What we have here is a veritable cornucopia of cool to cold weather clothing, well suited for the moderate temperatures we get in Southern California, typically in the 40s to the 50s but the 30s can be a reality as well.  Colder than that, fuggit’ about it.  We order pizza in.

The problem I have though, when it comes to reviewing clothing for this cooler and/or wet weather, is by the time I actually HAVE cooler/colder/wetter weather, many folks have been scraping the ice off of car windshields for months.  Yesterday in So Cal it was 85°.  So what we are doing here, with this long post, is highlighting what we have on hand, pointing out some features, etc, then we will get to using this nice array of goods as it makes sense to do so and reports will follow.   This early show might show you a product and give you a bit of info to go shopping by.  Here we go.  Images may show any reflective bits highlighted by flash.


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Rapha – Baguettes, anyone?

Winter Windproof Jersey $240.00

With a simple title like that…no marketing speak like ‘Light-Gram Wear Safari Jersey’ or ‘Hurricane Helpful Hoodie’…just Winter Windproof Jersey, it almost sounds so generic as to be boring.  But it is hardly that.  Rapha calls it out as “A simple, indispensable jersey for long winter days.”  

rapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jersey

From the Rapha website:

Whether for days when a jacket isn’t quite necessary, or as a warming layer underneath one, the Winter Jersey is a winter essential. The front of the jersey and panels on the shoulders are windproof, protecting you from the chill of winter while on warmer days, the jersey may be vented via panels tucked away on the sides.

New this season is a black colourway, complete with black zippers and black metal details. The Rapha logo appears on the back in a perforated and reflective material, and the traditional armband stripe has been exchanged on the jersey for the same perforated, reflective material used on the logo. Black reflective tape keeps you visible in low light, and the jersey also features a zipped valuables pocket.

When I slipped this on in the living room at home, Mrs. Grannygear remarked, “Well it is Rapha”, alluding to the cut, fit, and overall look of the garment. If Tony Curtis or Cary Grant had been cyclists, they would have worn stuff like this.  Even the tags are sewn in nicely, like some suit coat. A Poly/Merino wool blend of 69%/27%, it is made in China but was designed in foggy old London town.  The fit is athletic.  One thing I hate about the typical wool or blended wool jersey, is that the wind cuts through them pretty easily, especially on fast downhills that follow a long climb.  The windproof panels should see to that and the rest of the jersey should breath well.

Cut long in back, and with room underneath for only a base layer in the LG size on my frame, it feels perfectly cut to sit in a riding position.  The fuzzy inside is inviting and the collar zips up snugly.  There are four pockets in back, one big zipped one and one small, vertically zipped one, and two stuff pockets that easily hold a rain shell, etc.  Reflective bits and bobbins are sewn in too, and there is a hem drawstring to snug it all down.

rapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jersey

rapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jersey

rapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jersey

rapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jerseyrapha winter windproof jersey


bontrager winter clothing

Bontrager – Let’s talk Hi Viz, shall we?

You know, it always surprises me when I see the entire catalog of garments that many of the bigger bike companies offer.  Flipping through the Bontrager (part of the Trek bicycle company) catalog, they can set you up in fine style from base layer to outer shell, beanies to shoe covers…basically top to bottom come what may.  They are all about high visibility with the garments I have to review, and they are BRIGHT!  My camera was having fits getting the balance right.  During a foggy, rainy day, there could be much worse colors to be riding in.  Kudos to Bontrager for thinking hi viz.

Velocis Stormshell Jacket – Portable wind and rain shelter. $179.99

Ultimate wet weather fitted jacket is waterproof, windproof and breathable.

  • Profila Stormshell fabric powered by 37.5™ technology
  • 2.5 layer fabric provides next to skin comfort with a stretchy no-flap fit
  • Full-length, two-way YKK zipper provides great ventilation options
  • Zippered left chest pocket into which the jacket can be packed
  • Drop-tail and articulated sleeves for a precise on-bike fit
  • Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
  • Fitted – Streamlined fit for all-around cycling performance
  • 10,000mm waterproof, 25,000g/m²/24hr breathability

bontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacket

10,000mm waterproof and 25,000g/m²/24hr breathability is a pretty potent combo, as I understand how these things are rated.  Most rain jackets from the past were like wearing trash bags on a big climb or on a hard effort…sure the rain stayed out, but you got wet anyway from perspiration.  There is no lining here, except for the fleece on the collar.  It does not feel very soft against the skin due to that, so I am betting a base or jersey layer under it would go far in keeping you comfy in the rain or cold.  There is only one pocket on the chest(with a media port) that also is sealed to the rain…no rear pockets.  It is a simple garment with purpose.  It rolls up fairly small, but it might be a challenge to get into a tighter jersey rear pocket, and yes, it does actually stuff into it’s own chest pocket…barely…but it still is a bit big and might not fit into just any jersey.  The LG on me was too small, so maybe think of going up a size from what you typically wear.

bontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacket

bontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacket

bontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacketbontrager velocis storm jacket

Starvos 180 Softshell Jacket – When a jacket is too much $119.99

A windproof and breathable jacket built for warmth, protection and comfort.

