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Ultimate upgrades: Winter cycling gear

1 Jan 2016

The best gear to help you ride further, faster and in more comfort than ever…

The great Eddy Merckx once said, ‘Don’t buy upgrades, ride upgrades.’ The philosophy behind that statement is sound – you can’t buy your way to becoming a better bike rider; if you want to get faster and stronger, you have to put in some work.

That said, just as a plumber will always ensure he’s got the right tools for the job, using the right cycling kit will make it easier to perform at your optimum level. So we invited a couple of experts from CycleSurgery to offer us their wisdom on how to go about choosing the best of this season’s clothing, accessories and components in order to upgrade your ride…

The experts

Charlotte Keenan - CycleSurgery clothing and equipment buyer.

Sam Bannister - CycleSurgery bike buyer


Mavic Ksyrium Elite Jacket, £75 & Ksyrium Elite thermo bibtight, £75

Charlotte: ‘These items from Mavic are a UK exclusive for CycleSurgery and they’re at a fantastic price point. The jacket is a mid-weight softshell made of a three-layer membrane with a fleece-lined collar. It’s cut with ergonomic lines to give greater freedom of movement and the back pocket is also cleverly designed to make access easier. The thing I really love about it is the asymmetric zip, which makes it easier to pull it up or down while riding. It has all the benefits you’d expect of a more premium softshell, with a performance fit, but at a great price.’

Spokesman Thermal bibshort, £110 & Printed LS Jersey, £100

Spokesman Thermal bibshort £110 & printed LS Jersey £100

Charlotte: ‘Spokesman is an exciting, new, upcoming brand. Their thermal bibshorts are made with Thermo Roubaix fabric, with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating and a seven-hour endurance Cytech chamois pad. They’re also slightly longer in the leg, which helps in the autumn season.

'What I really love about these shorts is the attention to detail – the bib straps are seamless so they won’t chafe and there’s a touch of fun with the signature hexagonal print on the back mesh. The jersey is made with a high-density stretch polyester, which has a high resistance to snagging, and it’s also water resistant and windproof. There’s a large ring-pull on the zip for easier access and, like the shorts, it has 360-degree reflective detailing. I love the pattern – it’s based on a contour map of Dalby Forest in Yorkshire, so it has a nice story behind it, too.’

Endura FS260 Pro SL Primaloft Gilet, £100 & Thermolite winter bib short, £75

Charlotte: ‘Endura is known for its blend of high quality product at great value. This gilet is made with Primaloft for added warmth compared to a windproof gilet, so it’s ideal on mornings when it’s chilly but not cold enough for a full jacket. And it’s so light that you can scrunch it up like a normal gilet and stuff it in your back pocket when you warm up. The shorts are basically a thermal version of the FS-260 Pro bibshorts, with the same excellent Endura 600 pad. The main difference is they’re made with a thermal fabric, and they only cost £10 more.’

Castelli Perfetto LS jacket, £175 & Omloop bibshort, £120

Charlotte: ‘The Omloop shorts are a great transitional piece, especially for the British weather at this time of year. They’re a really good compromise between standard bibshorts and a full knicker because they’re cut a little longer to help keep the muscles warmer. And the Thermoflex fabric is really stretchable and breathable. The Perfetto jersey is the update of the long-sleeve version of the famous Gabba jersey, using the same Gore Windstopper X-Lite fabric. The main difference from last year is the change in the drop-down – it’s laser-cut and slightly more fitted to provide more protection from wheel spray.’

Gore One Gore-Tex Pro Jacket, £350

Charlotte: ‘This is part of the new Gore ONE collection and is reckoned to be the ultimate upgrade in waterproof jackets. Gore claim it’s their most robust bike jacket, so basically it’s everything – waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable, plus it’s also abrasive resistant as well. And it comes with a hood that can be adjusted so it doesn’t obscure your vision. Basically, it’s the best of the best!

Base layers

Castelli Prosecco SS, £45 

Charlotte: ‘The key feature of the Prosecco is that it uses two different weights of fabric, with a thinner layer where your shorts are going to cover it, so it’s not as heavy, and with a heavier fabric where you need more protection. The material is hydrophilic so it spreads the moisture out over a wider area to help it evaporate quicker. It’s the perfect base layer for this time of year because it has that protection but is also breathable where you need it.’

Mavic Wind Ride SS Tee, £52.50

Charlotte: ‘This great base layer uses Mavic’s 37.5 fabric, which is designed to absorb body heat and wick away moisture – Mavic claims it’s five times quicker at wicking away moisture than a standard polyester base layer. It has set-in sleeves to match the riding position and a silicone hem to stop it riding up. The windproof membrane on the front also makes it great for windy days.

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