[This review was taken from a column that I originally wrote for Out There Monthly].
I’ve written a number of times (here, here, and here) about the Ibex Dash Hybrid jacket. The jacket has a soft-shell wind and water resistant front made from “Climawool.” Climawool is a herringbone woven fabric that has many of the same qualities of Schoeller. The back of the jacket is made of a woven wool and spandex blend. So the front keeps the wind and moisture out, while the back of the jacket lets the heat escape while keeping you happy and warm.
I forever pledged my allegiance to the Dash Hybrid on a rainy 80 mile ride last fall where the average temperature was 38 degrees. I was damp but warm the entire time. No other jacket has ever performed like that for me.
The Dash Hybrid is a great jacket, so I was bummed when it fell out of the Ibex lineup a year ago. I wrote to Ibex and asked why they dumped the jacket. The response was that a new and better version was on the way in 2009. So, a couple months ago, when the 2009 Vim Hybrid was introduced, I wrote again to Ibex and asked if they would send me a jacket to review.
I’ve been using the jacket for a month or so and here’s the skinny. The Vim Hybrid ($195) is a great 3-season, all purpose jacket. Like all things Ibex, the jacket is extremely well-made, looks nice, and is super comfortable.
Unfortunately however, it’s not an improvement on the Dash Hybrid. The Vim Hybrid is a much thinner jacket than the Dash; I can’t get it to keep me warm in temperatures under 30 F without adding too many layers under it. For a cycling jacket, I want a form-fitting jacket that feels good with one or two thin layers underneath. With the Vim, to stay warm in the cold, I have to add too much bulk. The Dash, on the other hand, is weighted for colder weather. Two thin layers under the Dash are all I ever need to stay warm down to the teens.
Another disappointing aspect of the Vim Hybrid is that it’s not cycling specific. Unlike the Dash, which is cut a bit lower in the back, the Vim is a traditional cut, which exposes a bit of my lower back when I ride. The Vim also lacks the rear pocket. And instead of a small chest pocket the Dash has (perfect for a phone or an mp3 player), the Vim has two traditional hip pockets, which I think is the crummiest place for pockets on a cycling jacket.
I think the Vim would make a great 3-season, all-purpose jacket and I look forward to trying it out for early spring rides and trail running to see how it holds up to warmer and rainier days. But my plea to Ibex is to bring back the Dash Hybrid. The world needs a cycling-specific, technical, wool winter jacket, and the Vim is not it.