price is lower than Assos, Castelli and Santini. This also means reviewers can go easier on the Huub Aventis for not being quite at the level of those £200-plus jackets at the moment.
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