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The Van Rysel Road Cycling Cool Weather Leg Warmers are very well priced considering their quality and the use of good materials – and you get a DWR coating too. The seam at the rear sits behind the knee which can be a little annoying at times, but the extra panel does at least give them a bent shape, which reduces material bunching.
First off, let's clear up some confusion. On Decathlon's website (the company behind Van Rysel) these are called Cool Weather Leg Warmers, but they aren't; they're knee warmers, and as such, they're very good. Van Rysel does Cold Weather Leg Warmers, which are in fact long enough to be leg warmers.
Created, like most warmers, from a fleece-backed Super Roubaix style material, they are soft against the skin, and while not particularly windproof they do trap plenty of warmth.
In fact, the material is of a decent weight, and I've been comfortable in them down to around 5°C and could go lower if it wasn't for the exposed skin at the bottom of my legs.
They also come with a water repellent treatment which works very well indeed, even around the seams. It will keep light rain and/or road spray out for a good hour – less if the rain is heavy. Decathlon does say that it needs to be reactivated every five washes, which can be done by ironing the knee warmers (less than 140°C), tumble drying them, or using a waterproofing spray. I did the tumble dry thing after 10 washes and the water repellency did seem to be improved by the process.
Rather than just being a single section of fabric sewn into a tube, with a single seam, the Van Rysels are made from three panels, one for the front and two at the rear.
Splitting the rear panel into two, one above the other, gives the knee warmer a naturally bent shape which makes for more comfort as it reduces the bunching of material when pedalling. The only downside is that you get a seam sitting right behind your knee.
That said, it didn't irritate that much; I only started to notice it on rides of three hours or more.
To keep the warmers in position, Van Rysel has used a 30mm-wide silicone gripper at the thigh and a 50mm gripper at the calf.
I had no issues either end with anything moving, and as they're quite wide you don't get any pressure points either.
To help with fit, Decathlon has a size guide on its website based on thigh circumference which I found to be correct. Options are XS/S, M/L and XL/XXL
Priced at £14.99, the Van Rysels are a bit of a bargain considering the quality, and how impressive the water resistance is. You get a two-year warranty too.
Emma was impressed with the warmth and cut of the Specialized Therminal knee warmers, but they don't offer any water resistance and are basically double the price of the Van Rysels.
The mid-knee seam is the only little niggle for me, but as I said, it never really became a big issue as it has with some warmers. Other than that, though, considering the quality and performance here, I almost can't believe the price.
Great performance and fit, and one hell of a bargain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel Cold Weather Cycling Leg Warmers
Size tested: M-L
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says, "Our new spring/autumn knee warmers come with improved non-slip technology and are shaped to fit your knee.
"Carry on using your summer cycling shorts and add these knee warmers for warmth and a feeling of incredible freedom when riding. The new silicone-covered elastic bands hold them in place."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A good knee warmer is one that doesn't slide around, doesn't chafe, and keeps you warm!
The Super Roubaix fabric is soft, warm and stretchy for maximum comfort. We've opted for a water-repellent version to protect you from light drizzle and so that you don't have to ride in soaking-wet kit!
The seam should sit behind your knee on the top part.
There's nothing more annoying than your leg warmer, arm warmer or knee warmer slipping around!
To deal with the issue once and for all, we've positioned double-sided 3 cm silicone-coated elastic at the top. One side grips your skin while the other grips your shorts!
At the bottom hem, there's a 5 cm silicone-coated elastic band that sits on your calf.
CHOOSING YOUR SHOE SIZE
Your thigh circumference is a good criterion to use for your size.
XS/S: thigh circumference between 48 and 52 cm
M/L: thigh circumference between 52 and 60 cm
XL/XXL: thigh circumference between 60 and 69 cm
What is water-repellency? It is when water runs off the outside of the fabric to protect you from brief showers. Please note that this product is not waterproof. The idea is to stop the knee warmer becoming saturated with water.
The water-repellent treatment should be reapplied regularly (every 5 washes). To reactivate the fabric's water-repellent properties, you have 3 options: iron the product (less than 140°C), tumble dry it (suitable temperature and length), or use a re-waterproofing spray
WHICH WAY UP DO THEY GO?
It's not always easy to know which way up your knee or leg warmers go.
Here's what to look out for:
- As mentioned above, the double-sided silicone band goes at the top
- The seam goes behind your knee
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following the washing instructions, no problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A really good set of warmers that keep your knees warm and dry.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Water repellency is impressive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Seam behind the knee was noticeable on longer rides.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheap! As I mention in the review, Lusso doesn't make expensive products and its knee warmers are well priced but the Van Rysels undercut them by a fair amount. It's the same with Specialized's – not massively expensive given the performance, but twice the price of the Van Rysels.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you don't get annoyed by seams behind your knees then these warmers are near faultless, especially considering the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!