To describe the weather in the opening eight weeks of this year as changeable would be something of an understatement.
From sub-zero temperatures to those in the mid teens, with occasional rain, and even some snow, January and February have provided a rigorous test of the depth of most cyclists’ wardrobes and the quality of clothing therein.
Since the beginning of this month, we’ve been testing a selection of clothing from Endura: the Thermolite bib knicks from their range-topping Equipe collection, the FS260-Pro Roubaix Jacket, and a pair of Thermolite Roubaix gloves.
As described above, the early-year transition from winter to spring presents one of the most challenging times of year for the cyclist trying to stay warm without overheating. Fleece-lined bibknickers may provide the solution.
Equipe is Endura’s flagship range, worn by the Endura Racing UCI Continental team, and partly designed with input from the riders. The web address of the Endura Racing team is printed at the base of the stomach panel, lest you forget.
The straps stretched nicely and, with a breadth of about two inches, rested comfortably on the shoulders. The back panel, in a yoke design made from a breathable mesh, fitted nicely between the shoulder blades.
The legs are made from a heavy lycra, which gave a firm, almost compressive feel, particularly around the knee. The fleece-lined, Italian Thermolite fabric is warm, making these bib knickers a good choice for clement winter days too warm for a full-length tight, but not warm enough for a unlined bib-knicker.
Leg length is average for a three-quarter length tight, almost covering the calf muscle. The legs are held in place at the hem with an elasticated gripper band subtly branded with three, grey Endura logos.
Judicious use of water proof panels in the seat and crotch area provided protection from spray where most needed. The pad was very comfortable, remaining stable in the saddle and absorbing pressure.
The panel that covers the stomach is unlined, it’s two halves united by a zip of about five inches; a useful addition for comfort breaks. The panels around the waist were lined at the rear and sides to protect the kidneys, but not at the front.
We liked these bib knickers very much. They were warm and comfortable, and firm without being restrictive. The white straps and bib provided a nice contrast with the rest of the garment, and the black-on-black Equipe branding on each side panel was pleasingly subtle. A garment for chilly days, rather than freezing ones.
FS260 Roubaix Pro Roubaix Jacket
The jacket was the item of the ensemble to gain most attention from riding colleagues. In short, it looks like a far more expensive garment than you’d expect for an asking price of around £65. We found the red and white exterior striking without being garish, but colour is of course very much a matter of personal taste. More importantly, the fit was excellent. One note of warning: the cut is very close fitting. We asked for a small size to test, and yes, it is small. This athletic cut is, in our book, a very good thing, aiding aerodynamic efficiency with its avoidance of any loose, extraneous material, but this isn’t a garment that does ‘flattering’. A longish-tail combined with an elasticated hem provided adequate protection for the lower back. The sleeves were of sufficient length to cover the wrist even with the arm fully bent during for periods on the drops. A tight-ish piece of elastic in each held the cuffs in place even over gloves. Three deep pockets on the rear held an i-Pod Touch, a wallet, and a food supplies adequately. The zipped side pocket on the right hand side pocket provided a secure place for the garage door key.
Thermolite Roubaix Glove
Another close fitting garment, the Thermolite Roubaix glove left us wondering how we were going to get it on, but it stretched sufficiently and once on, fitted snugly without feeling restrictive. On the coldest days of February, it wasn’t quite warm enough, but those were in conditions in which wiser men might have found better things to do than ride a bike. For all other conditions, say from zero degrees to five, it was excellent, fending off wind and light rain with ease. It was also well padded and extremely comfortable, and, as advertised, fitted nicely below the sleeves of the FS260 Pro Roubaix jacket described above. ‘Feel’ was adequate for confident shifting and braking, and fingers movement was unrestricted. The palm is lined with silicone print for grip, but we can’t say we noticed it being especially grippy; not a bad thing (we certainly didn’t have any slippage) just not a notable feature.