Cycling Jacket – Bicycles Network Australia https://www.bicycles.net.au The Top Australian Cycling Portal Fri, 25 May 2018 06:40:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Review: Gear Up for Winter with the NSR Gigaheat Fondo Jacket and Bib Knicks https://www.bicycles.net.au/2017/04/review-gear-up-for-winter-with-the-nsr-gigaheat-fondo-cycling-jacket-and-bib-knicks/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:20:32 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=16552 Never Stop Racing is encapsulated in the name of the South Korean brand NSR Riding who want the brand to stand for “Riding Emotion”. I hadn’t heard of them previously and there is more behind NSR than you may assume, the brand belongs to the South Korean apparel and sporting-wear giant Shin TS which boasts over 10,000 […]]]>

Never Stop Racing is encapsulated in the name of the South Korean brand NSR Riding who want the brand to stand for “Riding Emotion”. I hadn’t heard of them previously and there is more behind NSR than you may assume, the brand belongs to the South Korean apparel and sporting-wear giant Shin TS which boasts over 10,000 employees. Have you heard of Jack Wolfskin, Schoffel, KTM, Dainese, Geox or le coq sportif? Shin TS manufacturers activewear for these quality brands (and more) and from the branding through to the quality of the products and functionality on the bike, NRS Riding is pitching itself as a premium brand.

NSR Riding was launched by Shin TS in 2010 and until now have remained largely focussed on the Asian market. Their cycle-wear is targeted towards sports cyclists and NSR Riding boast a comprehensive range; numerous jerseys, bike shorts and knicks, base layers, gloves and cycle clothing accessories such as neck, arm and leg warmers. The designs and styles are modern, technical and come with a touch of avant garde. They also offer a complete range of cycle-wear for women, it’s not just an afterthought.

Now NSR is moving beyond Asia and are introducing their brand to Australian and American cyclists… in fact, they are going global. As Australia gradually moves towards into the cooler cycling months, I am in Europe testing their functional cold-weather cycling jacket and bib knicks, the NRS Fondo Gigagheat jacket and bib knicks.

 

Fondo Gigaheat Jacket- Two Below Zero

Price: $295 Aussie

nsr gigaheat fondo cycling jacket

Long-distance mass participation rides are in fashion, but so is describing cycle wear or even bikes as Gran Fondo Style. NSR have designed this cool weather jacket to keep you warm for long rides… and to keep you looking good the whole way. The Gigaheat jacket shares the elegance of Italian design right down to the pattern and textile selection.

cycling jacket zipper
cycling silicon gripper

The sleek all-black jacket has a solid and reliable zip and attention has been given to the details with silicon grippers in hem, dark coloured reflective striping on the back and soft red fabric inside the collar. It is a classy affair until you unzip the jacket and unleash some pure Asian-style bling.

gigaheat thermal insulation cycling

The thermo fabric on the inside has a shiny silver lining which may not appeal to everyone, but it works well and if you keep your jacket zipped up, no one will ever know.

The fit is comfortable – based on the sizing chart I was borderline (M or L) and because Asian garment sizing tends to be small, I opted for the European size L jacket to be safe (which corresponds to the Asian size XL). The shoulders and sleeve lengths were spot-on and for my torso the jacket was fitted but generous. Without a rugby players neck, I would have preferred a smaller collar for a tighter fit so I used a sleek black ‘buff’ neck tube (neck sock) which is a better option providing the flexibility to adjust to suit… for real winter cycling you will need all of the extras anyway.

The full-length zip is solid, easy to use and appears to be water-resistant. A small pouch at the top of the zippers on both the jacket and bin knicks is a welcome touch and ensures that the zipper-pulls are secured.

premium cycle wear

nsr riding cycling

The Jacket (and knicks) incorporate various types of materials, thoughtfully selected and sown to provide super breathable and airy sections and super windproof and insulated sections in all the right places. The entire chest and abdomen are protected and insulated so that your core remains warm.

nsr winter bib knicks

The tail of the jacket is long and the front is short, as you expect with fitted cycling tops, however in my riding position I found that the jersey bunched a little around the chest so for my chest fit the (European) M sized jacket may have been a smarter choice for me. With the thicker padding this cycling jacket differs from regular thin layered cycling jackets so a snug fit is important when it comes to cold weather cycle-wear.

The jacket has three rear pockets which are quite compact so are great for holding things tightly such as your wallet and smartphone. The small pockets however make it difficult to access things in your pockets while riding, in particular if you are wearing winter gloves.

cycling- jacket pockets

As a cool weather jacket, NSR state a temperature rating of -2°C & Below however almost all of their jackets have the same temperature rating. I wonder whether they actually mean, down to -2°C. I tested the Fondo Ggigaheat jacket and knicks in -8°C and felt that this was starting to push the limits. While the jacket does everything right, for very cold temperatures you need to layer-up; a base layer is a must and coupled with a cycling jersey and the Gigaheat jacket, you will be prepared for the coldest Australian winters.

nsr winter cycling gear

In fact, you need to keep quite active and maintain a good cycling pace for temperatures of 5°C+ or below to prevent cooling down. The GigaHeat Gran Fondo has great breathability and does a good job of releasing sweat, this is means that it will also start to release the heat if you stop moving.

Once you hit temperatures of 10°C and warmer, you can take a more relaxed riding pace and rely on the excellent wind-stopper attributes. As I tend to ride swiftly, for higher temperatures I would transition to a lighter jacket to avoid overheating, but the Gigaheat fond was also great for cycling leisurely with the kids and is particularly reliable and comfortable for commuting when it is cold and windy.

Some riders may criticise the dominant all-black design, all of the garments have reflective strips for night riding and I would argue that bike lights take precedent for cycling visibility and safety ahead of the colour of the cycling gear.

nsr gigaheat fondo

Even with the stylish design, the Gigaheat Fondo it is not a orientated towards high level performance road racing, rather it is a great performer as a long distance, training or bunch ride jacket. This actually makes it a better all-rounder and will help give you a better experience as you ride through the winter chill.

