[This article was last updated on January 15, 2018]
It's chilly out there and it'll probably get colder before winter's gone. Now is the time to make sure you're ready for the cold temperatures with the right cycling clothing to keep you warm on the club run or the ride to and from the office.
We get asked all the time what clothing we recommend and seeing as we've tested hundreds of cycling garments over the years, we've put our heads together and collected some of our favourite cold weather clobber. This is the stuff that we still use regularly long after the review is published, so when we say it's good, we really mean it.
We've linked through to the full reviews on each product so you can read our full verdict on each, and via the headline, to somewhere you can buy it.
The Prendas Meraklon arm warmers are basic but they do a good job and come at an amazingly cheap price.
They're essentially tubes of polypropylene (58%), nylon (40%) and elastane (2%) with a ribbed top and a more tightly woven cuff section at the bottom. A little more air gets through than with fleecy Roubaix fabrics but they're warmer than skinny Lycra warmers – they split the difference between the two. We found them a good option for typical spring/autumn conditions.
Warm, very water-resistant and extremely well-priced for the quality, these are probably the best arm warmers on the market at the moment.
Featuring the mid-weight style of the Aeron Rain Defence range, these arm warmers are well up to the task of insulating you from the cold. The rain resistance they offer is very impressive, while the thickness of the fabric provides insulation even if water manages to seep through, which it did on one occasion in a fantastic 20-minute deluge.
Wales-based howies are on good form at the moment, knocking out some really nicely designed and reasonably priced cycling clothing. The long-sleeved version of the Cadence jersey is another case in point. It's a really comfortable and versatile cycling top for Autumn and Spring temperatures, or as a layer under a softshell or waterproof shell the weather is chillier.
Gore's Element Urban Windstopper Soft Shell Pants are an interesting and practical set of casual commuting trousers. As windproof and waterproof as you would expect from Gore, with several practical, high-vis elements, they're very good – once you've found the right size.
Wearing Lycra doesn't suit every situation. Try walking into a proper London pub, going to a football match or going clubbing in bib shorts – you get strange looks. So having a set of trousers that can do most of what Lycra can but without the social stigma that the 'uninitiated' put on it is nice. Step forward the Element Urban Windstoppers.
As you might suspect from the name, the trousers are designed to be both windproof and waterproof. Given that these are a Gore product, it's not surprising to hear that they excel in these areas. The rain beads against the material and the wind batters it but nothing gets through.
The Holborn skirt/leggings combo from Road Rags is possibly the most comfortable item of clothing I've ever worn. The Holborn takes the best aspects of lycra tights - stretchy, form fitting and moves with you - and transforms them into something that you could genuinely enter a pub in without looking like a cyclist.
Madison's Sportive PU Thermal overshoes are a great option for wet weather riding, with the added thermal benefits providing some much-appreciated insulation. Although described as a mid-weight overshoe by Madison, they don't struggle when the temperature gets down to low single figures.
Wiggle's in-house clothing brand, Dhb brings fantastic value to its Classic Roubaix bib tights, teamed with top performance. At their £55 RRP these bib tights are knocking around the bottom rungs of the cost ladder, but punch way above their weight for comfort, warmth, chamois quality and fit. Most importantly, the Roubaix fabric is constructed of a mix of 86% polyamide and 14% elastane for the entirety of the tights. It's extremely comfortable, flexible and warm – easily capable of dealing with temperatures close to freezing.
Endura's Pro SL Biblongs are excellent: they're windproof, fit superbly, and the pad comes in three widths, offering a little customisation.
At the core of the longs is the four-way stretch windproof, breathable fabric with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish front and seat panels. This panelling of fabrics gives the longs a very comfortable fit. On the bike, they fitted me perfectly with no bunching of material at the back of the knee.
Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Socks are a good thing to have in the drawer once the cold and wet weather draws in. There are some UK conditions that will breach any foot fortifications, but these socks are a great last line of defence.
Decathlon's in-house cycling brand B'Twin rarely fails to deliver on the whole bang for buck ratio, and it's the same story here. For the performance and quality you get with the 900 Warm Long Sleeve Jersey (previously known as the 700 jersey), you'd probably expect to pay much more.
