Recently, I sent a packet of cycle clothing to be altered by Alex Laycock. I had
3 Impsport skinsuits (with baggy arms)- You spend £180 on an Impsport custom body suit and it comes back with baggy arms like this.
1 winter jacket (missing zip) back pockets getting worn
1 pair of shorts (expensive Assos variety, ripped in Portugal)
The repairs and alternations were done for £40, plus £11 postage. I think that includes the cost of a new zip which was £10.
Alex has done quite a few time trials herself, and is used to mending lycra. Alex Laycock at Yell.com
Make do and mend
A comment by a reader, reminded me to post about this:
I had this problem with my Night Vision jacket and I wrote to Altura – not to complain (as the jacket was just over 12 months old) but to ask if they could repair it or recommend someone who could. Their reply was unhelpful,to say the least, effectively , “well, you need to buy another as we don’t repair them and we don’t know anyone who can”. Great jacket – rubbish after sales service. Can’t recommend them!
I don’t know if waterproof jackets can be mended, but it’s worth finding out. I might even get a new zip for my Altura jacket.
There’s a lot to be said for make do and mend. Especially when tights / legwarmers get ripped falling off.
I’ve accumulated quite a few leg warmers over the past 10 years. This is a review of the different models I’ve been using.
From left to right
DHB Vaeon Roubaix
Blue ‘prorace’ – discontinued.
Not featured here, I’ve also tried on some Impsport custom legwarmers.
Features I look for in leg warmers:
Not too tight so when cycling you don’t feel they are restricting your movement.
Stay in position, don’t roll down your leg
Warm. – different degrees of warmth depending on conditions. I like to have a thin pair, and a warmer pair.
Zip is useful for taking off over cycling shoes
To a large degree, some of these features need picking the right size as much as the individual brand.
I like the Specialized leg warmer because it has a soft and flexible fabric. When you put it on, it doesn’t appear too tight. They are also quite thin, which makes it good for those times when it’s warming up, but not quite ready for shorts.
I have size L. It is prone to slip down, but if you put it underneath a pair of shorts, then it stays fine. Because it is thin, it dries pretty quick.
I’ve had it for over 5 years and has lasted well. Simple, but effective. They seem to have discontinued this model, which is a shame because it has been a very good product. The new Specialized leg warmer is called the Specialized EZ, I haven’t tried it, and unfortunately, it’s a bit more expensive (up from £32 to £40). Specialized EZ at Evans
This was one of the most expensive leg warmer. The idea is that it comes pre-cut in the shape of a leg. It doesn’t lie flat, but has the bend built into the knee. The idea is that anatomically designed for your leg, it stays in place whilst offering greater freedom of movement.
Initially I ordered a size L, but this proved too big for me. It wouldn’t stay up and was very long. I sent it back and got a size M. This definitely stayed up, but it was a real struggle to get the leg on. The end of the leg warmer is stiff and small, to get it over your foot you have to take off your socks and really give it a good yank. Also, after a few weeks, I developed a hole in the stitching. The leg warmer felt quite tight when riding.
This has been the most disappointing leg warmer, because it isn’t comfortable and is difficult to get on, causing the stitching to come loose. It may just be unlucky with the sizing, but large felt too big, and medium felt too small. It seems a good idea to have an anatomical fit for the shape of the leg, but somehow it didn’t work for me. If you look at other reviews, other people are more positive, so you might have a different experience.
I’ve been using this Altura night vision jacket for over a year. I received it last year as a free product for review.
In summary: it is an excellent light weight / breathable jacket, that you can keep in back pocket or saddle bag. Even after consistent rain for an hour, you stay relatively dry and warm, yet you don’t sweat excessively.
The first downside to the jacket, is that in my case the zip didn’t work. I can’t undo it, without a long time of frustrating tugging and pulling. I have to leave zipped up, and just put over my head. On noting this flaw in the product, I mentioned to the Altura rep, who sent the jacket in the first place. He replied by saying, ‘OK, please don’t mention in your review.’ I never heard anything else, like perhaps a replacement jacket. It wasn’t exactly the most amazing piece of marketing strategy and customer care.
In fairness, I think I was unlucky. Looking at other online reviews, I’ve not noticed anyone else complain about a broken zip. Perhaps if you had bought a jacket, you would have got better after sales service. The bizarre thing is I keep thinking the jacket is so good, it’s worth buying one just to get one with a working zip, but in the end it doesn’t seem worth the £70 just for jacket with a working zip so I use this good jacket which needs unorthodox putting on. It means I have to stop to put it on, but to be honest I’m no good at putting on jackets whilst cycling – like the pros anyway.
I chose a size L because I’m tall, (6ft 3″) and have long legs. I’m as thin as the proverbial hill climb whippet (36″ chest maybe) so it is inevitably baggy. But, it’s not too bad, I’ve usually got quite a few layers underneath anyway. It does make a difference having a waterproof jacket which goes down just past your wrists. Helps to keep your hands warm. I like it because it seems designed for the racing position. It’s a little on the short side when standing up, but quite good in position.
Waterproofing and breathability
When looking for a waterproof jacket, there seems to be a three way trade off
To score highly on both 2 and 3, you need to pay a lot. At £70, this jacket is quite expensive for a small fold away jacket, but it offers an excellent combination of waterproofing and breathability. This is definitely a proper waterproof jacket (as opposed to ‘water resistant’) I’ve been out in some heavy rain, and feel securely protected from the worst of the weather. But, it’s never too hot, and you can go as hard as you like up hills without becoming excessively sweaty.
Review of the The Bontrager RXL waterproof overshoe.
I’m always on the lookout for warm footwear and accessories. These Bontrager RXL overshoes looked very warm with a generous fleece lining. They also came recommended from Steve, the bike mechanic in BikeZone. Despite already having a pair of overshoes, I bought these. They cost £36, so I was hoping they would give an impressive performance to justify the price tag. Steve gave me a tip that he recommended erring on the side of getting a bigger size.
He said the first pair he had were tight, restricting the blood flow and defeating the purpose of overshoes. I take shoe size 46.5, so I chose the XL size which says it fits 47-48. It proved a good fit for my Mavic cycling shoes – size 46.5. I’m sure it would be fine also for shoe size 47, but 48 might be a little on the tight side. Despite getting XL, it was a snug fit, and once on didn’t move. There is a good strong zip and it is well made.
Underneath the shoe is designed for durability, with generous holes and no insulation. It means it won’t deteriorate walking around, but it doesn’t offer any insulation from the underneath. A complement to this shoe may be a lining of your shoe pad.
The main selling point for this overshoe was the generous fleece lining. It is warmer that most overshoes. My feet were quite warm at 10 degrees without the usual hotpads. These over shoes are ideal for really cold days.
If you’re feet aren’t prone to the cold, these might even be a bit warm during spring and autumn, where it is a close call on whether to wear overshoes or not. If you don’t often get cold feet, you might be better off with a cheaper and slightly thinner overshoe. At £40, it really is quite an expensive overshoe.
If you want maximum insulation for an overshoe, it is hard to beat this.
Despite warmth and the layers of insulation, I find it perfectly breathable. It’s not sweaty. I sometimes find the neoprene overshoes to be a bit on the sweaty side.