 

Fondo Gigaheat Bibs

Price: $256 Aussie

nsr- never stop racing Korean cycling

Accompanying the jacket are the Gigaheat Fondo bib knicks which match perfectly in style and function. The black is a good colour choice and the details are subtle – the reflective stripes are even the black-style stripes and the perfect understatement.

I also selected size L for the knicks which were a good fit both on and off the bike. The reassuring close fit were comfortable while pedalling. Some long-leg winter knicks are too thick or too tight and end up restricting leg movement – not the Gigaheat’s.

reflective piping cycling

The braces are nice and wide and there is a short zipper on the front to make sure the belly stays in place, like the jacket it also has a small pouch so that it doesn’t catch or scratch other clothing.

fondo bib knicks

padded chamois long distance

The chamois is a thicker style padding (TMF’s R.P.S. Skyve Pad 2.0) which is typical for long distance riding (racing chamois are usually thinner). I am quite used to thinner race style chamois and while the thicker padding was noticeable, it was comfortable on the longer rides which is a good confirmation.

The knicks are designed for breathability and the skin hugging material felt warmer from the outset and maintained warmth relatively well after stopping.

 

Do you or don’t you?

When the mercury drops and it’s time for full-fingered gloves, then it’s time for the Gigaheat Fondo cycling jacket and bib knicks. Most cold weather cycle-wear is garish or makes you look as though you are setting off for an outback trek, in contrast the NSR Fondo Gigaheat jacket and knicks are functional and smart.

Australian riders in the southern states and cooler mountains who face longer riders with chilly temperatures will benefit most, for warmer temperatures or variable temperatures where you would shed the arm warmers and leg warms, the Gigaheat is probably too warm. Road racers edging for the finish-line will probably be better served with the NRS Flash jacket or NRS Fondo Record Gilet.

The South Korean brand delivers on quality, style and functionality and their NSR cycle-wear is priced accordingly; the Gigaheat Fondo bib knicks and jacket combo costs ca. $550 ($295 jacket / $256 knicks based on the current exchange rate). Currently the NRS range is available online and they are also now seeking direct distribution in Australia so the range should be available soon in bike shops.

See the range at www.nsrriding.com

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Review – Ground Effect Flash Gordon Rain Shell Jacket https://www.bicycles.net.au/2014/08/review-ground-effect-flash-gordon-rain-shell-jacket/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 22:31:08 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=12088 The cycling kit that I’ve been enjoying most this winter have both come from Ground Effect. One of these is the Flash Gordon rain shell which has been a welcome addition to my arsenal of cycle wear. It has seen plenty of use in wet, cold and windy conditions, sometimes it was so dreadful that […]]]>

The cycling kit that I’ve been enjoying most this winter have both come from Ground Effect. One of these is the Flash Gordon rain shell which has been a welcome addition to my arsenal of cycle wear. It has seen plenty of use in wet, cold and windy conditions, sometimes it was so dreadful that it would normally have seen me retreating to the garage and indoor trainer.

Flash Gordon features Ground Effect’s 2.5 layer Hydrofoil fabric treated with a water repellent finish. It’s light enough to be breathable, yet windproof. Yes, you do still get warm on the climbs but it’s not unbearable and the temptation to whip it off halfway up the first short climb (like my old rain shell) is gone.

In common with most rain shells, it needs to be said the Flash Gordon won’t keep you completely dry, nor is it intended to do so. With cycling rain shells you either get damp from the rain, or you get damp from your exertions. The goal of a good rain shell is to stop you from getting soaked, and to keep you comfortable.

Review Rain Jacket Shell

This job it does very well. The principal benefit of the “breathable” material is to wick perspiration away to the outside to help keep heat buildup under control, while keeping the chill of contact with near-freezing rain off you, and stopping the wind from cutting through to your skin and causing hypothermia as your speed picks up down the descent following the top of the climb.

While I am usually a little damp from perspiration when arriving at my destination, I am far from completely saturated as I would have been if riding in my dry weather gear, or my other rain shell. Most importantly, I remain comfortable; like baby bear’s porridge I am not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Review Ground Effect Helter Skelter

Add a pair of GE’s Helter Skelter rain pants ($149) and there is litle to fear from wet conditions except smelly shoes.

Besides keeping the rain out, the windproof attributes of the Flash Gordon have kept me at ease during howling windy and cold mountain bike rides, such as the return journey back down the Blue Mountains’ Oaks Trail in June, and a few weeks ago during the early July high winds cold snap, out on Ku Ring Gai National Park’s Long Trail.

Nice touches include the fleece collar, which does an excellent job of keeping the wind out and preventing the freezing trickle of rain from sliding down the back of your neck. Reflective striping and Ground Effect logo on the rear provide excellent visibility at night. Elasticated thumb loops stop the sleeves from riding up and exposing your arms. The long “Whale Tail” at the rear keeps my lower back and the bottom of my jersey out of the elements, despite being weighed down with wallet, phone, and tool-plus-tube pouch in waterpoof bags.

Ground Effect Flash Gordon Review

On warmer days the modular design allows you to quickly strip off the yoke and sleeves if desired and stow them in the zipped back pocket out of the way, so you can still keep the rain and wind chill off your core and stay warm on the descents. Should you need to remove it entirely, Flash Gordon  rolls up into a small bundle that easily fits inside a jersey pocket. It is one very versatile piece of cycling attire.

The “Bowling Green” colour new for this season stands out nicely without being fluoro.

I would have preferred the zip flap to be covering the front on the outside instead of the inside, but I didn’t notice any chill coming through it, nor any water marks on my jersey, so it seems the current flap position is good enough.

