- Curve's JT-1 Thermal Aero vest has three big pockets and is constructed of a very elastic material. This keeps it from flapping in the wind while getting in your winter miles. Photo: Nick Legan
- Curve puts a nice robust zipper on its Thermal Aero vest. The big zipper pull helps when you're wearing big gloves. Photo: Nick Legan
- Whether worn with leg warmers or under tights, warm bibs go a long way in winter. Panache's Fleece bib tights are some of the best I've ever tried. Photo: Nick Legan
- Leg grippers are nothing new to cycling shorts, but Panache manages to make them just sticky enough to work without being annoying. Photo: Nick Legan
- You need big, elastic pockets in winter for the extra food and clothing lower temperatures require. The De Marchi Contour Plus jersey scores big in this department. Photo: Nick Legan
- De Marchi's Contour Plus Insulator Teflon jersey is low key, but highly functional. It quickly became a staple of my winter cycling wardrobe. Photo: Nick Legan
Winter is here and it will be for some time in most of the northern hemisphere. If your current closet offerings aren’t keeping you comfortable, here are three items that have become staples of my chilly ride wardrobe.
Curve Proline JT-1 Thermal Aero vest $150
A good vest keeps your core warm, offers pockets for spare clothing and doesn’t flap too much. Curve’s Proline Thermal Aero vest hits all three of those points.
The thermal fleece material isn’t windproof, but it certainly adds insulation. Even better is just how elastic the whole thing is, hence the “aero” in the lengthy model name. In fact, if I wear too bulky a jersey underneath, not only do I overheat but I feel squeezed by the vest.
The back pockets are massive, a really good thing in winter clothing. I’ve crammed in my phone, ride food, a spare jacket and pair of gloves. With the jacket on, the insulation of the vest has kept me warm on a couple frigid descents.
The construction of the vest is top notch. The zipper is robust and even after multiple washings (and air drying) there is no fade or wear on the vest.
Because the Proline vest is intended as an insulation layer, it doesn’t pack too small if the day warms up. I have managed to stuff it into a jersey back pocket but it isn’t the super thin, emergency layer that I grab on my way out the door. But because we’re talking about a vest, you can always unzip the thing entirely and get loads of air on your chest.
Curve is predominantly a custom clothing manufacturer. They can customize the JT-1 Thermal Aero vest with your local club’s graphics and sponsors. Curve offers some other unique custom pieces, like a long-sleeve skinsuit with pockets that’s perfect for mountain biking or endurance cycling applications.
In all, I love Curve’s Proline JT-1 Thermal Aero vest. I run warm even on cold days so the vest only comes out of the closet on pretty frigid days. But when it does make an appearance, it works flawlessly.
Panache fleece bib shorts $200
Sometimes you just don’t want to wear tights. I’m typically a fan of leg or knee warmers. On the days I do resort to bib tights, I prefer them without a chamois. That way I can ride in my preferred bibs and get a little more warmth from dual layers.
With Panache’s fleece bibs, I may never wear tights again. The warmth they provide is fantastic. They provide just enough insulation to keep everything vital warm without being at all bulky.
The chamois is the same as Panache’s summer wear, one of my favorites. Flatlock seams and a nine-panel construction eliminate chafing. I also like that Panache does away with tags. Instead they print the sizes and care instructions directly on the shorts. A space is even provided for you to mark your name if losing your new favorite winter bibs is a concern.
Leg grippers keep the shorts from riding up (now an industry standard) and keep leg warmers in place. The mesh bib means that there’s little material to absorb sweat, so you’re never left with a soggy chest after an arduous climb. Some winter bibs continue the fleece material too high. This is a big no-no. It makes overheating an eventuality.
Like Curve, Panache’s bread and butter is custom clothing. So, you can get the fleece shorts digitally printed with your club’s sponsors. While you’re at it, check out Panache’s other offerings. I’ve been happy with every item I’ve tried.
De Marchi Contour Plus Insulator Teflon jersey $165
Fancy, whiz-bang jerseys with extraordinary claims of perfect ventilation and superb warmth are both annoying and usually ineffective. On the other hand, a simple, functional jersey goes a long way in my book. If you feel the same, read on.
De Marchi’s Contour Plus Insulator Teflon jersey has a name so lengthy it would make British aristocracy envious (DuPont too for that matter), but the actual garment is elegantly effective.
The quality of the Contour jersey is extremely high. The cut is top notch too for a slim fellow like me. Three rear pockets get the job done and are elastic enough to cram in plenty of food and spare clothing on climbs.
Like its name implies, the Contour Plus Insulator jersey is an insulation layer. On really cold days, I use De Marchi’s jersey with a wool base layer and a thin shell when the windchill factor rears its ugly head. I can’t imagine needing anything heavier, but as I mentioned above, my internal thermometer runs a bit hot.
The Teflon coating on the outside of the jacket does help make the jersey a little water repellant, but in wet weather you’ll certainly need a rain jacket.
At $165, the De Marchi is a fair bit cheaper than other premium brands. And a simple, insulating, long-sleeve jersey is a staple you need if you’re riding year round. The De Marchi, in that respect, is money well spent.
www.demarchi.com (See page 38 of the temporary site while De Marchi website is under construction)