  • Profila Softshell fabric on front and sleeves combines warmth and protection
  • Profila Thermal fabric on back for breathability
  • Three open back storage pockets
  • 4.75″ (12cm) drop-tail and articulated sleeves for a precise on-bike fit
  • Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
  • Semi-fitted – Follows the curves of your body with room for movement
  • 10,000mm waterproof, 3,000g/m²/24hr breathability

bontrager starvos 180 jacket

Yeah, I know it is called a jacket, but it is more like a fusion of a jersey and a jacket.  The front of the garment and the sleeves are windproof and will repel light moisture, but the back of the Starvos 180 is just a thermal knit fabric and rain would go right through.  For a really, really bad day under changing conditions, wear this under the Velocis Storm jacket.  It feels very warm.

Cut a bit longer in the waist then the Rapha jersey, this has a great fit, very close, but with long arms and a tall collar.  The LG fit me well.  It has three traditional rear pockets and reflective bits here and there as well.  I like this very much, just in the wearing of it, and I think it will be quite good.

bontrager starvos 180 jacketbontrager starvos 180 jacketbontrager starvos 180 jacket

bontrager starvos 180 jacketbontrager starvos 180 jacketbontrager starvos 180 jacket

Velosis Softshell Glove – Hi Viz digit wrapper – $59.99

A water-resistant, windproof, and insulated glove for superior comfort on cold rides.

  • Profila Softshell fabric on back of hand combines warmth and protection
  • 70g 3M™ Thinsulate™ insulation for superior warmth and low-profile dexterity
  • inForm Fusion GelFoam padding reduces hand fatigue
  • Silicone grip on fingers provides great grip
  • Fleece lined
  • Adjustable wrist closure with pull-on tab for ease of use
  • Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
  • eSwipe technology for seamless interaction with touch screen electronics

bontrager velocis softshell glove

Easy to get into with the long gauntlet cuff, they look like they will fend off some pretty cold weather.  They are a bit tight across the knuckles when flexed into a semi-fist, so we shall see.  Gloves are hard to rate until you have ridden in them for a bit, gripped bars with them, etc.  There is a nice fleece wipey section on the glove for runny noses and such.  A perfect match for the Starvos softshell jacket.  Size LG.

bontrager velocis softshell glovebontrager velocis softshell glovebontrager velocis softshell glove

Stormshell Glove – Let the rains come down – $99.99

A waterproof, windproof and breathable glove with great dexterity in the cold and wet.

  • Profila Stormshell fabric powered by Outdry® technology
  • Fleece lined
  • AX Suede G Series palm provides wet conditions grip
  • inForm Fusion GelFoam padding reduces hand fatigue
  • Adjustable wrist closure with pull-on tab for ease of use
  • Reflective elements enhance visibility for maximum safety
  • eSwipe technology for seamless interaction with touch screen electronics

bontrager stormtshell glove

Cold and wet hands are a miserable thing and if the day calls for the Stormshell jacket, then it also requires a glove equal to the day.  A sensible black color and tough feeling exterior with a grippy feeling palm/fingers section lend it a business-like look. Nose wipey section included.  The long gauntlet cuff makes entry easy enough, something that is not always the case with all gloves, a situation aggravated with cold wet hands.  Size LG.

bontrager stormtshell glovebontrager stormtshell glovebontrager stormtshell glove

Race Thermal Bib Short – No chilly-willy – $119.95

The all-new Race Thermal bib shorts helps take the edge off those chilly morning rides. This versatile piece works great with legwarmers when the weather is destined to change. Profila Thermal fabric retains valuable body heat while wicking chilling moisture. Clean-cut compression band leg grippers comfortably keep the shorts from creeping up your thigh. Pull the comfortable micro mesh Profila Dry bib straps over your shoulder and set out for a great ride. Great for cyclocross racing!