The thing I like most about the Flash Gordon rain shell is it enables me to comfortably comply with Rule 9 of The Rules. I can keep riding in “bad weather”. My non-cycling neighbours, who think I’m crazy, have to endure having other passengers sneezing and coughing over them in fogged-up public transport, or getting caught up in the usual wet weather peak hour traffic snarls. They don’t know what they’re missing.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.”  — Billy Connolly

Likes:
Breathable
Waterproof
Removable yoke and sleeves – a gillet and full rain shell for the price of one.
Versatile

Dislikes
An external flap over (rather than under) the front zip would be an improvement, but the Flash Gordon didn’t seem to suffer for lack of it.

The Flash Gordon Rain Shell is made in New Zealand by Ground Effect, comes in four colours and retails for $219, check out the Flash Gordon Rain Shell.

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Cycling Jacket Shootout – O2 Rainwear’s Original vs Nokomis https://www.bicycles.net.au/2013/12/cycling-jacket-shootout-o2-rainwear-original-nokomis/ Sun, 22 Dec 2013 20:35:39 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=9740 I am a reluctant believer in ‘you get what you pay for’. I’m also a bit of a gear head and commute daily… rain, hail or shine. I have spent a lot of money on kit before and literally hundreds of dollars on rain jackets. Perhaps I have more money than sense (I don’t have much money, […]]]>

I am a reluctant believer in ‘you get what you pay for’. I’m also a bit of a gear head and commute daily… rain, hail or shine. I have spent a lot of money on kit before and literally hundreds of dollars on rain jackets. Perhaps I have more money than sense (I don’t have much money, so make of that what you will), but I do think that when you pay a bit more, you end up with nicer gear; gear that you enjoy riding with. So when I was given the opportunity to test a budget jacket against a pricey one, I was able to test my beliefs.

I admit I hadn’t heard of O2 before; O2 is from Minneapolis (USA) and they’re specialists in rainwear for cycling. In Australia their gear is available through the Aussie online retailer Velogear. The premise of the review was to compare O2’s bare bones ‘Original’ jacket with their top of the line ‘Nokomis’ jacket. In terms of price point, we’re talking $39.95 vs $149.95, which I would consider to be at the lower and higher ends of the ‘reasonable’ pricing scale, although you can easily spend even more on specialised cycling wear.

O2 Original Rain Cycling Jacket

O2 Nokomis Cycling Jacket

First Impressions
My first impressions of the two jackets were largely positive. The Original jacket appeared basic and utilitarian, which is indeed the purpose. It was obviously very waterproof, but being a basic and non-breathable jacket, the overheating sensation was almost immediate. I did note that the inside of the jacket had a cloth-like weaved lining, perhaps in an effort to wick away sweat. Another feature worth mentioning was a particularly burly front-zipper. The jacket was, however, not as Spartan as some other ‘plastic bag’ style jackets that I have worn previously; it was a clear winner against the sub-par quality of a Castelli rain jacket that I once purchased for 40 pounds.

The more sophisticated Nokomis jacket has it all in the details. The quality of materials is comparable to my beloved Rapha Rain Jacket. The zippers are waterproofed, and there are removable sleeves (more on that in a second) and several pockets.  I like this jacket.

The Fit
Fit is quite a subjective thing, and being a skinny climber I probably have different views on things to a stockier counterpart. Nevertheless, I’ll talk fit because it is worth sharing some insights. I found the Original jacket to be quite an aggressive cut. Slim and tight; not quite a race cut, but close. I like that.

Emergency Rain Jacket Bike Riding

On the other hand, I found the Nokomis jacket to be a more generous fit, particularly in the arms. It is certainly not race cut. While riding I never found wind noise to be excessive, although while descending or in heavy winds, you may get some flapping. For what it’s worth I’m 5’11 and 68kg, and picked medium in both jackets. If I had my time again, I would have picked small, particularly in the Nokomis jacket.

You have probably guessed already that these two jackets serve starkly different purposes. Yes, the Original jacket is a hotbox. Climb for just ten minutes wearing this jacket and you’ll work up a sweat, even on a bitterly cold day. It is just the nature of this jacket – it doesn’t breathe. However, concentrating on this alone would be ignoring it’s true beauty, and conversely its advantage over the Nokomis. It’s packable. Heading out on a day where it looks like it’s going to rain? Stuff the O2 Original jacket in your jersey and you’ll know you’re covered if you get unlucky.

The Nokomis, on the other hand, is no hotbox. I cycled with this jacket through rain, drizzle, and in overcast conditions with no worries. Well, no worries till you hit about fifteen degrees, then you start to heat up a little bit. Mind you, I do ride with pace. While I have suggested that the Nokomis jacket is not packable (so it can’t be stashed in a jersey pocket), it does feature removable sleeves. The jacket essentially turns into a waterproof gilet, and when unzipped you get a lot of airflow. As a gilet, it’s comfortable for temperatures to the low 20’s.

Nokomis Velogear Jacket Gillet

 

Nokomis O2 Cycling Rain Jacket

So which jacket?
As you may have guessed, I like both jackets. Quite a lot. But as different types of jackets they are suited to different situations. The Original jacket really shines when you’re heading out early morning into the hills and you need insurance against potential rain. It’s light, it packs up into a jersey pocket, and it’s waterproof. Add to that the fact it’s absurdly cheap, and we’re talking a no brainer.

For ‘pure’ road riding, the O2 Nokomis really shines in the depths of winter. You can head out of the house in the rain and trust in two things – you won’t get soaked wet by rain and you won’t over heat. You truly are safe up to 15 degrees. For commuting, it’s excellent too. While I did complain about it not being jersey pocket friendly, it packs up relatively small and is quite light, so just stash it in your backpack or pannier for a rainy day. I mentioned this earlier, but feel like I should labour the point: the Nokomis jacket is comparable to my Rapha jacket. It really is that good.

