With the temperature rapidly, and rather suddenly, dropping this week it's been a hurried dive into the depth of the wardrobe for the warm winter cycle clothing to keep insulated on the commute to work or training ride. Some cycle clothing manufacturers have been busy developing new winter clothing this year, so here's a roundup of some of the newest clothing designed to keep you warm and dry when out on the bike this winter.
howies have just added the new Seamless Bib ¾’s and Seamless Padded Bib Tights to their winter collection. The previous howies bib tights (and jerseys) we've have tested have gone down well, providing good performance, comfort and fit with a good price. The Welsh company have made a concerted effort to produce a range of well designed cycle clothing in the last couple of years, and with competitive prices they've been quite the hit.
There are a lot of people who really like three-quarter length bibs as they provide good protection for the knees with a bit more freedom than tights, and are good for milder temperatures. The Seamless Bib Sh34rts (£59) are just that, a first for howies, and they're constructed using the same circular knitted fabric with minimal seams and a high-density foam padded insert.
howies launched the Seamless Unpadded Bib Tights last winter, and now they’re available with a padded insert for those who prefer to wear one layer of material over their lower body. The Seamless Padded Bib Tights (£75) use the same seamless construction with contoured panels, flatlock stitching throughout, and a TMF high-density antibacterial pad.
See the full range at www.howies.co.uk
Le Col have built up a strong following with a smart looking range of clothing in the few years since they launched, and this winter they’ve introduced the Sport range, comprising jackets and tights for men and women.
The Sport Winter Jacket (£170), available in a men and women’s version, features Gore WindStopper front panel to keep the elements, and it’s good for between 5 to 18˚C according to Le Col. That just about covers most of the typical UK weather we reckon. It has what they call a tailored fit, a full-length zipper and tall collar.
There are three larger rear pockets and an internal pocket on the chest, and an extra security pocket for safely stowing your houses kyes. The neck is tall and lined with a soft material and there’s a reflective strip on the middle rear pocket.
These are the matching Sport Winter Tights (£140) to go with the jackets, and they're colour-coded. Again they are available for men and women. They have a suggested working temperature range of 2 to 18˚C, and manage that courtesy of a Roubaix material. The seams have been placed to minimise irritation when you’re pedalling and providing maximum articulation around the knee and hip. Inside is a gel insert for comfort and reflective piping has been added to ensure good visibility after dark.
Gore have updated the Oxygen 2.0 GT AS jacket (£210) for the winter with some significant improvements (we reviewed the previous jacket last year).
It’s made from Gore-Tex Active Shell fabric with a 3D cut to provide a good fit, with a dropped tail and good length arms. Some of the new features include huge reflective cuffs and neck which really boosts visibility, easier access to rear jersey pockets with two large zips with large tags to make opening them easier when wearing big winter gloves.
There’s a partial elastic hem and zipped forearm so you can pull the jacket on and off, even over gloves, easily, plus they provide lots of ventilation. There’s a good dose of reflective print all over the front and back of the jacket, for good measure. It’s available in this red, yellow and white. As you can see, we've been sent this jacket to review which we're in the process of doing at the moment.
More at www.goreapparel.co.uk
The Pro Team Winter Hat (£45) is a new addition to Rapha’s every-growing Pro Team range, all inspired by the demands of Team Sky Pro Cycling.
The hat provides warmth for your bonce by way of a thin and breathable softshell fabric, with a DWR treatment keeping the rain off. It’s intended for “hard rides in the worst conditions” and is meant to be insulating but also prevent overheating. Some woolly winter hats can provide the necessary warmth, but can easily overheat, and it’s this that Rapha have tried to address with the Pro Team Winter hat, namely by using a breathable rear panel to let warm air escape from the back of the neck.
It’s available in a range of colours with contrast earflaps and reflective details. It does look like it’s designed to be worn under a helmet, but we’re sure it’s fine without a helmet too.
See it now at www.rapha.cc
Belgian company Bioracer know a thing or two about producing clothing for harsh winter conditions, giving their location, and this new Speedwear Concept Tempest jersey (£99) is their newest addition for winter.
What it is is a short sleeve winter jersey designed specifically for racing and high intensity training in warmer winter weather. With a suggested temperature range between 5 to 18˚C, It should cover most typical UK winter weather.
The jersey is made from Bioracer’s own Tempest fabric, which provides insulation and wind resistance and has a water repellency treatment on the outside. The fit is naturally close to improve aerodynamics for racing and high speed training.
Check it out at www.bioracer.com
It can be a real pain having to remove your gloves to operated the touchscreen on your smartphone if you’re stopping to answer a call, reply to a text message or take a photo when out riding, so Isadore’s new touchscreen friendly Merino gloves might be just what you need.
The gloves are made from Merino wool, obviously, with a durable Cordura nylon and seamless construction, and they’ve added touchscreen compatible yarn at the fingertips so you can operate any touchscreen, from a smartphone to a Garmin computer. There are additional silicone gripper dots on the palm to provide extra grip on the handlebars, useful in the rain.
They’re available in four sizes, made in the USA and cost €34. More at http://isadoreapparel.com
Lastly, how about some new socks? Everyone loves socks right, and now is a good time of year to invest in some new warm socks for winter cycling. Few are quite as dapper as the these new socks from London-based Vulpine though.
The Merino Stripe Socks (£17) are made from Merino wool and ideal for a suggested temperature range of between 4 to 18˚C in the rain or dry, and with overshoes they'll be good for temps down to 0˚C. The socks are made in Italy and use a mix of 70% merino and and polyester for durability and Lycra for stretchiness. Did we mention they’re stripey? More info here.
The Merino Polka Long socks (£20) are also made from merino wool with a polyester and Lycra mix for, but they’re rated for colder temperatures, able to take the plunge all the way down to 0˚C, and back up to 12˚C. Available here.
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.