  • Profila Thermal fabric is engineered to trap body heat and wick moisture, keeping you warm and dry
  • inForm Race Chamois: Advanced ergonomic support and cushioning for mid- to high-mileage enthusiasts
  • Clean-cut compression band leg gripper with silicone print
  • Micro mesh Profila Dry bib straps
  • Reflective elements enhance visibility
  • Fitted – Streamlined fit for all-around cycling performance

bontrager race thermal bib shortbontrager race thermal bib short

My preference in cooler weather is a knicker.  Most of the time full-on tights are just too much and a knicker short with a long wool sock is plenty for me.  But if the day warms enough, a knicker is a bit much and you are stuck in it.  A thermal short like this when paired with a thermal leg or knee warmer is more versatile (but not as strong a fashion statement IMO) as a knicker.  These have the mid-level chamois that should do for the length of a typical colder day ride.  The back panel is mesh for moisture transfer and the fleecy feel is very cozy overall.  I have the LG which is generous, but not saggy…I can typically wear a Med or Lg in a short.

The leg gripper is interesting, being a subtle band of slightly rubbery material, but wide and forgiving looking, as some shorts can be kind of harsh in the way they grab your leg to stay put.

bontrager race thermal bib shortbontrager race thermal bib shortbontrager race thermal bib short

bontrager race thermal bib shortbontrager race thermal bib shortbontrager race thermal bib short

Update:  For our final thoughts on this gear, click here.


endura

Endura – They know all about bad weather.

MTR Emergency Shell – Orange shelter to go – $154.99

  • Highly packable lightweight, breathable shell jacket with athletic non-flap fit.
  • Highly packable lightweight waterproof breathable shell
  • Fully seam sealed
  • Stretch waterproof cuffs and sides
  • Athletic, non flap fit
  • Folding tab for neat packing in jersey pocket
  • Reflective trims on hem and sleeve

endura mtr emergency shell

Sometimes you get a product and you just go, “Ooooo…this might be really good”.  The MTR line of clothing is my fav in the Endura catalog.  MTR is fast, tight fitting, sleek, and purposefully minimal.  The Long Sleeve and Short Sleeve windproof jerseys are treasured in my wardrobe.  So, in keeping with the fashion of MTR, the Emergency Shell is minimal and sleek, rolling up to not much more than what would stuff into a water bottle. No pockets, no lining except for the fleecy collar…just the facts ma’am. I love the color and there are minimal reflective bits on it.  At the back of the collar is a hidden pouch with a sewn in strap that loops around the jacket when it is rolled up rather than the extra bulk of a stuff sack.  Nice.  If it keeps out the rain and breathes well, this will be a good jacket to have.

endura mtr emergency shellendura mtr emergency shellendura mtr emergency shell

endura mtr emergency shellendura mtr emergency shell

Update:  For our final thoughts on this gear, click here.


Louis Garneau alpha vest

Louis Garneau – O’ Canada

Cabriolet Jacket – Versatility and style for milder days – $119.99

The Cabriolet Jacket easily converts to a vest via one-piece sleeve construction held to the main body with magnets. Once removed the sleeves can be stowed in a back-zippered pocket. The honeycomb-shaped Hex O? is an ultra-soft, windbreaking fabric printed with reflective dots on the rear back panel. The full-length reversed front zipper is reflective and housed in a zipper garage at the chin to prevent irritation. Best used on mild fall and winter days with an appropriate base layer.

Removable sleeves with magnets for versatile protection and a quick transition on the bike.

FABRICS:

  • Hex O2: Light, breathable and windbreaking
  • Hex O2 RF: Reflective, light, breathable, windbreaking
  • Mesh: Ventilation

DETAILS:

  • Strategically placed reflective inserts: Enhance visibility for maximum safety on the road
  • Full length reversed zip
  • Inner flap
  • Zip garage: Prevents neck irritation
  • 2 front pockets with reversed zip
  • 1 back pocket with reversed zip: Fits phone, MP3 player, or gels
  • Removable sleeves with magnets: Jacket that transforms into a vest
  • Mesh at upper back: Enhances breathability and ventilation
  • Multimedia pocket: Allows for headphone wires to be channeled inside the garment
  • Stretch trim at wrists
  • Hem with elasticized drawstring
  • Sleeve reflective piping
  • Front and back reflective accents

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacket

It is not always storming outside when we ride in the later seasons, but it can be changeable…cool at the beginning, warmer in the middle and windy off and on.  The Cabriolet addresses this in a windbreaker style with full features.  The cape approach to the sleeves, attached with strong magnets, allows one to transform this garment into a cycling vest and stow the cape.  It is a nice way to go.  The fabric is delightfully soft to the skin, almost silky.  The collar is tall but not too snug. There are quite a few reflective accents and the ventilation looks quite good with meshy panels at the arm pits, etc. There are two zipped front pockets, one with a media port.  There is a drawstring at the waist hem.  It does not compress really small, but one would not expect that with all the features and such, although it would fit in most jersey three-pocket styles.  Fall century rides on the road would be a perfect match for this jacket although it would not be out of place on an MTB as well.  A size LG was a generous but good fit with a bit more room for the MAMILs among us.