Both cycling jackets are priced well for their purpose and, because Velogear are an online only retailer, customers also benefit from a price advantage that probably wouldn’t be possible if buying instore.

photos © Craig Linder / O2 Rainwear

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Italian Bicycle Line Cycle Wear Targets Pole Position for Style and Quality https://www.bicycles.net.au/2013/08/bicycle-line-cyclewear-italy-review-style-quality/ https://www.bicycles.net.au/2013/08/bicycle-line-cyclewear-italy-review-style-quality/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 04:30:16 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=8788 Many of the well established players in the clothing market have loyal customer followings, so how do new entrants break into that group? Some do it with flair and styling like Rapha, some use the retro styling as a niche tool, but Bicycle Line have done something different and created some garments with unique and […]]]>

Many of the well established players in the clothing market have loyal customer followings, so how do new entrants break into that group? Some do it with flair and styling like Rapha, some use the retro styling as a niche tool, but Bicycle Line have done something different and created some garments with unique and useful features in an attempt to lure customers. I got to try a selection from Bicycle Line, and here are my findings.

 

“Dyrupo” High Performance Man Gloves (Long finger) $48.50 RRP
Yes, they are really labelled “High Performance Man Gloves”! Maybe a bit of double translation issue there ? These are labelled as being for MTB, but I used them exclusively for the road.

I’ve always enjoyed having other options for those semi-chilly autumn/spring mornings when normal gloves offer little protection against the chill of the rushing cold air. This is important for me as many of my rides are also at night where it can start cold and rapidly get colder when darkness really takes over. Especially in Radelaide with the low humidity and the bite of the winter chill.

Bikeline Italia Gloves

Bike Line Italian Australian Cycling Jersey Team

These gloves have generous gel pads in the typical areas, but they are not overly bulky or restrictive. They have a fine mesh over the back of the fingers and hands that despite appearances are good to temperatures approaching the single figures without allowing the fingers to freeze up and become stiff. There is a small red strap on the palm side to aid in pulling the gloves, which is useful, and the velcro closing tab is suitably sized and positioned. Though there are no removal tabs (which are sometimes handy on fingerless gloves) these are not missed, as the long fingers make them easy to remove.

Bikeline Italian Cycling Gloves

Italian Cycling Bike Winter Gloves

I tend to struggle to get good gloves that are big enough, even though I don’t have big meathook hands. I wore the XXL gloves; they fit quite well, but for some reason the length of the 1st finger was about 3 – 5mm short, meaning that there was a constant pressure on the end of my finger (haven’t experienced this with any other gloves that I have worn). Not a major issue, but if I had tried these on in the shop before laying down some cash, I probably wouldn’t have bought them based on that. Based on performance, however, they are definite winners, primarily because of their quality construction and materials, and their comfort in any position on the bars.

 

“Skaya” Overshoes $52.00 RRP
Going by the expansive label (anything EU made these days can have a label that is bigger than the item itself), these overshoes are manufactured in Romania, and are 80% Polyamide and 20% Elastene. This is a thick stretchy fabric and includes a small reflective vertical strip at the rear – pretty standard in comparison with most other brands.

Bike Line Italy Cycling Winter Cold Overshoes

Italian Fashion Quality Cycling Wear

Bikeline Winter Cycling Overshoes

What makes the Skaya stand out as something a bit different is the arrangement of the zip & velcro closure combination. “So What?” I hear you say?

The difference is that the zip only goes up halfway (to the ankle bone), and then the large velcro flap closure takes care of the upper section. This makes them much easier to get in and out of, and I often found that I didn’t even need to use the zip. The style of the Velcro flap is such that it looks a bit untidy when it’s done a bit tighter – it looks like an ‘ear’ growing out the side of your foot, much like the ear that was grown on the mouse some time ago – a bit odd (not as gross as the mouse, but hopefully you get the idea).

Winter Overshoes Reflective Safety Stripe

Overshoes Winter Warm Feet Shimano Look

While I expected the stretch fabric (with no inner warmth layer) to be a poor performer on colder nights, just like a similar pair I have (PRO NPU), I was very pleasantly surprised by their ability to keep the chill out when it dropped into single digit temperatures. A few wet rides revealed that the easy entry/exit design also provided additional entry points for water to get in (between the junction of the zip and Velcro) meaning that they are more suitable as a cold weather overshoe than for wet weather. Great performance in chill prevention and easy to use.

 

“Reattiva” Bib Shorts $92.50 RRP
These unassuming black/white bib shorts were equal in comfort and performance to any of the other of my favourite bib shorts that I have managed to find in the last 9 years of cycling. I’m quite fussy about the quality, size and shape of padding as well as where the seams are placed. I have been through many brands and models in order to find ones that I am comfortable wearing.

Bibknicks Sydney Melbourne

The bright orange chamois is the ‘Elite’ which is aimed at long distance rides and features four different foam constructions/layers that are appropriately placed based on their role in the chamois. A unique setup that provides support for where it is needed most but with a seamless cover to minimise the opportunity of the dreaded saddle sores – just ask Ivan Basso and Tom Boonen about how bad they can become.

Bikeline comfortable Cycling Chamois

The silicone leg grippers are a series of small dots on a wider leg elastic that provides a very secure and stable leg position without providing a stranglehold on the leg. There is also a small reflective silver tab sewn into the seam on each side of the leg above the cuffs for night timing cycling safety – a neat little touch. The fabric is a medium weight smooth style lycra that is quite flexible, but does not make you feel like you are in a compression girdle, even if you have the typical MAMIL ‘abdomen’ as I do.

Bikeline Road Cycling Australian Knicks

The waist is quite high on the Reattiva, meaning the dreaded ‘pit stops’ need a bit more careful manoeuvring than some other brands. The support straps are of the same material and quite wide and, comfortingly, just the right length to provide support without undue pressure on the shoulders.