The 900 Warm is a pretty simple jersey. You get a fleece-lined fabric that's warm enough in the spring and autumn down to say 5-6°C with a simple baselayer beneath, and if things drop towards freezing it's thin enough that you can layer it up easily under a jacket.
Gore Bike Wear offers a somewhat bewildering choice of jerseys and jackets, but if you're after a lightweight, slim fitting top that offers wind and rain protection with excellent breathability for three-season use, the Power Gore Windstopper Long Sleeve Jersey is a top pick.
Made from Gore's iconic Windstopper fabric, the Power jersey is ideal at dealing with the constantly changing weather conditions of spring, summer and autumn. Wear it over a lightweight baselayer and it can cope with a really wide band of temperatures, from nudging zero up to high teens. That versatility makes it easy to dress for virtually any ride, so you can spend less time making tricky clothing decision and more time pressing the pedals.
Designed for those rides when you don't want to wear bib shorts, these Rapha Women's Tights are made from a comfortable high-stretch fabric. You honestly wont feel you even have them on.
Want a technical winter baselayer that will allow you to keep the other layers off? B'Twin's Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer could be the answer.
Baselayers – generally speaking – tend to be thin layers of fabric that help provide a passage for sweat to move from skin to the outside, and as a result perform a key function in keeping the body warm when needed, and cool when not.
B'Twin's Aerofit is a technically constructed top with a race cut that's designed to do the former and help you resist the cold thanks primarily to its slightly thicker construction and front windproof panel. Putting it on is like donning body armour – genuinely making the cold outside seem a little less hostile compared with thin merino-blended baselayers and giving you the confidence to shed a layer when heading out.
Rapha's Pro Team jacket combines a supremely good fit with a softshell material that fends off bad weather with ease. For cyclists who like to ride hard and fast all the time, the breathability and protection of this jacket is outstanding.
Showers Pass Crosspoint Softshell WP gloves will keep your hands dry and toasty even in a hard winter.
The Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell is an exceptionally breathable, fully-fledged miserable-weather jacket with a host of features but no excess faff. It's a cracker.
Endura has used a three-layer Exoshell40 fabric (in black or fluoro green) of amazing thinness and only 70g per square metre (for reference, even a thin merino baselayer is twice that). The fabric can apparently breathe 60 litres of moisture per square metre per day, and has a waterproofness measure of 18,000mm (meaning a tube of water 18m tall with a patch of the fabric over the bottom wouldn't seep through). The whole thing is fully tape-sealed – even around the small square stretchy panels near the hip. It's a masterclass in detailing.
When you want high quality cycle clothing for the winter, Swedish brand Craft is one company that always stands out for us. They make excellent cold weather clothing that generally fits really well and works superbly in the chillier conditions of autumn and winter, and these Storm gloves are no exception.
Leg warmers aren't just for winter, well not in Britain anyway and a good pair are worth their weight in gold, these Castelli Thermoflex Leg Warmers something of a bargain.
Sealskinz' Belgian Style Cycling Cap is too toasty for temperatures above 10°C, but really comes into its own when temperatures drop to single figures. It was a vital companion last winter, and the latest version is reflective for gloomy-conditions visibility at no extra cost.
Lusso's thermal skull cap is a no-nonsense, close-fitting black hat that fits under your helmet and keeps your head remarkably warm considering it's not windproof. It doesn't cost much either.
The Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket offers a good fit, generous warmth for the chilliest winter rides, looks smart and is reasonably priced. A windproof and water resistant fabric is used for the front, side panels and shoulders, with a thermal Roubaix back panel. It's a combination that provides good insulation for cold rides while keeping the wind out. It does a good job of keeping the rain out too. It's not ideal for prolonged downpours, but get caught in a short shower, and you'll be just fine.
The Ashmei Cycle Softshell Jacket is a very high-quality top that's particularly suited to spring and autumn days, and it comes with a multitude of excellent features. It's an incredibly well designed piece of kit.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.