With the summer season giving way to autumn, it’s time to pull on some warmer cycle clothing to ward off the chill. Here is a roundup of new clothing from Gore Bike Wear, dhb, Sportful, Rapha, Primal, Northwave and Specialized to give you some ideas if you’re shopping for some new clothing.
dhb, the inhouse clothing brand of online retailer wiggle, continues to grow in confidence and the launch of its new Classic clothing range, ready for the autumn season, looks another good addition. dhb has built up a nice following with well designed and keenly priced clothing over the years.
You only need to look at the photos to determine the design direction the clothing brand has taken for its new Classic range. Muted colours and clean lines are the order of the day here.
The highlights of this new Classic range include the Roubaix Long Sleeve jersey (£45.00). It’s made with an Italian polyester fleece fabric with an antibacterial treatment and reflective details, so it should be ideal for daily commuting or regular training rides. It has a full-length front zip and three large rear pockets.
Offering more cold and rain protection is the Classic Softshell Windslam Roubaix Jacket (£65) available for men and women. This one uses the Windslam softshell material that dhb has used in other jackets, which provide a barrier against the wind, via a special membrane sandwiched between the front panels and the sleeves. Three rear pockets, a zipped pocket and fleece-lined collar complete the datils.
Also in the range are the Classic Roubaix Bib Tights, which are made from an Italian Lombardia Roubaix Lycra material with a Cytech Elastic Interface Giro Air padded insert. dhb tells us they’re ideal tights for 3 to 5-hours in the saddle. If you don’t like bibs, the Classic Roubaix Waist Tight is worth a look.
Rapha has launched a brand new cyclocross collection, with a fresh new colours and a men and women’s long sleeve jersey and a long-sleeve skinsuit.
The Team Sky sponsor has been a keen promoter of cyclocross, both through its own Super Cross events and cyclocross clothing collection - it even sponsored a professional race team at one time. For 2016 the cyclocross clothing range has been given a huge overhaul, with new colours (Rapha is calling them ‘medieval blue and fig’), and includes the Cross Aerosuit for racing and a Cross jersey for, well not racing, available for men and women.
The Cross Long Sleeve Aerosuit (£230) is of course based on the regular Aerosuit we tested earlier this year, and first developed for Team Sky. This version has been modified with long sleeves and the three rear pockets have vanished, to be replaced by a single central water bottle pocket. Ideal for training, but not intended for racing as it’s right where you pin the race number.
The Cross Long Sleeve Pro Team Jersey (£130) is based on the regular Pro Team jersey and maintains the three year pockets, making this an ideal top for cyclocross riding and training, as well as being ideal for racing of course. There’s a zipped valuables pocket, the shoulders have been reinforced (for shouldering the bike over obstacles) and it’s made from a high-wicking midweight breathable fabric.
The Women’s Cross Long Sleeve Souplesse Jersey (£130) is based on the regular Souplesse jersey and according to Rapha has a “newly improved snug and supportive fit”. The outer rear pockets have been angled to make retrieval of their contents easier when riding. The central pocket is narrower and ideal for a pump, may be a very small packable jacket. There’s also a zip pocket.
Lastly, there are also Cross Pro Team Socks (£20) to match and complement the jersey.
You can see the full range at http://pages.rapha.cc/stories/cross-2015
There’s been a lot of new clothing brands that have in recent years that have developed the sort of clothing that has the performance to work on the bike, but also functions and looks good when you’re not smashing the pedals. Specialized’s brand new Utility range looks to tap into that burgeoning market, with a a couple of sweaters, hoodies and a vest.
“It's our line of cycling-specific clothing that's tailored for every aspect of your lifestyle. Your day might find you riding to work, hitting the trailhead afterwards, and so on, so our line of cold-weather Utility clothing seamlessly blends into any environment, whether it be on the road or in the wood,” says Specialized.
So what is Specialized offering then? For a start there’s a Utility Reversible Vest, available for men and women, and is constructed from a combination of Polartec Alpha and Deflect fabric. I was really impressed with the Polartec Alpha material in a Sportful jacket last winter, with impressive insulation on even the coldest winter days.
Specialized says its’ wind and water resistance and is very breathable. Features include two front zipped pockets and a rear zip pocket. It’s neat trick though is that it can be reversed, with one side providing a high-visibility appearance with lots of reflective details, and the opposite side is more conservative.
Other highlights in this new range include the Utility DriRelease Merino Sweater and a Utility Hoodie. That last one is available in a men and women’s cut and size range.
The Utility DriRelease Merino Sweater is made from merino wood with something called FreshGuard which is claimed to provide a balance of insulation, breathability and of course the natural odour protection that is one of merino’s biggest benefits.
The Utility Hoodie is made from an Element Soft Shell material and is said by Specialized to be wind and water resistant, with a fleece lining providing insulation from the cold. There are two zipped front pockets and a three-panel hood with drawcord adjusters, and a scattering of reflective details.
No word on UK pricing or availability at the moment.
With winter approaching (yes it is) Italian company Sportful has expanded its popular Fiandre range with the addition of the brand new Fiandre Extreme Neoshell.
As its name suggests, it is designed for extreme winter riding conditions and utilises Polartec Neoshell fabric. Sportful has worked with Polartec to develop and adapt this fabric for cycling, and along with the use of taped seams and a waterproof YKK zipper, is said to be fully waterproof.
Sportful’s previous Fiandre clothing have been water resistant, but when it’s really raining, you still need to reach for a proper waterproof jacket. The Fiandre Extreme Neoshell appears to provide, if the company’s claims are to be believed, the insulation and wind resistance for dry and cold days, and the rain protection for wet days. It’s reckoned to be extremely breathable and the fit hasn’t been compromised.