There is some accompanying marketing blurb on the swing tags of the lycra being a ‘Power Stretch fabric’ that ‘guarantees muscular support’ and will ultimately improve performance. This isn’t compression wear and I found the XXL was a good fit to my 184cm, 96kg frame. The Reattiva bib shorts have quickly ranked among the favourites in my drawer, which also houses Sugoi, Nalini and Santini.

 

“Reattiva” Long Sleeve Jersey $132.50 RRP
Seems like any other jersey, doesn’t it? Well you couldn’t be more wrong. I initially thought that it was a normal jersey with removable sleeves. This ended up being the absolute pick of the bunch of the Bicycle Line cycle wear. The styling on this jersey matches the Reattiva bib shorts (as you would expect from the name), but it also has a bit of red to break up the monochrome colour palette.

Bikeline Road Cycling Kit
Modelled by Christopher with a slightly smaller build than reviewer Michael Bachmann

The reason I selected this jersey was that it featured removable sleeves; I felt that it may be a good compromise for when the temperature changes mid-ride, or after a hilly ascent when you need less garments, but it’s not quite cold enough for a rain jacket on the descent. When I received the Reattiva jersey, I was impressed to find that it had some really brilliant features that I wasn’t aware of.

Quality Value Italian Cycling Wear Elite

Italia Reativa Road Cycling Fashion

The jacket features a combination of the typical jersey material but with panels of a windproof membrane called ‘Zero Wind’. This fabric, which is touted as being ‘absolutely wind and water proof’, possesses ‘dinamic [sic] breathability’. I tested these claims over many autumn and winter rides, and I can honestly say that it isn’t just marketing hype! The jersey is constructed as a normal short sleeve jersey (3 pockets at the rear), and only the front panel (either side of the zip to the side seams) features this windproof ‘Zero Wind’ fabric. The detachable sleeves have the same fabric on the top half of the sleeves, with the bottom half of the sleeves in plain black breathable stretch type lycra. The zips meet at the top of the shoulder and run under the armpit and are completely unobtrusive, whether the sleeves are fitted or not.

Bikeline Jersey  Windjacket

Cycling Wear Jacket Arms Breathable Sweat

While this doesn’t sound like a huge deal, what this means is that this is more like 4 separate garments in one – a short sleeve jersey for those cooler autumn/spring days, a gilet when worn with a long sleeve base layer (no sleeves on jersey), a light rain/shower jacket when you get caught in a spring rain shower, and a wind proof outer layer when descending at high speed.

The very first ride in which I trialed the jacket was climbing Mt Osmond near home. I wore it as a short sleeve jersey on a balmy but overcast evening (about 15 degrees, but cooling down). Once I had reached the top after a shortish, but steep climb, it started to rain. So I stopped, fumbled a little bit, got the sleeves on in a few minutes, and then proceeded to fly back down the hill and home in the rain, taking full advantage of the wind and waterproof properties of the ‘Zero Wind’ fabric on the sleeves and jersey front. I arrived home pretty dry and suffered no wind chill. The temperature had dropped about 5 degrees since the rain started so the wind proofing was a very welcome feature. The Reattiva is like a normal cycling jersey in that it doesn’t flap in the wind like a sail, nor does it create that sauna effect due to lack of breathability.

Italian Cycling Red White Black

Bikeline Race Road Cycling Kit

In short, this is an absolute winner, and is unlike anything else I have seen from the other big name suppliers. The only drawback that I can come up with is the lack of colour choices. When I get the chance, I WILL be buying a spare, I think it is THAT good.

 

Summary
Given the plethora of options and suppliers of similar garments, it is hard to take a plunge and buy from an unknown brand particularly when they are not yet readily available in-store where you can get a good look and feel and try the sizing. The experience of actually trying these has opened my eyes to casting the net a bit wider and trying other brands. The quality is definitely first class, as is the function of each of the items, with the Reattiva Long Sleeve Jersey being a definite standout.

“Dyrupo” High Performance Man Gloves (Long finger): Plain looking, but great performance with odd 1st finger length.
“Skaya” Overshoes: Zip/Velcro closure combination makes them easy to fit/remove, and fabric is surprisingly good at keeping away the chill, but not brilliant at keeping out the rain.
“Reattiva” Bib Shorts: Equal to other top end brands, with great chamois and comfortable fabric.
“Reattiva” Long Sleeve Jersey: Brilliant jersey – four garments in one that are useable and cover a wide range of weather conditions. Eminently useable and very clever design with quality fabric combination.

 

Where do you get the gear?
The Australian importer is Panda Imports in Cottesloe, Western Australia, so give them a call (+08 9284 3819) or write an email to find your nearest dealer as they expand their dealer network for Bicycle Line cyclewear across Australia.

You can also find more information about Bicycle Line and the range of cycle wear online: en.bicycle-line.com

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Proviz – High-Visibility Cycling Gear for the Serious Cyclist https://www.bicycles.net.au/2013/06/proviz-high-visibility-cycling-gear-serious-commuter-cyclist/ https://www.bicycles.net.au/2013/06/proviz-high-visibility-cycling-gear-serious-commuter-cyclist/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 23:55:10 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=8247 Unless you’re Tron, flashing blue triangles are not something you see everyday. Signs, reflectors, tail lights, head lights and blinkers are common place on the road, but flashing blue triangles aren’t. If you want to be noticed, and I mean really noticed, you need to cut through the visual noise. Short of riding nude, Proviz […]]]>

Unless you’re Tron, flashing blue triangles are not something you see everyday. Signs, reflectors, tail lights, head lights and blinkers are common place on the road, but flashing blue triangles aren’t. If you want to be noticed, and I mean really noticed, you need to cut through the visual noise. Short of riding nude, Proviz probably offers the best way to do that.

