Rivelo is a British brand that aims to create cycling kit that’s high quality, with a simple but stylish design. We asked Surrey road racer Rosie Lethbridge to put the gear through its paces – here’s how she got on…
So, winter is upon us and it's time to dig out the warmer kit to protect yourself from the elements. That is if you're sensible and wish to enjoy winter riding, unlike myself. I have a tendency to refuse to let go of summer (despite it leaving us months ago!) - and just layer up over a thermal top, stick on some arm and leg warmers, throw on a pair of overshoes and gloves and get on my way. I do not recommend this, unless you wish to battle your mental state as well as the wind, rain and the cold! I always realise my mistake less than 20 minutes in and for the duration of the ride I tell myself 'I must order some winter kit when I get home'... So it's fair to say that when the opportunity came to review some winter kit I jumped at the chance as my 'I'll order winter kit later' attitude never seems to materialise into action.
Rivelo Women's Hazelwood ¾ bib knickers
Starting from the bottom of the outfit, we have the Hazelwood ¾ bib knickers. I’m 5"10 as well as completely out of proportion - with my legs being substantially longer than my body (each leg measuring at just over 1m long). I find it more difficult to find bib shorts and tights, particularly those of ¾ to full length size, that fit and fit comfortably. Getting the bib knickers on proved (somewhat predictably) to be the tough part - but I persevered (think squeezing into a pair of jeans after the Christmas period). Once on, the fit was ok, it just needed a little maneuvering to get comfortable – but I blame my anatomy rather than the creation from Rivelo.
Once on the bike, and crucially important, I found the high density chamois pad from Cytech within the knickers to provide sublime comfort and durability. There was no need to readjust my position on the saddle, or any discomfort. Rivelo say they’ve use an ergonomic panel construction to create a fit that allows easy movement on the bike, and I did find that when my riding position changed from the drops to the hoods the tights adapted effortlessly and there was no groin irritation that sometimes accompanies tights due to their material and stitching.
The elasticity in the thermal material meant they retained their comfort on longer and colder rides. In the rain these tights also did their job and held out the moisture, allowing my legs to avoid that damp and cold feeling when riding. Rivelo have also stated that there is a mesh panel located at the back of the knee area created for extra comfort – I cannot comment on the comfort of this as the mesh sat slightly higher than my knee so wasn’t really able to do its job.
Something that I'm not used to, which proved to be a pleasant welcome, was the frontal zip that covered the whole torso, as opposed to just upper straps traditionally used. At first glance I thought this may be an annoyance and slightly irritating but it fitted well without being too snug and with the addition of a base layer there was no itchiness from the mesh outlining.
Coming in with a £130 price tag these bib knickers aren't the cheapest on the market but they aren't at the upper end of the scale either. I think Rivelo have created a very well designed pair of bib knickers, for women specifically, that are sure to keep you comfortable yet insulated during winter rides.
RRP: £130, sizes XS-XL, see them here.
Rivelo Women's Ashdown Long Sleeved Merino Base Layer
Underneath the bib knickers I wore the Rivelo women's Ashdown long sleeve Merino base layer. I was impressed that the base layer had sleeves that were long enough to cover my wrists, again my long limbs often make this a difficulty. Made from polyester and merino this is a nice fitting and comfortable garment that isn't super tight like so many base layers on the market. The super lightweight material meant that it lacked that extra warmth that you would expect to find in a winter base layer, however Rivelo do state that this base layer is versatile for all seasons so perhaps it's best layered with a thick jacket in winter, making it usable with lighter jackets in autumn and spring.
I did like the base layer’s breathability and ability to wick sweat that can sometimes cause additional chill - particularly if you've stopped for coffee and cake only to then realise how much sweat you actually produce in the cold. This piece of clothing is priced at £55, which again places it at the mid-market section and I think this is appropriate for its performance. Although, there is an added bonus that this top can be worn as casual wear with its attractive design.
RRP: £55, sizes XS-XL, see it here.
Rivelo Women’s Frensham Thermal Long Sleeved Jersey
My standout favourite piece in the winter range was without a doubt the Frensham jacket. This jacket has a superior fit which features a full length zip for easy access particularly on those cold and wet rides. The fit is not overly tight like many winter jackets that feel the need to cling to every lump and bump, which ultimately restricts your movement, not to mention making you feel constricted and uncomfortable. The Frensham jacket is snug but will also allow you to fit either a couple of base layers, should you need them, as well as a jersey underneath. Like the Merino base layer, this jacket also provides well fitted sleeves that are long enough to cover wrists or tuck into your gloves if needed.
I wore this jacket on a number of cold and frosty days combined with a base layer underneath and felt warm, in fact one of the days I could feel myself sweating which I rarely feel whilst riding in my much loved summer months! Despite my ‘glow’ from some hard work on the bike the adaptability became apparent where the high wicking technology kept me warm. Rivelo have really covered all grounds in the comfort aspect of this jacket combining soft fabrics with thermals for ultimate comfort and warmth. If you were to get caught out in the rain this jacket is finished with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to keep you dry. I was caught in a short spell and my body remained dry and I stayed warm.
The 3 rear pockets are very well sized and located nicely at the lower back within easy reach, and there is a neat zip pocket that can comfortably fit a phone and card to keep your valuables safe and dry in a watery onslaught.
As you would expect on any piece of outer laying clothing visibility is of paramount importance and Rivelo have incorporated reflective lining across the lower back, on the zip line of the rear pocket as well as the zip line on the front of the jacket keeping you well sighted from oncoming traffic and traffic from behind.
The jacket comes in at £100 and for a stylish, warm and ultra comfortable jacket I can't knock the price – particularly when comparing it to some at the upper scale of the market. So, if a durable and well-fitting winter jacket is on your Christmas list make it the Rivelo Frensham and I promise you won't be disappointed! So layer up and get on your bike and enjoy the winter months.
RRP: £100, sizes XS – XL, see it here.
Rivelo provide a wide range of winter kit - take a look at what's available here. You will be taken through to the Sport Pursuit website if you want to buy, and you do have to sign up to browse - which is a minor irritation - but the kit is good and the unsubscribe button is always there...
For more winter cycling clothing reviews, check out our collection here.