Sportful told us that you would only need to wear a single base layer under the jacket and it’ll provide adequate insulation when it’s colder than ten degrees. Warm, dry, breathable, sounds like the ideal UK all conditions jacket.
As well as the long sleeve jacket pictured here, it’s available with short sleeves and can be partnered with new arm warmers made from the same Neoshell fabric. And the price? £250 for the long sleeve and £270 for the short sleeve including arm warmers.
Sportful has added new Fiandre No-Rain bib tights. Sportful has offered Fiandre tights in the past, but these new ones look ideal for autumn and spring weather. They have a Fiandre No-Rain panel, which acts as a second layer, extending from the knee, up the side of the leg and over the bum, where a flap (yes, really) is designed to offer extra protection from rear wheel road spray. Inside there’s a familiar TC Pro chamois and lots of reflective details, and they will costs £125.
I have problems with keeping my hands warm during winter riding. Sportful teased me with news of a new winter glove which uses an OutDry membrane, but they didn’t have any to show me, but hopefully we’ll get a closer look at those soon.
Also interesting is the addition of new colours for Sportful’s super lightweight Hot Pack jacket, an ideal autumn early morning and emergency jacket.
Gore Bike Wear is celebrating its 30th birthday, and here’s a photo of its first ever Gore-Tex jacket. It’s worth stopping to realised just how much cycle clothing and materials have developed and evolved in the last three decades, stuff we now take for granted was state-of-the-art not so long ago.
Talking of state-of-the-art, Gore Bike Wear’s big development this year is a new Windstopper 1beats2 fabric, seen here in its latest jacket, that is designed to excel in a rough temperature band between 10 and 20°C, fairly typical UK autumn and winter conditions then, with a sufficiently high level of breathability to avoid having to layer up and remove layers constantly during a ride.
“At varying temperatures between +10°C and +20°C, bike riders will no longer need to constantly put on or take off jackets over their jerseys during bike rides,” claims Gore.
“The one-piece, extremely breathable WINDSTOPPER® cycling jersey protects the wearer against the cold and wind, is light, offers great next-to-skin feeling and allows sweat to pass right through. Arm warmers can additionally be worn for extra warmth. One garment is better than two – 1beats2.”
It’s designed basically to deal with big variations in temperature, such as when it’s really cold on the morning commute but significantly warmer on the ride home, or a ride in the mountains when the temperature can fluctuate wildly. The new Windstopper jacket will be available with long or short sleeves, prices haven’t been confirmed yet.
Another new innovation from Gore is a complete update of its Xenon, Oxygen and Power bib shorts/tights, which now incorporate a padded insert with a windproof cup designed to improve comfort. The patented designed is intended to provide a better ergonomic fit for the male anatomy, and being windproof it prevents chilly draughts on windy days or downhill roads.
Gore is also celebrating its 30th birthday with a special collection of limited edition clothing, including the Oxygen 2.0 GTX AS Jacket, matching Equipe GTX Cap and lots more from the Oxygen, Phantom and Element ranges. Each is finished in a special design with a choice of colours, and adorned with a commemorative logo with 1985-2015" on it.
There’s gold reflective details, very snazzy. You can view the full collection here
UK clothing company Primal has rebranded, treating itself to a fresh new logo and online presence. To complement its existing performance cycle clothing, Primal has launched an all-new lifestyle range, which includes the Rhapsody Hoodie pictured.
It’s constructed from a high-tech fabric (melange poly blended knit fabric with SpeedMesh backing) with provides a good deal of stretch so it’s comfortable on the bike, trail running or just for casual wear. Primal claims the fabric provides a high level of breathability and it deals with sweat by wicking it away. There are reflective details and the fit features longer arms and rear section. There’s a long zip and short zip version.
Back to performance wear, and Primal is developing a new emergency showerproof jacket.
It’s small enough to fold down into its own zipped pocket and can be attached to a body part or the bicycle using the elasticated band - you could stash it under the saddle for example.
Reflective shoes are a great idea for after-dark visibility as the movement helps draw attention.
These Northwave Extreme shoes (€319) are pretty visible in the day, too, in this fluoro green colourway. They weigh a claimed 235g a pair and feature a laser-cut one-piece upper and carbon sole. The lacing system has a ratchet to tighten, as most do, but uniquely the Northwave system also has a two-way release button that allows you to slack off the tension one click at a time for in-ride adjustments
Northwave also showed us this Sonic 2 shoe which looks great value at €159 for a carbon sole that's Speedplay and 3-bolt compatible. It has a three-layer composite upper and Speedplay's dial system. There's a 3-bolt fibreglass-soled version of the shoe too at €139 a pair.
Northwave's Extreme 68g jersey (€99) is also new. Anyone want to hazard a guess at how much it weighs? The jersey is super-form-fitting so it should be pretty aero, and it uses thermal welding for pockets and seams. There's a 3/4 zip at the front and should you find yourself somewhere sunny you won't end up with a Chris Froome skinsuit tan: the fabric is SPF35 rated.
Northwave's Meteor helmet (€99) is also new. Clearly it's designed as an aero lid but Northwave didn't blind us with percentages or watts saved at 40km/h when we were trying it on so exactly how much faster you're going to be is unclear.
It's a good price for an aero helmet though. At 330g it's not super-light but it felt comfortable when we tried it on and the dial-adjust retention system felt nice and secure.
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.