Proviz is a UK company providing a range of hi-vis gear with an active visibility component. Much of their hi-vis gear, such as their jackets, messenger bags, backpacks, and vests, have a large triangle reflector velcro’d to the back of them. This triangle can be removed and replaced with an electroluminescent triangle and battery pack, and it is this that produces the flashing blue triangle mentioned earlier. I reviewed the Proviz Nightrider jacket, the Nightrider backpack (rucksack) cover, and the Triviz electroluminescent triangle.

Magic Blue Triangle Australian Cycling

Proviz Reflective Neon Cycling Jacket


The Proviz Nightrider Jacket
I’ve been on the lookout for a good waterproof cycling jacket for my entire cycle commuting life. In addition to being waterproof, it also needs to be hi-vis; bright and with reflective elements for day and night riding. My logic here is really very simple: if you’re putting on a rain jacket to keep the rain out, visibility conditions are probably not optimal. You don’t want to be a bike ninja in those sorts of conditions.

I have a couple of hi-vis yellow rain jackets, both well known brands, and they’re completely useless in the rain. Yes, they are bright and have reflective elements, and yes, they keep the rain out, but these “breathable” jackets just don’t breath. You put a jacket on to stop you from getting cold and wet, and you end up soaking in your own juices instead; it’s not a lot of fun.

Proviz Breathable Cycling Jacket

I had resigned myself to just dealing with it, until I put on the Nightrider jacket. The first thing I noticed was that it felt different to the other cycling jackets I own in that there is more structure to it. The jacket’s outer shell is waterproof material and the inner shell is a netting, like you find in some types of swimming trunks. The netting is there to provide a layer between your skin and the outer shell so that it doesn’t stick to your skin when you’re sweating underneath.

The jacket has a cycling specific cut to it with a long and curving tail to cover your plumber’s crack. There is a zip-up pocket in the rear with its entrance under a flap to keep the rain out of it. The neck has a fleecy lining to keep you warm, the full length zip is enclosed to stop water getting in that way, and the waist and sleeve size can be adjusted to create a snug fit. In addition to being well sealed, the jacket is generously sized; I normally take XL or XXL jerseys (being 190cm and 100kg), but the large sized Nightrider not only fit me well, but gave me lots of room to move when I’m on the bike without tightness or restriction. It also means I can layer up when the weather gets colder without looking like the Michelin man.

Proviz Cycling Rain Jacket

So it’s comfortable, but does it keep you dry? I’m not talking about keeping the rain out, because it does that admirably, I’m talking about on the inside. In other words, does it “breath”? Honestly, I don’t know about the breathing thing, but on my first ride wearing it, I didn’t sweat like a pig. I was surprised. Dry and surprised.

I decided to test this further, so I rode to work the next day wearing a grey t-shirt underneath the jacket and, at the end of the journey, there were no dark patches on the shirt. It really does work, that is until you’re riding in fine weather. Without the temperature difference the rain provides, the jacket gets quite warm inside, not stupidly warm, but warm enough to be annoying. Of course, there is a solution to that: vents. There are zip up vents on either side of the jacket that allow the air to enter the jacket while you’re riding. This puts a layer of air into the jacket, without turning it into a sail, reducing excess sweat. You could probably ride in light rain with the vents open without any water ingress as well, they’re very well designed.

I only have two negative comments to make about the Nightrider jacket: first is a lack of ventilation for your arms, mine got hot while my torso stayed cool; secondly, the jacket is bulky, it won’t fit in your jersey pocket, so it will take up a fair bit of space in your panniers or backpack unless you’re wearing it. Minor inconveniences, in the scheme of things, and not things that have stopped me from using it, especially when you consider its other benefits.

Proviz Reflective Cycling Triviz

The Nightrider is available in hi-vis yellow and in stylish black. I don’t understand the point of the black jacket, but then again I prefer to be visible at all times, day and night. It’s at night when both versions of this jacket really shine (pun intended). From the rear the Nightrider jacket advertises its presence to headlights by displaying “Nightrider” in reflective text along with a big white glowing triangle. Most of the reflective elements on the jacket are of the reflective silver material variety, so the bright white triangle provides some interesting contrast.

From the front and the side you can see that this jacket was designed for cyclists. Most standard hi-vis gear is designed to be worn by people while standing up, so when they’re on a bike, they’re only really reflective from the rear. The Nightrider has very large reflective strips along the sides of the body and the top of the arms, exactly where a head on or side on car would be throwing its light, giving 360 degree reflection. I have not seen this much reflective material on any other brand of jacket and, when you consider that you can make this night time visibility more active using the magic blue triangle mentioned before, it really is a confidence inspiring piece of clothing.

Proviz Nightrider Cycling Triviz


The Triviz Light Pack (a.k.a. the magic blue triangle)
Triviz is the magic component in the Proviz system. It’s the Tron triangle I talked about earlier, an electroluminescent 16cm equilateral triangle that gives off an eery blue light when turned on. As mentioned before, glowing blue triangles are not part of the normal road landscape and, when it’s at a driver’s eye level, it stands out. The light works in 3 modes: steady, fast blink, and slow blink. I tended to use the fast blink mode when in traffic, but if you were on a lonely stretch of road at night, the slow blink would probably be more suitable. Whichever way you use it, it helps to make you much more obvious.

Proviz Bike Safety Glowing

The Triviz triangle is a self-contained add-on for a variety of Proviz products, attaching to them in the most advantageous location by velcro; you remove the reflective white triangle on the item and replace it with the Triviz triangle. If you’re using multiple Proviz products, you can switch the Triviz between them as needed, so when I’m using the backpack cover and jacket, I stick the Triviz on the backpack cover, but when I’m riding with just the jacket, I can stick it onto that. It’s wonderfully convenient and means you only need one Triviz light for all of your Proviz gear.

