Winter kit 2008
Where most seatpacks are fabric-based affairs, the Ortlief Mudracer has a thermoformed semi-hard shell to keep out the elements. If you've got stuff you need to take on a ride, and you need to keep it dry this is the seatpack for you.
The Mudpack's weather protection starts with a full zip protected by a silicon rubber flap which pulls down to keep water and debris out. Inside there's a zippered pocket at the top that's just big enough for a phone, and a soft padded main compartment that'll swallow a spare tube, a basic toolkit and some energy bars.
The Light & Motion Stella is a single bulb LED encased in a sturdy Aluminium and resin case and powered by a tiny rechargeable pack.
What an incredibly warm jacket! This is a jacket for those cold day when the weather is really set in!
The Vortex feels light weight despite offering exceptional warmth. The freedom of movement it allows through the Thermastretch back and elasticated trim make this a good option for longer rides.
Four good sized pockets plus a a zipped pocket for stuff like credit cards and mobile phones, means there's plenty of storage for the bits and pieces you need to take on a ride.
Rapha’s long sleeve jersey is made from mid-weight Sportwool, a 50:50 mix of merino wool and polyester, so it’s soft and comfy next to your skin, it’s warm, it wicks sweat away well, it’s resistant to odour…
Basically, it’s one of the stars of the range. You don’t get the warmth of a thick, brush-backed jersey, but it comes into its own on top of a base layer for off-season training rides, and underneath a gilet or windproof shell when the temperature really plummets.
With a healthy dollop of Scotchlite on all sides these overshoes are certainly a worthwhile addition to your night armoury, and the fact that your feet are constantly moving makes them even more visible. The fabric is a thin fleece with a waterproof PVC coating; it's stretchy, but not as stretchy as Neoprene, nor as warm. It is very windproof though, which is a bonus.
Let's get the tongue twister of a name out of the way first: I'll call it the Photon 4 from now to save my fingers. Essentially it's a torch, which splits in half at the base of the head, and the body is a Li-Ion battery that gives a stated run time of 2hrs on high beam. We didn't quite manage that long, but we got pretty close.
Winter's coming, and it's time to reach for the longer sleeves and thicker fabrics. The Polaris Niteride II is one you could reach for – updated for 2008 it features Therma-Stretch™ fabric, a windstopper layer, rear pockets, reflectives and a full-length zip. Does all this make for a comfy Winter jersey? Let's start with the fabric. Therma-Stretch™ is a Polyester/Elastane mix that's like a heavy Roubaix lycra.
Where do Rapha find their wool? It says 100% extra fine Merino on the label but we know for a fact that no normal wool is this soft. They must have a whole flock of sheep hidden away somewhere that are fed exclusively on marshmallows and soufflé. And, if wool like this exists, why did we have to endure that Brillo Pad stuff for years?