Cold knees are the bane of many a winter ride. Thermal bib-longs are fine if you're confident that the temperature will remain low, but knee warmers like Caratti's Thermal Knee Warmers are a valuable addition to the cyclist's wardrobe for days when it isn't so chilly, or the mercury rises a couple of degrees mid-ride.
Carratti have designed these knee warmers for cooler weather, with a breathable thermal fleece inner that keeps rider-generated heat close to the limbs, the 80/20 nylon/elastane fabric performs well, I experienced no problems with breathability on warmer days. The fabric is wind resistant and there's unfortunately been plenty of opportunity to test that in recent months. They've stood up to the task well, especially on the front of the knee where the cold can really seep into your joints.
Light showers have been shrugged off with ease. The dense fabric repels moisture effectively, though a real soaking will penetrate to the skin. Splashes from puddles and wheel spray have been dealt with in similar fashion. Once they get to full water capacity they do a decent job of retaining heat on shorter rides.
Leg coverage is generous. The size large reached to the mid-lower calf, which encouraged me to reach for these knee warmers on days where I might've otherwise thought that bib longs would be needed to provide sufficient protection from the elements.
Elasticated cuffs at either end with rubberised grippers have kept them in place with none of the Nora Batty wrinkling that can sometimes affect longer knee warmers. The length, while good during use, means there's a bit of extra bulk when stowing them away in a jersey pocket, but they can always be folded flat and stuffed up the back of your jersey if you're struggling for room.
The Caratti logo is bold, covering the outside calf area on both legs and it's also reflective. The printing has stood up well to machine washing and still looks fresh after a few months of use. Drying time can always be an issue with extraneous items of clothing, especially if you're using them on a daily basis for a commute. These have dried fairly rapidly when placed near to a radiator, though you do want to turn them halfway through to get the moisture out of the fleecy inner if it's been particularly wet.
Simple and effective, a great addition to any cyclist's wardrobe
road.cc test report
Make and model: Caratti Thermal Knee Warmer
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Simple but very effective. The windproof and water resistant fabric makes these a must have year round accessory. Whether it be the cold winters or the peaks of the Mountains, be prepared."
This sums them up well, though I'd not want to be reaching for these mid-summer, unless riding a continental mountain where leg protection could be required for a long decent, or perhaps a bad weather ascent of the likes of Ventoux.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind/Water Resistant Fabic
Breathable/Thermal Fleece Interior
Very impressed with the reflective logo. Stitching has held up well.
Not a light-weight knee warmer, though more effective at staving off the weather.
There's always a compromise with knee warmers due to the mid-thigh location of the grippers.
Competitively priced for the quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does what Carratti intend. The water repellant fabric is useful for the UK climate, and they retain heat well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort and the feel of the fleecy lining.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, though the logo may be too bold for some.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 33 Height: 183 Weight: 77kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Cervelo S2
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,