You only need to see it in action to see that the Triviz is the most brilliant safety device (pun intended, again). While the magic blue triangle works a treat, the battery that drives it was a major disappointment. Fistly, the pouch that the battery and electronics sit in looks cheap and tacked on. It is a weird grey colur with an on/off symbol on the fabric. This is, apparently, what you are meant to press to turn the triangle on and off, but since it’s not actually connected to the switch, it only vaguely tells you where to put your finger. I found myself touching this point and then digging around with my finger until I found something underneath to press, and then hoped for a click.

Getting the battery in and out of this pouch is also annoying. The battery is a large rectangular package with the texture of a pencil eraser. It connects to the control electronics via a micro-USB cable, but because it’s weather proof, the connector is quite hard to disconnect and reconnect. If this were the only problem, I could almost ignore it, but the battery itself has problems.

Proviz Triviz Safety Cycling

According to the Proviz website, the battery is meant to charge via micro-USB in 4 hours, and provides 12-16 hours of light, depending on the mode being used. This sounds right, since electroluminescent lighting is quite efficient, but it’s not something I ever experienced. The problem I had was that the battery wouldn’t hold charge. I would only usually need to use the Triviz for half an hour or so a night, but the battery charge would only last a few days. If I charged it on Friday and used it only on Friday night, by Monday night there would be nothing left. I would charge it again on Tuesday, use it for almost two hours total over three nights, and by Friday it would be dead again.

I don’t know whether it was a faulty battery or not, but I’ve given up on it and have replaced the battery pack with something homemade and which keeps its charge (a nice, reliable 18650 battery, the same type I have in my headlights). The battery pack and controller really needs some work, but even though the battery was horrible, I was willing to go to the trouble of rigging something up because I think that having the magic blue triangle is worth it.

Proviz Backpack Cover Bike


The Proviz Nightrider Hi Visibility Rucksack Cover
This rucksack cover is almost too small for my backpack. I don’t have a large backpack because I don’t like riding with stuff on my back, just enough to hold my jeans, a t-shirt and my lunch. The Proviz cover fits it, but only just and it’s a stretch to get there. I have other hi-vis backpack covers that I use on my panniers, which can also be used on backpacks, and they’re bigger than the Proviz one, despite being of the same basic design.

The Proviz cover is nothing particularly special or different from other hi-vis backpack covers. Its biggest selling point is the bright white triangle reflector which can be removed and replaced with the Triviz magic blue triangle. You could probably get the same effect by buying some velcro and attaching it to a backpack cover of your choice, but it’s not too expensive for what it is and it does fit in to the whole Proviz system.

Proviz have a small size backpack for not much more than the backpack cover (£29.99) which I didn’t try, however that may be the way I end up going. It’s available, as with most of the Proviz gear, in black or hi-vis yellow. I don’t use a backpack much for commuting, but I would like a cycling specific one.

Proviz Triviz Reflective

While riding with the Proviz gear on I really did feel that drivers could see me better at night. I tried it out for myself by sending my daughter up the street wearing the jacket and the Triviz, while I sat in the car with the headlights on. Without the Triviz turned on, the Nightrider jacket stands out from all angles. With the Triviz light on, it is so much more obvious that there’s something there, even when I turned my headlights off. The triangle drew my eyes, it made me look, and I suspect it would do the same to any driver.

I often see cyclists riding at night with no reflective gear and from behind all you see is a small flashing red light. When they turn sideways, they all but disappear. That’s why my bikes have reflective tape wherever I can fit it and why I keep a reflective safety vest rolled up my panniers. Actually, pretty much all of my commuting kit has hi-vis and reflective elements to maximise my visibility. I try to create a big visual footprint, and the Proviz gear makes that footprint much, much bigger.

Proviz supply a range of products that cover a number of outdoor activities. They offer quality clothing and accessories with visibility enhancements specific to the tasks they are designed for (such as motorcycling or horse riding). You can get Proviz gear directly from Proviz in the UK: www.proviz.co.uk

Proviz are also welcoming enquiries from Australian wholesalers.

 

Update 7.7.2013
Joad Sportz Supplies (NSW) are now the official Australian contact for dealer as well as customer enquiries for Proviz

 

Update 15.1.2015
Bicycles Parts Wholesale (Vic) are the authorised distributer and the cycling safety wear is available from bicycle shops across Australia.

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The Ground Effect Turbine and Frosty Boys Jackets in Review https://www.bicycles.net.au/2012/07/ground-effect-turbine-frosty-boys-jackets-review/ https://www.bicycles.net.au/2012/07/ground-effect-turbine-frosty-boys-jackets-review/#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2012 12:04:49 +0000 https://www.bicycles.net.au/?p=5463 It’s one thing to be known as The Red Baron, and quite another to be called Little Red Riding Hood, but as I sliced through the chill air in my red Ground Effect Turbine jacket , I was too comfortable to care. The Turbine Jacket is the new “shell ware” from Ground Effect. It is […]]]>

It’s one thing to be known as The Red Baron, and quite another to be called Little Red Riding Hood, but as I sliced through the chill air in my red Ground Effect Turbine jacket , I was too comfortable to care. The Turbine Jacket is the new “shell ware” from Ground Effect. It is a red windproof and water resistant cycling jacket. Given that Ground Effect is based in Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand, it was fitting that I tested the Turbine jacket during the Tour of New Zealand in April 2012.

There is probably no better way to test the abilities of a cycling jacket for Australian conditions than to do some serious cycling in New Zealand’s South Island. From day one of my tour until the finish I fought chilly temperatures and wildly varying conditions through valleys, up switchbacks, over mountain passes, down long descents and across wind blown plains. During all of this I wore a base layer, a jersey, and the Turbine over the top of it all.  The jacket’s stretchy Vortex fabric, while light, provided enough wind protection that my arm warmers never needed to make an appearance.

