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A roundup of the best gear to fight the chill

It's getting chilly out there and it'll only get colder as winter rushes our way. 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.

Prendas Ciclismo Meraklon Special Edition arm warmers — £7.95

Prendas Meraklon Special Edition Armwarmers 1

Prendas Meraklon Special Edition Armwarmers 1

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.

Read our review of the Prendas Ciclismo Merkalon Special Edition arm warmers

dhb Aeron Rain Defence Arm Warmers — £22

dhb Aeron Rain Defence Arm Warmers.jpg

dhb Aeron Rain Defence Arm Warmers.jpg

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.

Read our review of the dhb Aeron Rain Defence Arm Warmers

Howies Cadence long-sleeved jersey — £79

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.

Read our review of the howies Cadence jersey

Vulpine Cotton Rain Trousers — £110

Vulpine's Men's Cotton Rain Trousers are a well made, superbly thought through pair of trousers that will keep you dry on the bike and looking stylish off it. They are available in a men and women's version.

Read our review of the Vulpine's Men's Cotton Rain Trousers

Road Rags Holborn leggings & skirt combination — £90

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.

Read our review of the Road Rags Holborn skirt/leggings combo

Caratti Deep Winter Waterproof Overshoes — £35

If you suffer with cold feet in the winter months, these are for you: Caratti's Deep Winter Overshoes are among the most insulated we've tried. Their waterproofing and build quality is impressive too.

Read our review of the Caratti Deep Winter Overshoes

Merlin Sport Cycling Bib Tights — £42.50

Merlin Sport Cycling Bib Tights.jpg

Merlin Sport Cycling Bib Tights.jpg

These mid-weight bibs are pretty much ideal for most milder winter days and cool spring or autumn rides, and I can even think of a few summer outings where I might have been glad of them.

The fleecy-backed polyamide/elastane tights reach well over the kidneys; above that, it's a mesh backing panel for better ventilation where it's needed.

Read our review of the Merlin Sport Cycling Bib Tights

Endura Pro SL Bib Tights — £152

Endura Pro SL Biblong - riding.jpg

Endura Pro SL Biblong - riding.jpg

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.

Read our review of the Endura Pro SL Bib Tights
Find an Endura dealer

SealSkinz Mid Weight Mid Length Socks — £42

Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock

Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Sock

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.

Read our review of the Sealskinz Mid Weight Mid Length Socks

B'Twin 900 Warm Long Sleeve Jersey — £34.99

BTwin 700 Warm Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey.jpg

BTwin 700 Warm Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey.jpg

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. 

Read our review of the B'Twin 900 Warm Long Sleeve Jersey

​Gore Power Windstopper long sleeve jersey — £149.99

Gore Power Windstopper long sleeve jersey - riding.jpg

Gore Power Windstopper long sleeve jersey - riding.jpg

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.

Read our review of the Gore Power Windstopper long sleeve jersey
Fine a Gore clothing dealer

Rapha ¾ women's tights — £150

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.

Read our review of the Rapha ¾ women's tights

B'Twin Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Baselayer — £29.99

BTwin Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer.jpg

BTwin Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer.jpg

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.

Read our review of the BTwin Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Baselayer

Rapha Pro Team Softshell Jacket — £160

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.

Read our review of the Rapha Pro Team jacket

Showers Pass Men's Crosspoint Softshell WP gloves — £61

Showers Pass Men's Softshell WP Gloves

Showers Pass Men's Softshell WP Gloves

Showers Pass Crosspoint Softshell WP gloves will keep your hands dry and toasty even in a hard winter.

Read our review of the Showers Pass Crosspoint Softshell WP gloves
Find a Showers Pass dealer

Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell — £156.50-£156.74

Endura FS260 Pro SL Shell - riding.jpg

Endura FS260 Pro SL Shell - riding.jpg

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.

Read our review of the Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell
Find an Endura dealer

Craft Storm Gloves — £24.99

Craft Storm Glove

Craft Storm Glove

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.

Read our review of the Craft Storm gloves
Find a Craft dealer

Castelli Thermoflex leg warmer — £40

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.

Read our review of the Castelli Thermoflex Leg Warmers
Find a Castelli dealer

Sealskinz Belgian cap — £24

Sealskinz Belgian cap

Sealskinz Belgian cap

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.

Read our review of the Sealskinz Belgian Style Cycling Cap
Find a Sealskinz dealer

Lusso Thermal Skull Cap — £9.99

Craft Thermal HatLusso'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.

Read our review of the Lusso Thermal Skull Cap
Find a Lusso dealer

Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket — £59.99

Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket

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.

Read our review of the Madison Sportive Men's Softshell Jacket
Find a Madison dealer

Ashmei Men's Ultimate Softshell Jacket — £240

Ashmei Men's Softshell Cycle Jacket

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.

Read our review of the Ashmei Men's Softshell Cycle Jacket

 

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.

6 comments

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Luv2ride [97 posts] 2 months ago
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I think these articles are pretty pointless when they refer to items that are no longer available to buy.  The Caratti deep winter overshoes are a case in point.  Am sure I read the same article a year or so ago, might have been topical and relevant then, but possibly not now...

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dafyddp [443 posts] 2 months ago
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Sure its a great bit of kit, but the design of that Rapha top (with its six go-fast stripes) doesnt half look a bit, well... Crane-by-Aldi.

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BehindTheBikesheds [966 posts] 2 months ago
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Lots of choices for people on bikes in all the price ranges.

the hard bit is knowing what to wear as starting out you are relatively cold and those new to winter cycling think they need to pile on the layers even in relatively mild conditions. Whilst avoiding being cold is a good thing having to take a layer off and not having anywhere to store it is a bane and there are times when even experienced cyclists get it wrong.

Big changes in temperature/weather conditions don't help but that's the UK for you.

Personally I love winter riding

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salokin [5 posts] 1 month ago
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I'm still flumuxed as to why a pair of socks cost £42 (!!!!) and a waterproof jacket is close to £250. When are cyclists going to start pointing out to companies that they're ripping people off?! It's ridiculous to pay this price for those products. Even £22 for some bluddy arm warmers...have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous, they're arm warmers damit, not a shirt?!!

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alexn [33 posts] 1 month ago
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Companies will continue selling these products at those high price point as there are plentzy of cyclists that are happy paying those prices. For those who are not prepared to pay those price points, then there are plenty of cheaper options!

 

salokin wrote:

I'm still flumuxed as to why a pair of socks cost £42 (!!!!) and a waterproof jacket is close to £250. When are cyclists going to start pointing out to companies that they're ripping people off?! It's ridiculous to pay this price for those products. Even £22 for some bluddy arm warmers...have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous, they're arm warmers damit, not a shirt?!!

Avatar
srchar [706 posts] 1 month ago
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As BTBS says, the hard bit is choosing what to wear.  At the moment, I leave the house in a fairly chilly 6-8°C, but ride home in a balmy 16-18°C. A short-sleeved merino top means a bit of a chill for the first ten minutes in the morning, and a bit of a sweat on during the ride home. Despite various clothing companies' claims to the contrary, I've never found a single garment that works in the British autumn.