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacket

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacket

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacket

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacketLouis Garneau cabriolet jacket

Louis Garneau cabriolet jacket

Alpha Vest – A vest with a lot going on – $159.99

The hybrid construction of the Alpha Vest combines X-Lite 19 fabric that is ultralight and blocks headwinds with 60 g of Polartec® Alpha® Insulation. The heavyweight Polartec® Drytex 6000 on the back insulates and stretches for freedom of movement. The full-length front zipper is offset for enhanced comfort when layering with another zippered jersey and/or jacket. The vest is packable in the zippered back stow pocket and has a chest pocket as well. The vest has a close-to-body fit but its stretchability allows for multi-layering.

Protect your core with this hybrid insulated vest that provides wind protection at the front and a stretchable back.

FABRICS:

  • X-Lite 19: Ultra light, windbreaking, breathable
  • Polartec® Alpha® 60 g: Warm, extremely breathable insulation
  • Drytex® 6000: Retains body heat
  • Drytex®: Retains body heat

DETAILS:

  • Packable pocket with flip-over puller: Pocket functions as a packable bag for jacket
  • Strategically placed Polartec® Alpha® insulation:Provides warmth during sports activities
  • Full length offset zip with reflective accents: Prevents zipper superposition in multi-layering
  • Inner flap
  • Zip garage: Prevents neck irritation
  • Soft collar top: Enhances comfort during activities
  • Chest pocket with invisible zip
  • 1 back pocket with zip
  • Multimedia pocket: Allows for headphone wires to be channeled inside the garment
  • Stretch reflective trim at armhole: Provides a good fit
  • Front and back reflective accents

Louis Garneau alpha vestLouis Garneau alpha vest

Some folks just ride hot…not in speed, but in temperature range, and for them, a vest is all they really want, augmented by a set of arm warmers.  If they keep the core warm then they are good to go.  This is the most full featured vest I have ever seen and likely the warmest unless things are wet out there.  It is a stretchy, fleecy, thing with windbreaker material at the front in Hi Viz yeller’.  There are two pockets, both zipped, one big ‘un on the back and a little one high on the left breast.  The zipper zips off center for comfort.  With all the fleece and warmth going on, it is not very stuffable so I put this more in the MTB or gravel realm where there is a typically a higher storage space potential.  I wore a LG which is a very snug fit, but I could get a light base/jersey combo under it.  It is pretty cool, and I look forward to using this.

Louis Garneau alpha vestLouis Garneau alpha vestLouis Garneau alpha vest

Louis Garneau alpha vestLouis Garneau alpha vestLouis Garneau alpha vest

Proof Glove – Gloves your mailman would like – $64.99

The Proof Gloves are designed to be 100% waterproof and handle any cold, rain, and wind that mother nature throws your way. A double cuff construction seals perfectly for serious protection that will keep your hands warm and dry. Touch screen fingertips allow use of a touch screen device without having to remove gloves.

FABRICS:

  • Upper hand: Thermo-laminated Spandex – Neoprene
  • Palm: PU leather

DETAILS:

  • 100 % waterproof
  • 40 g 3M ThinsulateTM insulation
  • X-Vent ventilation with patented Ergo Air® concept:Evacuates palm moisture and contributes to stabilize hand temperature
  • Patented progressive padding: Reduces pressure on the ulnar nerve, absorbs vibrations and reduces risks of hand injuries
  • Velcro-adjustable double cuff: Spandex inner cuff with velcro seals out cold without pressure
  • Multi-section palm with X-Vent ventilation: Maximizes comfort and handlebar feel, increases ventilation
  • Tactile areas: Allow usage of touch screen devices
  • Microfiber thumb: Moisture absorption
  • Micro Bemberg fleece lining: Provides optimal comfort and additional warmth
  • 3M reflective logo: High visibility

Louis Garneau proof gloveEasy to get into, with a nice stretchy inner sleeve at the wrist to seal the glove a bit, The Proof glove is nicely cut and is the best of the lot shown here for allowing the hand to curl without binding or feeling restrictive.  With a Mid Level insulation index, that should be right in the fat part of our temperature curve in So Cal.  We shall see what that actually means when the mercury drops.

