Bad news: winter is on the way and there's nothing we can do to stop that. Good news: there are some fantastic clothing brands out there creating great kit to keep you warm.
Sportful are a firm favourite here at TWC - they make high quality road cycling kit with price tags that reflect the performance features on offer without being over inflated by the logo as some are.
This winter, there's a wide range of exceptional kit available across the board. Sometimes the sheer volume can be a little disorientating - so we've pulled out six items from Sportful that really stood out to us.
For now, we've just tried the kit on and tested it on a couple of rides to gain a first impression, and give you some ideas if you're already on the hunt for a winter wardrobe. Full reviews are coming soon...
Sportful Fiandre NoRain Bibtight
New for AW16, the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women’s Bibtight appears to be a very credible entry into the winter bibtight market.
These tights have been designed for the very worst that winter can throw at a rider, with an extra layer of material over the thighs, knees and back. The Fiandre NoRain Bibtight feature a lovely women’s specific full length zip top - Sportful say this offers more support and protection from the elements.
I’m a fan of a full bib top so I’m looking forward to trying this one out for comfort. These tights are recommended for under 10 degrees so as soon as we get into Winter proper, these will be whipped out sharpish!
For the level of technical detail on these tights I feel that on a first look the price point of £120 is reasonable for a heavy duty winter wardrobe item. They come in sizes XS-XXL and in one colour, with nice reflective detailing on the extra back cover
Sportful Fiandre Light Women’s Wind Jacket
A carryover piece it seems that Sportful know when they’re on to a good and well liked piece of kit. The Fiandre Wind Jacket has had good reviews over the years and I’m looking forward to testing this one. I’ll be picking a windy day so I can really put it through its paces.
It feels and looks like the sort of technical jacket I would want to be reaching for on a blustery day as the material has been rated a 5/5 by Sportful for wind protection. Sportful tell me that the jacket should be the go-to piece for the cold, wet and wind so winter, bring it on.
The jacket packs down well and it is super lightweight, and features the Sportful NoRain technology which I’ve been impressed with in the past so let’s see what happens when we put it to the test.
See it here for £120
Sportful Allure Thermal Jersey
Described as ‘cosy and comfortable’ I can’t deny that after the first 'try on'. The material is very soft with its fleece lining. It fits brilliantly and I have a sneaky suspicion that a jersey like this would get an awful lot of use on Autumn and Spring days as a core layer for long relaxed days in the saddle where comfort is key, perhaps paired with a gillet.
The jersey has a high collar to keep the wind off your neck and easy to reach 3 pockets. Like the Softshell Jacket the arms have a brilliant length and I’m looking forward to giving this one a good day out before Autumn turns to winter.
This jersey comes in three colourways (pink, turquoise and grey) and sizes XS-XXL. At £65 this seems a reasonably priced option for the Autumn wardrobe.
Sportful Allure Softshell Jacket
I was impressed with this jacket as soon as I took it out of the packet, it felt way more expensive than it actually is. At £120 this softshell jacket is designed for cool-weather riding with protection from the wind on the front and extra breathability on the back. A good softshell that's warm AND breathable can set you back a lot more than £120 from other brands.
I’ve been wearing it to and from work as a mild weather throw on commuting jacket and it’s done a great job so far- nice long sleeves and comfortable fit. The true test of breathability will come when it goes on a longer ride so watch this space.
It comes in three colourways (Black/Anthracite, Cherry/Bordeaux and Turquoise/Ocean) and sizes from XS-XXL).
See it here for £120
Sportful Women's Essential W Glove
Described as the essential winter riding glove, these have a Gore Windstopper back, fleece lined palm and according to Sportful a ‘dialled in women’s specific fit’.
On first look the fit is good and the gloves feel premium, but for someone who gets cold hands really easily in winter i’ll be putting these through their paces. The temperature Sportful suggest these are used for are - 5- 15 degrees celsius, so perhaps they're more of a fair weather winter glove? So far the fit is great, they are easy to take on and off and feel comfortable on the bars. They retail at £38 and come in two colours, black and turquoise.
Sportful Women's Wool Socks
Wearing these merino socks for cross practice today was a winner. Very comfortable, warm enough and they look great. Price point seems reasonable too at £14 a pair. I’ll be pushing them a bit further on a longer ride soon.
Want to know what else is out there? Check out our autumn/winter clothing guides from a selection of brands here.
For more advice on dressing for wet winter rides, check out this outline of the best winter clothing for road cyclists.