Now that winter has bum-rushed us, dropping the temps by 20º or more in a matter of weeks with no real end in sight, all of the cold weather riding gear has been pulled out and put to use.
The Sugoi gear reviewed here was received last winter, and some of it’s changed a bit so what you find in the store may be slightly updated or look completely different, but the basics are here and it’s been tested for quite a while now. On review are the Firewall XT gloves, Ti Booties and RS Zero Jacket. The gloves are still available as tested here, and they’re phenomenal!
The Jersey looks completely different and the Ti Booties aren’t listed, but look to have been replaced by the Resistor Bootie. If you’re looking for some quality gear to keep you warm, especially those fingers, click on past the break…
The Firewall XT Glove ($60) is hands down the warmest cycling glove I’ve ever used. On it’s own, it’s good down to 36º to 40º depending on your tolerance for cold. Throw some good quality liners in there and their effective range drops to about 25º for up to a couple hours. (Beyond that, seriously, you’re going to be cold no matter what…use heat packs)
They claim to be wind- and waterproof, but on a rainy mountain bike ride, water did penetrate the gloves. However, surprisingly, that didn’t affect their ability to keep my hands warm (that ride was in the 40’s).
Their dexterity is pretty good for both road and mountain biking in various hand positions, and there’s some padding in addition to the insulation on the bottom to improve comfort. In particular, they use Sugoi’s “V-Control” pad placement to protect the ulnar nerve while supporting the median nerve. The result seems to be a relative lack of numbness due to pressure. The synthetic leather palm is good and grippy, never once slipping even on the wet or snowy rides.
The lining is G100 and G80 Thinsulate, and on any ride above 40º, there’s a good chance your hands will be sweating. Virtually the entire thumb is stretch terry cloth and does an admirable job of absorbing nose runoff. The cuff is long enough to cover the wrist a bit and has a velcro closure to snug it down. All in all, these gloves rock and are worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.
The Ti Booties (now Resistor Booties) are polyurethane coated stretch fleece that add a bit of warmth on the inside to a water- and windproof exterior with taped seams. The new Resistor model looks to have even more of the PU coating coverage, so they should be better.
Depending on how you ride, they may rub a bit on the crank, but after last winter and the early parts of this winter, I still haven’t rubbed a hole in them. This graphic section is not on the Resistor, so you may not even notice it on new models.
They use a rear zip with velcro strap to secure them at the top. Reflective panels line either side of the zipper. They’ve managed to keep my feet comfortable on rides into the 30’s with only basic wool cycling socks (nothing too thick), and they look aero. The new Resistor model is solid black with a small yellow triangle patch near the heel which I’m not crazy about, but overall they look like they’d be even slightly warmer than these. MSRP is $50.
The RS Zero L/S Cycling Jersey reviewed here looks like it falls somewhere between their new RS Zero Jacket and RS Zero Jersey. If you’ve got the coin, go with the new Jacket because it has some waterproofing features that this one doesn’t have, and the color selections are less graphical and more solid. The point here is that it’s only gotten better, and this is a darn nice winter riding jacket.
Features discussed here are carried over. Full zip with neck guard, new model has a waterproof zipper. The collar fits snugly and is a good, comfortable height to keep wind out and help hold down the bottom of a balaclava.
Insides are full fleece…very soft and very warm. The exterior fabric does a good job of blocking the wind, and the inner flap behind the zipper keeps it from sneaking in and chilling you.
Raglan sleeves keep mobility high, which makes this a great jacket for XC mountain biking as well as road riding. Regarding sizing, I tested an XL to accommodate my height (6’2″), which is why this one looks a bit baggy. The new version has a welded zip pocket on the chest with wire port.
Last year’s model had these stretch cuffs. The new RS Zero Jacket has slanted, non-elastic cuffs that look like their extended further for better coverage…which probably would have let me rocked a Large rather than XL.
Back pockets are easy to get to and plenty big. The new model is available in red, yellow and blue with either white or black trim, plus a black/white and black/grey color scheme. MSRP is $200. Based on the improvements made to the current model and the comfort of this one, I’d say you wouldn’t go wrong with this as a winter jacket for non-rainy days. Just layer appropriately underneath and it should keep you plenty warm while still breathing and venting so you’re not drenched with sweat afterward.