The Turbine has three pockets in the back that are large enough to hold spare tubes, energy bars, a phone and ID. Accessing the pocket’s contents is easy, though in long fingered winter gloves it was sometimes a bit of a challenge as the pockets don’t have stretch of lycra. The middle pocket zips up, which is good for peace of mind. There is also a small zip-up pocket on the right breast that comfortably fits a smart phone. Zips on the forearms allowed a bit more air inside and, though I didn’t make use of them, there are thumb-loops to keep the sleeves down on your wrists.

Ground Effect Turbine Zippers

Ground Effect Turbine Zippers

In case other road users miss the Turbine’s bright red colour, the jacket has reflective piping on the font and back and some funky reflective graphics on the sides. These score points in my book; they are nicely integrated in the design, so they don’t scream ‘Safety Vest’, yet still add an important safety feature.

With changing conditions and micro-climates while ascending and descending, the Turbine was light enough and breathable enough to remain comfortable. It still holds in some moisture, but good layering with a quality base layer and jersey mean the sweat transfer can be regulated. Even on long ascents or when finishing a ride I never got the feeling that I had to tear the jacket from my body.

Wind protection is the main advantage that the Turbine offers. On fast descents pushing 60km/h plus, it provided an effective wind block for my chest, minimising wind chill. As a water resistant jacket, it held off light rain though it is definitely not a rain jacket. Facing heavier rainfall during one stage of the Tour of New Zealand, I had to slip a light rain jacket over the top and battle another 45km along the wet undulating road. The narrow fit of the jacket and its stretch fabric meant I was both able to wear the rain jacket over the top as well as a thick and warm Gore-Tex jacket underneath.

As I faced long days in the saddle with uncertain weather conditions ahead, the Turbine became a standard part of my cycling uniform and temperature regulation was quite good as I rarely needed to unzip the jacket. This jacket really shines on longer rides when a cycling jersey alone is not enough. During warm riding conditions, the Turbine is still comfortable and only when it starts to get hot would it become overkill.

Ground Effect Turbine Pocket

The jacket’s collar is high and comfortable and, as I like the extra protection around my neck, this was a welcome feature. Another feature that made me smile was a hidden puncture repair patch, a fun touch to a such a versatile jacket. While the jacket can be folded and fit in the back pocket of a jersey, it is quite bulky in that form, so I would make a decision before riding whether to wear it or not, rather than lugging it along as a backup.

One criticism I have of the Turbine is the stitching on the back pockets. The Vortex fabric is not as forgiving as lycra and after plenty of time on the road, slight tearing was visible. To be fair, the pockets were usually full during riding and at times I had full fingered gloves on when looking for an energy bar. Given that the Turbine is one of the most popular cycling tops from Ground Effect, more reinforcement in this area would really be the icing on the cake of this otherwise excellent top.

Ground Effect Turbine Back Pocket

The Ground Effect Turbine jacket jacket is functional, stylish and fits well. It is the perfect jacket for the cyclist who prefers comfort to “Euro Cool” logo emblazoned jerseys. It is available online for $159 and is a worthwhile addition to your cycling wardrobe for when it is too cold for just a jersey, too warm for a fleece and when you may face changing weather conditions.

Details and specs for the Ground Effect Turbine Jacket


Frosty Boy, for when it really gets cold

The Ground Effect Frosty Boy is what you need when conditions are icy and you want to stay warm. This jacket has the windfoil front, ample fleece and a high collar. It feels cuddly and warm and you would be forgiven for reaching for this jacket for your early morning ride… but don’t do it!

If you’re on a training ride, a morning commute or a regular mountain bike route, if the day warms up and your riding has your blood pumping then this jacket will quickly get you too hot. So while it’s tempting to put this jacket on first thing on a cold morning,  unless it stays really cold a lighter jacket such as the Turbine is more appropriate. When Ground Effect were showing me the Frosty Boy they mentioned mountain biking in the Southern Alps of New Zealand; the Frosty Boy is ideally suited to such extreme riding conditions.

Ground Effect Frosty Boy Jacket

I found the jacket to be very well made; it looks and feels like a quality garment. Reflective piping along some of the seams provides some added safety, though for low light and night time riding conditions the grey fleece on the back means you are less visible to traffic from behind. The Frosty Boy also comes in a black / lime green fleece version which would increase your visibility to traffic from behind (though you are then predominantly black from the front).

Ground Effect Frosty Boy

Ground Effect Frosty Boy Fleece

Though this is a warm, fleecy jacket, it is relatively light (338 grams) and comfortable. Unless you live in a particularly cold region, this jacket is less likely to worn regularly and should instead be reserved for cycling events and trips with weather conditions to suit. At $139 I would rate this as a great buy for a New Zealand made performance cycling garment.

Further details and purchasing online: Ground Effect Frosty Boy


Do you love good socks?

Well, I love good socks and Ground Effect have some nice ones in their collection, the long ankle biters ($29) and the shorter toe rags ($19). They are pricey compared to cheap supermarket socks though compared with other socks in this category they are competitively priced.

Ground Effect Ankle Biters

Ground Effect Ankle Biters
Ground Effect Ankle Biters

Ground Effect Toe Rags

Ground Effect Toe Rags
Ground Effect Toe Rags

As merino socks I found them comfortable, they keep your feet dry and a plus, they don’t smell so great for epic rides. These are summer socks and are quite airy, for warmer merino winter socks, Ground Effect have Zig Zags and Lucifers.

Because of the colour and style of the longer ankle biter socks, they suit Mountain Biking. For road cycling I usually opt for a colour to match my kit so the shorter Toe Rags were a better match though these are a little thicker than most of my cycling socks.

Both of these socks are standing the test of time quite well and while they show signs of fuzz and wool “balling”, where cheap supermarket sports socks need to be tossed in the bin, these are quality socks that will outlive cheap socks.

See the Ground Effect Toe Rags
See the Ground Effect Ankle Biters

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