Madison have been making quality cycling clothing designed to keep riders comfortable in varied conditions since 1977. The brand make gear for mountain bikers, roadies and commuters – but over the last twelve months we’ve seen their ‘Sportive’ road cycling collection really blossom.
In total, Madison offer two ranges for female road cyclists, three for commuters and four for mountain bikers - each collection is created around the requirements of cyclists at various levels of experience.
The 'Sportive' road collection is designed for cyclists seeking performance minded kit, but at a sensible price point. This winter, it includes bibtights, 3/4 lengths, jerseys, base layers, jackets and accessories – pretty much everything you might need to build an effective barrier between your body and the very British weather.
For those starting out on their road cycling journey, there's also the 'Keirin' collection which provides entry level kit that will offer comfort and protection at incredibly wallet friendly prices.
If you're planning to brave the winter rides of 2016 and 2017, the highlight of the Madison Sportive range has to be the new packable, reflective and waterproof jacket.
Available in two colours - ‘Purple Reign Reflective’ or ‘Lime Green Reflective’ - this jacket serves to answer the call of those seeking visibility without turning themselves into a walking and riding traffic cone. It's all about classy visibility that's easy to pack away should the weather improve.
Madison are calling this the ‘most visible product’ they’ve ever made, yet it’s a world apart from some of the flouro yellow beacons available elsewhere.
"We had to light the jacket up so the rider can be seen in low light conditions without affecting the breathability. After months of testing and tweaking... we’re really happy with the result" - Madison Clothing Senior Brand Manager Russell Whitaker
Describing the journey the jacket has taken to completion, Madison Clothing Senior Brand Manager Russell Whitaker said: “We were asked by our Madison Genesis Team riders to create the ultimate winter training jacket, so we set to work in finding the correct fabric and cut for the job. The team have been racing and training in our award winning RoadRace Apex jacket for a couple of seasons, so that formed the basic pattern for the design. From there, we had to light the jacket up so the rider can be seen in low light conditions without affecting the breathability. Using regular reflective panels would have been a compromise as they don’t allow sweat to transfer back through the fabric, so the pixel dot fabric was engineered with our mill. After months of testing and tweaking with both our team in the office and our pro’s out on the road, we’re really happy with the result".
To achieve visibility without relying upon fluorescence to do all the work, Madison have used a Pixel Pot fabric on the shoulders, arms and back. Each small dot reacts to the bright beams of car headlights to make the rider stand out.
Waterproofing is taken care of – the seams are fully taped, sleeves and rear are extended, and this jacket has passed 15k waterproofing tests. That means you could fill the fabric with 15,000mm of water before it would begin to leak.
Breathability has been kept at front of mind, and there are vents under the arms. There’s no mesh lining however - the intention here being to make the jacket light and packable should conditions swing wildly (as they tend to do in British autumn time).
In terms of fit, this jacket is cut to allow for winter layering, without leaving too much excess fabric which can become irritating. There’s a single zipped pocket at the rear, and an elasticated hem to keep everything in place.
And if you’re not convinced it’ll last the test of time? Madison offer a lifetime warranty on this garment (as well as all of the others) to ensure your confidence is inspired. We've yet to take this jacket for a spin, but we're excited to be adding it to our winter test schedule.
Sizes: 8-16, RRP: £99.99, see it here
Of course, as essential as a good jacket is - you can't ride in a jacket alone (however protective it might be). Here are a few suggestions for what to pair the waterproof with...
These tights are designed for the depths of winter, when temperatures are low and extra protection is required. Constructed from two fabrics, they feature a waterproof and windproof shell. The essential shields work with Italian DWR thermal Roubaix to provide a soft and cosy warm layer which extends to the chest, creating an integrated base layer.
Madison have used a custom 4G-RACE gel chamois pad that's ideal for long rides, and there are reflective details on the calves, rear yoke and thigh.
Sizes: 8-16, RRP: £99.99, see them here
Form fitting and constructed from cosy fleeced Roubaix Lycra, the Sportive Thermal Jersey will keep you warm, without causing you to overheat as soon as the road gives way to an incline. Added breathability comes from mesh panels at the underarms to maintain good air circulation.
The jersey is pre-curved to offer comfort when in the riding position, and there are three rear pockets that are large enough to carry tubes, tools and everything else you need. To keep things snug on chilly mornings, an elasticated hem with silicon grippers holds the jersey firmly in place.
Of course, we all have our preferences - and you'll find this jersey available in blue, black, black and white, as well as black and hi-viz yellow.
Sizes: 8-16, RRP: £59.99, see it here
If you suffer in the cold and want to step your level of protection up a little, you might want to go for the toasty protection offered by this jacket.
The Sportive Softshell Jacket incorporates windproof and waterproof panels at the front, shoulders and sides to keep the bitterest of chills out. Under arm zippers aid temperature regulation, while clever use of reflective panels, zips and seams combine for comprehensive visibility.
Sizes: 8-16, RRP: £79.99, see it here
Windproof, showerproof and breathable: the lightweight Element glove keeps your hands safe from the harsh conditions of the months surrounding Christmas.
The Micro fleece lining keeps your hands warm, while the elasticated cuff locks cold air out. If rain is on the cards, you don't have to worry about slipping - silicone grippers on the palm, thumb, middle and index fingers keep your hand planted.
These come in black and red, or black and purple - so you can opt for the highlights most likely to blend in with the rest of your riding wardrobe.
Sizes: X-Small to Large, RRP: £17.99, see them here
Socks are an obsession amongst road cyclists - and they're pretty handy for adding a splash of cool to an otherwise straight-laced look (or even more cool to an already jazzy ensemble!)
As well as being available in on-trend stripes, these merino blend socks are designed to keep your feet regulated in all but the deepest of winters. Merino wool doesn't tend to pick up odours either, and these come in red, pink, blue and yellow.
Sizes: Small to X-Large, RRP: £7.99, see them here
Want to know more about Madison clothing? Check out some of our reviews...