Winter's harsh conditions can turn riding outdoors into an exercise in masochism, but investment in proper clothing goes a long, long way towards making it more enjoyable.
We just took delivery of a wide range of cold weather gear from Capo and though it's barely November, some unseasonably cold and wintery conditions at our US office in Colorado – plus a bunch of early morning cyclo-cross workouts – have given us a head start on testing it. Stay tuned for more in-depth reviews once we've managed some more time on everything.
Topping the range is the Limited Edition (LE) collection, which uses Capo's highest-end fabrics and more performance-oriented cuts. The LE Jacket features highly insulative Sphere dual-layer polyester weave on the upper front torso and front of the sleeves, stretchy Windtex Dream across the shoulders and upper back, and water-resistant Teflon-treated Thermo Roubaix everywhere else for breathability.
Three rear pockets with a piggybacked zippered pocket plus an additional zipped chest pocket provide plenty of storage, and a tight-fitting hem and cuffs keep drafts at bay. Suggested retail price is a reasonable US$199 (Capo don't have a UK distributor at present).
The matching LE Roubaix Bib Tight uses eight panels of cozy fleece-backed and water-resistant Thermo Roubaix fabric with additional Windtex Dream protection across the front of the shins, knees and thighs. Thermo Roubaix is even used throughout the high-cut torso and bib straps, and zippers down below and up high make it easy to get them on and off. Our $259 test piece also includes a multi-density, multi-thickness stretch Cytech chamois.
Rounding out the LE collection is a range of accessories such as arm ($59) and leg ($69) warmers with wind- and waterproof front panels, snug-fitting fleece-lined gloves ($69) with wind- and water-resistant panels and silicone grippers, matching four-panel booties ($79) and a merino wool short-sleeved base layer whose impressive ability to shield us from winter chill has already nearly made us forget its premium $79 price tag.
Riders who are on a tighter budget (or don't need something quite so burly) can instead look to the $159 Atlas Thermal Jacket with its slightly more generously cut medium-weight Super Roubaix and Winter Quattro brushed fabrics and less-stretchy Windtex Diadema front torso, double-thickness upper back, and tight-fitting cuffs and hem.
Three pockets (an unfortunate rarity for some reason on many other winter jackets) adorn the rear for lugging the essentials and the front zip is a two-way affair for more flexible ventilation options.
More temperate climates look to be a good pairing for the $129 Atlas Wind Vest with its lightweight and highly packable Windtex Flight Plus 2 front and full open-mesh back or the matching Atlas arm ($39) and leg ($69) warmers and Roubaix Hat ($49), all with breathable Super Roubaix construction.
For those who already have the rest of the Atlas summer-weight gear, it's worth noting that Capo have managed to line up the colours and patterns with all of these accessories perfectly – and we mean perfectly, right down to the little oval icons.
Final bits of Capo test kit include middleweight Winter Wool Socks ($18) with a 12cm cuff, the Milano Skull Cap ($39) built with Super Roubaix and a windproof front panel, and the casual Felpe Trainer ($174) for hitting the cafe after the ride is through.