RCUK's Christmas Gift Guide 2017: cycle clothing for all budgets
A baker's dozen of apparel gift ideas for Christmas
Christmas will be upon us before we know it, and it’s time to start writing your letters to Santa and planning what to buy for your cycling nearest and dearest.
What’s on your Christmas list for 2017? How about updating your cycling wardrobe - or helping your cycling love ones update theirs.
We’ve picked out some of the best cycling apparel, covering all ends of the Christmas budget spectrum to help inspire you. Check out our baker’s dozen of top apparel gift ideas below, from that old Christmas favourite (socks) to the latest in wearable tech.
Sportful R&D Strato Top (£120)
Sportful’s R&D Strato Top first caught our eye at Eurobike as an innovative – and unique – bit of kit, and having put it to the test we can say it works a treat.
The premise is simple, it’s a regular long-sleeve jersey with a windproof front stitched on top at the hem, zip and neck. It’s a gilet-jersey combo, of sorts, but works brilliantly as a stand-alone bit of kit in cool conditions, with outstanding breathability.
dhb Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial (£120)
dhb launched their new footwear range in September – the British firm's first shoe collection for five years – and the Aeron Carbon Road Shoe Dial tops the billing.
A full carbon sole, easily-adjustable retention system and reasonably light weight (286g) ensure dhb's latest road slippers represent excellent value-for-money. Read our full review here.
Prendas Cordura Oversocks (£7.95)
Prendas’ Cordura oversocks are for those days where it’s not too cold or wet for full-on overshoes but you want a little extra protection from the elements.
And new for this season, the socks are available in vivid orange or vibrant pink – so not only do you get a set of durable cordura-wool oversocks for extra warmth in autumn or spring (or mild winter rides, for that matter), but you can make a real statement on the club run, too.
Rapha Long Sleeve Core Jersey & Winter Jacket & Winter Tights Bundle (£240)
Rapha launched their Core collection in March last year, as the London-based company's 'affordable' range of everyday cycling apparel. We were impress when we reviewed the initial bib shorts, short sleeve jersey and rain jacket.
Now affordable is relative, of course, but, having also now branched out into winter kit, this long-sleeve jersey, jacket and tights bundle represents a decent return for your money at £240 for the lot.
A fleecy, brushed inner is at the heart of the long-sleeve jersey, while the jacket pairs a weather-resistant three-layer laminate front with a breathable back. The tights, meanwhile, use the same construction as the excellent Core bib shorts.
7Mesh Oro Jacket (£250)
The Oro, from Canadian boutique brand 7Mesh, is insanely light – tipping the scales at just 92g when we got one in to test.
It’s also packed with tech – Gore-Tex’s latest Active fabric ensures protection from the elements as well as an impressive breathability, while the Shakedry surface helps water bead away.
We found some perfect testing conditions in Norway, and yet after four hours of pouring rain we were bone dry beneath the jacket - which goes a long way to justifying the pricetag.
Buy it now: 7Mesh Oro Jacket - £250 at Wiggle
Chapeau Club Thermal Jersey (£99.99)
The retro-inspired Club Thermal Jersey is part of Devon-based Chapeau's latest winter collection. The Italian-made fabric is designed to be fast-wicking, while the outside has a water repellent coating. It's not a jacket, but is designed to help you home in a short shower.
This is a jersey designed to perform across a range of temperatures, whether as an outer layer in the shoulder seasons or a mid-layer in deep winter, and with two new colours to choose from for 2017, you can’t really go wrong style-wise either.
Kalf Merino Socks (£15)
Kalf launched earlier this year, and impressed us immediately with their debut range - check out our reviews of the British brand's short-sleeve jersey, windproof jersey and bib shorts. Now they have turned their attention to the colder seasons.
These Merino socks – sold through Evans Cycles – blend soft merino and polyester to help your feet stay warm and comfortable through winter, while a reflective chevron detail keeps things on-brand with a safety-conscious style touch. You have three colours to choose from, too.
Buy it now: Kalf Winter Merino Socks - £15 at Evans Cycles
Ale Klimatik K-Tornado Rainproof Jacket (£190)
Ale have crafted their K-Tornado Rainproof Jacket from two main technical fabrics, including an Acquazero material with a water resistant treatment and a Windtex membrane.
Together they are designed to keep you warm and dry in changeable conditions, while thermal inserts on the rear are in place to boost breathability. The jacket comes with a recommended temperature range of six to 12 degrees.
Website: Ale Cycling
Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers with PI Dry (£59.99)
Pearl Izumi have updated their key winter garments this year with the addition of the Canadian company's water-shedding PI Dry technology. As a result, these leg warmers come with claims of water resistance (as do the matching arm and knee warmers).
Otherwise, the fabric has a soft fleecy lining to help offer plenty of warmth and comfort through winter.
Website: Pearl Izumi
Altura ThermoCool Base Layer (£49.99)
A good long-sleeve base layer is a key item in any British cyclist's winter wardrobe and we were impressed with the Altura ThermoCool when we tested it at the start of the year.
As well as being made from a fast-wicking fabric, the base layer has been cut using body-mapping technology to ensure a close but comfortable fit.
dhb Aeron Storm Jacket (£150)
We loved the value-for-money dhb Aeron Storm jacket so much last year that we reserved a place for it in the RCUK 100. With superb waterproofing, it's ideal for wet winter riding.
And this year’s tweaked offering is no different - it's still fully waterproof but now utilises dhb's Flashlight tech (you'll find reflective detailing on the rear and shoulders) for improved low-light visibility.
Castelli Perfetto Vest (£110)
Castelli’s Perfetto range builds on the Italian firm's fabled Gabba collection - weatherproof clothing designed for changeable conditions. This vest is no different and is made from a Gore Windstopper X-Lite Plus fabric on the front and shoulders (that's a slightly lighter material than the Gore fabric used on Castelli's Gabba gear).
It's designed to offer wind and water resistance, and is paired with a DWR-treated Nano Flex Light fabric on the rear to help with breathability. New for 2017, you'll also find two rear pockets.
Website: Castelli Cycling
Metier Beacon Cycling Jacket (£250)
Metier’s Beacon jacket is one of the most interesting pieces we've seen this year. It's made from a combination of hydrophobic, wind resistant and breathable fabrics with a performance fit - and incorporates wearable LED technology, too.
That’s right – the Beacon offers unique visibility on the road thanks to integrated LED lights, putting out 160 lumens at the front and 22 lumens at the rear, with three modes available (slow flash, fast flash and constant). The USB rechargeable battery pack is kept in one of the two zipped rear pockets, while you'll also find three open rear pockets.
Website: Metier Cycling