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Pactimo's Alpine Thermal RT Arm Warmers work well in changing temperatures. They offer a snug fit, pack down small enough to disappear in a jersey pocket, and have some nice reflective detailing. But although I've enjoyed wearing them, I don't think they do enough to justify the high price tag.
I've enjoyed wearing these on the typical spring days at this time of year when the temperature is in the low single digits when you set off and into mid-20s when you get back. Not quite warm enough for the first hour or so, but very glad to be able to take them off and not take up too much space in the jersey pocket later on.
For an all-day ride, I'd say they work for me from about 7°C upwards, though I do typically wear a bit more than most in cold conditions.
The arm warmers are made from a high-stretch ThermaGuard fabric with a single seam design. ThermaGuard is 'high-performance winter weight technical fabric that accelerates moisture-transfer. Ultra-soft with a slight interior loft, this supple, breathable and lightweight fabric is ideal for athletic wear in 40-70°F conditions.' (that is 4.5 to 21 in Celsius).
I found that description to reflect my experience, apart from the temperature range, as I mentioned above. That is highly subjective, and I can well imagine others would agree more with either the lower or upper end of that range.
They are side-specific, with a little tag at the top that tells you which arm they go on. The fabric is lovely and soft next to the skin, and the seam is not noticeable in use. Importantly, the outside of the fabric is also soft for any nose wiping you might like to do…
At the top, there is a wide gripper band that sits above the bicep, and in combination with the silicone dots on the inside, there's been no downward movement whatsoever.
The cuffs are made from 'Reflective Technology' (that's what the RT stands for in their name) fabric, with a reflective logo on the outside of the wrist also helping to make you visible. The cuff design flares out a little and is less tight than the rest of the sleeve, covering more of the wrist than other arm warmers I've tried.
When they are not on your arms, they take up noticeably less space than other arm warmers I've tried, too.
Pactimo recommends buying arm warmers in the same size as you would wear for its jerseys. I know from reviewing the Summit Aero Range jersey that I'm a medium, and so these should fit fine.
In terms of circumference, they fit just right on my fairly well-developed tree-climber arms, but in terms of length, they come up quite high, almost all the way up to my armpits.
The upside of this is that the silicone gripper sits between shoulder and biceps, so there is no chance of the arm warmers slipping down. The downside is that they can feel a little uncomfortable under the armpit, so you want to sit them just right when you put them on.
This is a mild faff if you put them on before a ride, ranging to a bit annoying doing it while you ride. In general, I prefer slightly shorter arm warmers.
I suspect if I tried to remedy the arm length by sizing down, a size small would be too tight on me.
I would have liked to see a bit more detail on arm length on a sizing chart for these arm warmers. Especially at this price, it would be nice to be able to establish if they are going to work for you before you buy.
At £53, these are the most expensive arm warmers we've reviewed.
Looking at the usual premium brands, Rapha's (non-merino) thermal arm warmers cost £40, as do Castelli's excellent NanoFlex arm warmers (Stu tested those back in 2015), while the Assos Evo Arm warmers (tested by George last year) are £35.
The 7mesh Colorado Arm warmers Neil reviewed at the end of last year only cost slightly less at £50, but they have a DWR coating and can be trimmed to length, both features that would help me stomach the price tag.
Specialized's Thermal Arm Warmers sound like they do the same thing for £20 less (read Stu's review from last year here), as do the Endura FS260-Pro Thermo Arm Warmers that Emma reviewed, which are £24.99.
These arm warmers are perfect for days with significant changes in temperature, are comfortable to wear and pack down small. Though they are a little long on me, I've really enjoyed wearing them, but there's no getting away from the fact that they are very expensive. There are plenty of arm warmers from other brands out there that do the same (or more) for less.
Lovely to wear and pack down small, but very expensive for what they are
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pactimo Alpine RT Thermal Arm Warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pactimo says: "Arm warmers are ideal for cyclists who like to adapt to changing temperatures and weather conditions without fussing with or trying to pack a jacket. They easily pack into a jersey pocket and can be taken off or put on in a matter of seconds, even while on the bike. These warmers also feature Reflective Technology™ for added safety in low-light conditions.
"FABRIC & CONSTRUCTION: The next generation Alpine Arm Warmer has been taken back to basics. Leveraging a high-stretch fabric, we simplified construction to a single seam for reduced chafe points without compromising fit. An all-new cuff design is made from fabric featuring Reflective Technology™, providing visibility from all angles. A large, reflective logo adds additional visibility in low-light conditions. We love the ThermaGuard fabric for its compressive fit and soft feel against skin. It's not overly warm while providing the perfect amount of protection for those days where you need to cut the cold without overheating. The gripper-band is possibly the most critical component of any warmer, so that's why we searched high and low for the best combination of sturdiness, stretch, soft-touch and grip. We think we've found the perfect answer with the wide, stretchy and soft grippers in these arm warmers. While they hold incredibly well on their own, we went ahead and added a tenacious silicone print to the interior (skin side) to ensure the bands stay locked in place. We recommend washing the warmers prior to wearing to activate the Silicone for best grip. Warmers work best and stay in place when placed directly on the skin, not over a jersey or base layer as Silicone is not designed to grip fabric."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ThermaGuard fabric - slight interior loft, breathable, wicking and lightweight
Ergonomic Arm Openings
Ultra-soft silicone gripper at upper arm opening
Reflective Technology™ fabric panels at wrists
At rrp they are the most expensive arm warmers we've reviewed, and that includes warmers with DWR coatings, which these don't have. Pactimo has them for sale at £38 currently, which is better, but we score on rrp.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I just washed them with my other clothes on 40 degrees and so far they still look great.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They work well as a pair of midweight arm warmers made from a Roubaix style fabric. They pack down reasonably small, so they are no hassle to keep in your back pocket on a ride where you're not wearing them the whole time.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They work well and pack down reasonably small.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They are a little long for me.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are the most expensive arm warmers we have reviewed, at £3 more than the 7mesh Colorado arm warmers that Neil reviewed at the end of last year. While the Colorados have some clever features that might help justify the high price for some, I find it hard to make the same argument for these.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, they are too expensive.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not as there are cheaper alternatives out there that do the same thing.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These arm warmers are comfortable to wear and do what they're meant to, though they are a little long on me and the sizing chart is a little too basic to work out whether they fit lengthwise before you buy. They would score higher if it wasn't for the price, but I just don't think these arm warmers can justify it compared with what else is available. They're very good, but very expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift