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Rivelo Garsdale jacket and Winnats bibtights review

18 Mar 2016

Rivelo’s summer kit was a hit but can it repeat the performance in the colder months?

Fresh on the heals of Rivelo’s summer kit debut (read here: Rivelo Pembridge & Honister review) comes a new cohort of garments ready to take on more inclement days.

At the top of the tree is the Garsdale jacket and Winnats bibtights, a head-to-toe outfit that’s been designed to take on everything from cold, drizzly days to the most Baltic conditions our Isles can throw at us. And at £345, it’s a sign that Rivelo is confident it can also take on the big premium brands.

Material science

First up, the Garsdale jacket. Made from specially selected ‘C-change’ fabric from Swiss-based Schoeller Textiles – whose products feature in everything from ski gear to incontinence pants (really) – the Garsdale has a waterproof rating of approximately half that of industry benchmark Gore-Tex, but nevertheless boasts some interesting tech.

A Gore-Tex membrane is effectively a very fine sieve that prevents the ingress of water molecules (ie it stops you getting rained on) while allowing more volatile water vapour molecules to escape (ie it allows your body to breathe). However, the size of these micro sieve holes is fixed. What C-change does, says Schoeller, is change the size of the pores in its membrane based on temperature, with the pores expanding when it gets warmer in order to let your body breathe more readily, or shrinking when it gets colder to retain heat.

Whether or not this actually works only a microscope knows, but in varying weather conditions the Garsdale deep a very good job of keeping me toasty but not too hot, and an excellent job of keeping me dry. Top marks there.

Rivelo says on its website that ‘the jacket has a performance fit, so if you are between sizes, or like a bit more room, please size up’. While I’d agree the Garsdale isn’t a relaxed fit, I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s cut with any racing snakes in mind. The torso and forearms are generous (and I’m not a skinny cyclist), and for my money the classic bum flap (the drop down tail of the jacket) is pointless. A lot of brands still forge ahead with this design, so I don’t hold it against Rivelo, but unless that tail extends way, way down, it’s not really doing much more than flapping in the wind and maybe getting caught on your saddle. Far better to have a fitted hem that reaches your waist when in the tuck position.

Rivelo jacket

The neck was also oddly tight given the roominess elsewhere in the jacket. In context, I am a 15.5 collar and this jacket was a medium, and I was once told by a tailor that 15.5 is a relatively average, if even slightly slender neck size for someone with a 39” chest.

Other neat features are four pockets, including a waterproof zipped one for your. I’d have like to see the chest zip pocket lower down and to one side, where it’s more out of the way such that contents don’t bulge through in a weird manner when you stand up, but this, together with the bum flap, are small points that don’t detract from a functionally decent jacket.

Winnats tights

Sadly the Winnats bibtights didn’t live up to the expectations the Garsdale fostered. There’s not a huge amount to say about any pair of bibtights, so I’ll keep this short. The seat pad was decent enough and the fit was OK, but considering they are designed to be winter tights, the Thermo Roubaix fabric felt thin and drafty around the belly button and crotch, and didn’t ‘feel’ like a hundred-and-thirty-quid’s worth. It’s a shame, as after testing Rivelo’s Honister bibshorts, I had high hopes for the bibtights.

I don’t want to end on a downer though, because in general this is yet more, well considered kit from Rivelo. The jacket is good, and with a bit of tweaking to the pattern, might just be excellent, and I’m sure the bibtights will fair well enough over the (hopefully) temperate spring we’re about to have. Also it’s all been tastefully executed.

Rivelo’s colour palette of deep blues and vibrant red accents on top of the usual black on black is refined and classy, and its attention to detail is praiseworthy – for example the care instructions are written directly onto the inside of the jacket as opposed to being on a flappy, itchy sewn in label. So although neither the Garsdale nor Winnats are perfect, they are definitely very positive steps towards Rivelo cementing itself as a premium brand.

£215 (jacket) £130 (tights)

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