Louis Garneau proof gloveLouis Garneau proof gloveLouis Garneau proof glove

Louis Garneau proof glove


club ride clothing

Club Ride –  We don’t always want to look like a cyclist.

Club ride has a unique vibe going on and focuses less on highly technical riding clothing than they do on functional riding clothing that can also do double duty in a town setting, whether that is grabbing coffee post-ride, or for errands, commuting etc.  It works for them and for a lot of folks, so check them out.

Cross Wind Jacket – Mixing casual with functional – $89.95

/ Wind2O™ | Lightweight polyester woven rip-stop fabric

/ DWR Finish | Water-resistant, wind-resistant

/ Fitted under-helmet hood

/ Pockets – 1 Zippered chest & 1 convertible side storage pocket

/ UV Protection | UPF 40

/ RideLight™ Reflective Accents

/ Fit | Sport

/ 80 g/m2

club ride cross wind jacketclub ride cross wind jacket

Being even more like a hoody/windbreaker than anything else here, it is a casual fit, sporty but not close, so it might flap a bit.   There is no drawstring at the waist, etc, so although the hood is cut to allow use under a helmet and there are hood drawstrings, it does not scream technical garment.  But, it looks very ‘normal’ in the right sense so if you wore it off the bike or around town, you would not look like captain lycra on vacation. Matched with a set of riding jeans or commuting pants and it would fit right in.  The side mesh panels should keep it from getting swampy and it is DWR so at least for a while it should fend off light showers.  Size LG is generous but correct.

club ride cross wind jacketclub ride cross wind jacketclub ride cross wind jacket

club ride cross wind jacketclub ride cross wind jacketclub ride cross wind jacket

Rialto Jersey – It’s not all just townie wear – $89.95

/ Dri-sulate™ Wool Blend Knit – midweight poly-wood double knit fabric

/ Zipper | Deep Chest

/ Pockets – 2 Rear Drop-in

/ Thumbhold cuffs

/ Venting | Mesh stripe insert on back

/ Media Port

/ UV Protection | UPF 40

/ RideLight™ Reflective Accents

/ Fit | Sport

/ 210 g/m2

club ride rialto jerseyclub ride rialto jersey

Now just when I finished saying how Club Ride mixes casual with functional, here is the much more techy-garment Rialto Jersey.  A Poly/Wool blend fabric (not sure of the mix specifics), the Rialto fits closely and wears well, with long cut arms and a snug neck/low collar.  It looks to be a great mid-weight layer and could be worn with or with out a base and under a shell with ease.  The two pocket back is functional and correct and there is a media port in one pocket.  It feels nice against the skin, not at all scratchy or coarse. For days where the likes of the Rapha jersey is too much, this sits in the fat middle of usability and I love the cranberry color.  Size LG works just fine.

club ride rialto jerseyclub ride rialto jerseyclub ride rialto jersey

club ride rialto jerseyclub ride rialto jersey

Phantom Shorts – Right in the middle between town and tech – $79.95

/ DurX™ – 4-way woven poly-blend stretch fabric

/ Wicking, breathable

/ DWR finish, water-resistant

/ Abrasion-resistant

/ UV Protection – UPF 30

/ Seamless crotch gusset

/ Side waist adjustment system

/ Back hip-side storage pockets with media port

/ RideLight™ reflective accents

/ Sport fit

/ Inseam:  11″

club ride phantom shorts

These are a nice blend of things too, what with a minimal pocket set and a stretchy material, and you might say MTB short, but the rather conservative inseam of 11″ puts it out of full baggy-ness range.  So yet it is another blended product that would look right at home in town but does not seem like it would annoy in the saddle.  The two zipped side pockets (one with media port) slant backwards towards the butt cheeks and a phone in there feels nearly invisible when you are pedaling.  However, things do fall out easily so watch your keys, etc. The side buckles are stout and help eliminate the need for Club Ride suspenders (not that they make such a thing….I think).  Are these a winter item… no, but they would not look stupid with knee warmers and if I was looking to stay warmer than these, then I would go for these babies, the Half Rack Knickers.

club ride phantom shortsclub ride phantom shortsclub ride phantom shorts

club ride phantom shortsclub ride phantom shortsclub ride phantom shorts

Update:  For our final thoughts on this gear, click here.


So now all of these things enter the testing phase.  Some I have already been sneaking in on early-O-dark-thirty rides so it will not be too long.  I think it will be dropping into the 60s during the day at times now…Brrrrr!  But that means 40s in the early AM so I will set the alarm clock and hit it on a selection of MTB, road, and gravel bike rides as it seems appropriate.

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Note: The manufacturers of these products provided them at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.