Seems we quickly went from a really hot summer to a quite pleasant fall, and our morning rides are calling for something a little warmer than the standard jersey and shorts. Here, new keep-you-warm stuff from Hincapie, Castelli, Northwave and Icebreaker.
Hincapie’s headliner for the fall is the new Ronde collection. It’s inspired by the Belgian classic Tour of Flanders (aka Ronde de Vlaanderen) and uses their heavyweight, four-way stretch BodE Thermal Fleece throughout the long sleeve jersey and bib knickers. The kit also includes a vest built with the same fleece. None of the pieces claim wind resistance, but they feel like they’d handle a slight breeze down to about 48º, give or take depending on humidity.
Bib knickers are $139, jersey is $109 and vest is $129. Sizes run S-XXL, but as with most Hincapie items, they actually run big. I’m 6’2″ (180lbs) and am testing a size Medium in all three pieces. The bib knickers fit perfectly in every way. The jersey fits perfectly mostly, but the sleeves could be a 1/2″ longer to be totally perfect. As is, a good long pair of winter gloves would cover any gap. The jersey fits great in the body, but the arm holes are fairly small and are noticeably snug even in the riding position. I’d keep the medium in the knickers and jersey, but would probably have gone to a large in the vest. All three pieces fit snug without being restrictive, save for the vest’s armholes.
Billed as a Spring 2013 product, Hincapie’s new Edge line builds in pro-level fabrics with a unique HyperOptic Elastane reflective panels. During the day, they just look like color bands. At night, once light hits them, they’re wildly reflective and bright. Materials include their TourTek mesh and compressor fabric for tight, aero fits, and a Diamond mesh in select panels to enhance evaporation.
True, they’re spring/summer kit, but most of us wear this stuff over winter tights and such anyway, so we wanted to show it off.
For the ladies, they have new Ellipse long sleeve jersey and bib knickers. Jersey uses their QuadraHot brushed inner fabric that uses hollow core fibers for better insulation. It’s available in this hot pink, plus black and bright blue or green. Retail is $99.
The bib knickers use the BodE Thermal Heat fleece and retail for $129.
Castelli introduced their San Remo Speedsuit for cyclocross back in August. You know, when it was hotter ‘n hell and our thoughts were more on cooling baselayers and arm skins than insulating bits. Now that it’s cooling off a bit, that piece and their new San Remo Thermosuit (shown here) are looking pretty good.
The idea here is to provide an aerodynamic piece with the feel of your favorite summer kit, but insulated for winter riding. It attaches the upper outer piece to the legs on the sides and backs, eliminating bibstraps. Just wear your favorite baselayer underneath, then zip the windproof, water-resistant jacket to block the cold. The front panels use Gore Windstopper 4-way stretch, breathable fabric, but the back is a fleece-like Thermoflex Core Due fabric to provide warmth and better breathability. It has three large pockets on the back.
The legs use a mix of the Thermoflex Core Due and regular Thermoflex fabrics to balance warmth, flexibility and breathability. Castelli says the use of hollow fill fibers keep the piece lightweight but with all the warmth you’ll want. Available in six sizes (S-XXXL) in this black and flourescent yellow scheme. Retail is $349.99 (€279.99).
Northwave’s new Treasure Project collection is a premium line of winter gear that runs the gamut of coverage levels. From the full body Arctic Bibtights Total Protection shown above down to bib knickers and bib tights with standard shoulder straps. The fronts of the legs use their X-Lite fleece, a dense softshell like fabric that blocks wind while supposedly remaining plenty breathable and flexible. I’ve got an XL of this one in for review once the temps drop. The fabrics are super soft, and I feel like Batman suiting up when putting it on. The upper half isn’t as thick, so it’ll need a shell over it to block wind.
The Evolution jacket also uses the X-Lite softshell fleece and looks fantastic. It comes in this red/black colorway, plus all black and white/black. The trick feature here is an integrated LED blinky light in the center of the pockets. It’s removable for washing and has a 140 hour run time on blinking mode.
They also make some fairly thin winter gloves using the X-Lite material. I have a pair of those on test, too, and will report back once it’s cold enough to wear them. The Extreme model uses a mix of X-Lite and neoprene with sporadic, thin gel palm padding. The XL fits snug but well.
Icebreaker is one of my favorite brands of all, but their cycling stuff has been, for me, hit or miss on sizing and cut. I’m happy to say the LS Circuit fits like a glove. It’s far more snug than the others I’ve reviewed, sleeve length is perfect, and it’s unbelievably soft. If you need one long sleeve jersey for traveling and riding this winter, take a good hard look at this one.
It’s a mid-weight (260gm) merino wool piece (with 3% elastane for stretch) with large rear pockets. A nice touch is the small zip pocket on one side, and the side pockets reach around almost to your sides. This makes getting your hand in them much, much easier. I’ve got the Large on review and am thinking this one’s good down to the mid-50’s, a bit cooler if you add a vest or tank/short sleeve base layer. Retail is $170.