With the days getting shorter and the weather turning cold and soggy anything that can help to make the winter ride more bearable is worth considering and these 4 pieces of clothing help to make a cold ride more bearable.
Endura MT500 Spray Baggy RRP: $165
Typically we find waterproof cycling pants too bulky on the bike and (at least in most Australian climates) and they tend to be too hot to ride with in all but the wettest conditions. Clearly aware of this issue, Endura has delivered with the MT500 Spray Baggy shorts, which utilise a waterproof 3-layer fabric for the rear and a lightweight stretch Cordura for the front.
Endura actually designed the MT500 Spray Baggies as an all-season short for riding damp Scottish trails, where back spray from the rear wheel would leave you with a wet and muddy backside. They feature a reinforced crotch for durability and the waterproof back is seam sealed. The shorts come without a padded liner.
The MT500 Spray Baggies feature a tailored cut with an articulated knee to provide seamless pedalling flexibility. There’s a stretchy waistband with an integrated buckle, and Velcro straps around each cuff allow you to snug them down on your calves. The waterproof rear is perfect for managing muddy spray from charging through puddles, though in heavy rain your body and legs will get wet. The beauty of the MT500s however, is that they maintain good breathability, unlike a full-waterproof short. The zippered thigh vents are very effective at bringing in fresh air, making these a perfect winter riding short for a wide variety of Aussie riding conditions.
Santini H20 Acquazero Gloves RRP: $89.95 (gloves)
It’s becoming less common to find cycling garments that are made outside of Asia, and it’s even more unusual to see intricate and high-tech items such as gloves and overshoes made in Italy. However, that’s what Santini has been doing since 1965, and they’ve been doing it exceptionally well.
The H20 Acquazero label refers to a special treatment applied to the gloves and overshoes that provide them with impressive water resistance. They utilise a ‘Tour Thermofleece’ fabric that relies on a 20% Elastane mix to create a highly flexible garment.
Cold feet and hands can ruin even the most awesomely epic rides, so it’s important to keep those contact points shielded from the elements. The H20 fabric does a remarkable job at preventing water ingress from spray and light showers, but without taped seams, moisture will eventually get through during heavier rain. Despite this, the thermofleece fabric and the stretchy fit keeps you cozy, and the reflective detailing makes these perfect for commuting and road training kilometres.
Sugoi RS Event Jacket RRP: $270
Designed to shield you from the ugliest of conditions, the Racing System Event Jacket is Sugoi’s flagship outer shell garment. Employing the high-tech eVent fabric, the RS Jacket features a waterproof/breathable membrane that acts in a similar way to Gore-Tex, preventing water from coming in from the outside, whilst allowing vapor (sweat) to pass through from the inside.
The RS Event Jacket has a cycling-specific cut, with a dropped whale tail, an adjustable hem, and Velcro cuffs. There’s an internal breast pocket for your phone, and a single zippered rear pocket uses a storm flap to shield off muddy spray. The RS Jacket comes in three colours and is available in sizes from XS through to large.
While not quite compact enough to fit into a jersey pocket, the RS Event Jacket stowed away easily into the base of our hydration pack. The jacket has a quality feel to it and the fabric proved tough enough for the rigors of mountain biking.
Sizing is on the generous size, but it does mean that there’s plenty of room to layer up underneath. When it’s really wet and miserable, the storm flap over the main zipper avoids cold air from rushing through, and the cozy microfleece collar was welcome around our neck.
As with any waterproof/breathable garment, the trick is to wear (at a minimum) a lightweight long sleeve base layer underneath. This helps your sweat to vaporize, therefore allowing that heat to escape through the jacket’s membrane. If things start to really warm up though, the zippered side vents can be opened to introduce fresh air when needed.
With fully taped seams, we found the RS Event Jacket to be the perfect barrier against wet and muddy conditions. It’s also nice to arrive home with a washable outer layer that stops your regular kit from getting mud stains.
Louis Garneau Course Speedzone Vest – RRP $119.95-
While a base layer is intended to insulate your core, using a wind vest is vital for keeping air off your chest in the first place. Along with a lightweight base layer and a long sleeve jersey underneath, a wind vest will keep you comfortable throughout a surprisingly wide range of riding conditions. Compared to a jacket, you get better flexibility while moving around on the bike off-road, underarm ventilation is improved and vests are easier to store in your jersey pocket or trail pack.
Made with high-tech fabrics and featuring a streamlined fit, the Course Speedzone Vest is a serious no-nonsense piece of kit. The front is made with a polyester fabric that creates a lightweight barrier against the wind and the overall construction makes it compact enough to stow in your jersey pocket. Sizes range from small through to 2XL.
Relative to similar products, the most unique feature of the Course Speedzone Vest is the gaping hole at the base of the back. This feature allows uninterrupted access to pockets in your jersey. This feature doesn’t seem to affect the fit of the vest and is a great feature. There are a host of other small features that make this vest a pleasure to use. The windproof fabric in the front and side panels offers a stretchy and figure-hugging fit. There is a mesh panel in the back to aid ventilation, as well as reflective piping, double stitching throughout and a fabric recess at the top of the high necked zipper so that it won’t sit against your chin and chafe.