In the depths of winter, our testing schedule took in full-length, seam sealed garments intended to keep out the rain and the cold. Such clothing, while perfect for cold conditions in which rain is likely to be a feature of the ride from start to finish, is not ideally suited to spring temperatures and showers, however.
Clothing that combines adaptability with water resistance is perfect for this time of year. Castelli’s Gabba jersey, for example, is made from Gore’s Windstopper X-Lite fabric and treated with a water repellant coating, which causes rain to bead. While Castelli produce the jersey with full-length, detachable sleeves, the short-sleeved version paired with arm warmers will offer greater adaptability.
It’s important to note that the seams aren’t taped and so it cannot be considered fully waterproof. In spring conditions, however, when rain is unlikely to be a feature of the entire ride, the additional protection of garments like Endura’s excellent Stealth tight and softshell jacket might be unnecessary, and too hot once the shower has passed.
The arm warmers in question should be water resistant, too. Castelli again have an offering in this sector – the Nanoflex – but the field is not theirs alone. Sister company, Sportful, produce an aptly-name range of arm and knee warmers – No Rain – with which we’ve had great success.
Conditions might dictate the use of an outer layer, rather than a jersey and warmers. A lightweight race cape will offer adequate protection in showers, but limited breathability. A packable jacket will offer greater breathability, but not as much protection, so one to choose for light showers when you intend it as a garment to wear all day, rather than to pull on and take off. Lightweight, waterproof softshell jackets are few and far between, and not cheap, but their performance is reputedly excellent. See Pearl Izumi’s Elite Aerojacket as an example.
Adaptability and water resistance are the watchwords for legwear, too. Remember, you’re clothing yourself for changeable conditions, where warm sunshine can be replaced suddenly by a cold shower. Endura’s ultrasonically sealed, full-length bib-tight proved just the ticket in January, but we’d be unlikely to venture out in it now for fear of overheating. Bib-knicks, or bib-shorts paired with knee or leg warmers, are likely to be the key. Castelli’s Nanoflex bib-short, paired with warmers in the same material, is just one solution. Sportful’s No Rain tight might be another.