Specialized's latest front in its campaign to take over the cycling world is on-bike clothing, an area where it has been producing quality items for some time but is now devoting more attention and resources to.
Highlighting our test collection is the new Activate jersey with its brushed polyester material that provides a bit of extra warmth as the days get shorter. Mesh panels run down the center of the back and around the armpits as the activity level rises, though, and if that isn't enough there is also a full-length zipper. Three pockets with a bit of reflective material plus a zippered security pocket adorn the rear and a siliconized hem helps keep the jersey in place.
The Eureka jersey boasts a heavier-weight Fieldsensor fabric throughout and a lined full-length zipper to better keep out the cold. As winter typically brings less daylight and more precipitation, Specialized also equips the Eureka with extra reflective material and a waterproof lining in the center pockets to protect your valuables.
Truly cold conditions call for the Eureka Element jersey which builds on the standard Eureka with windproof panels on the front of the body and sleeves. Waffle-texture materials form a protective 'lollipop' of insulation around the shoulders, base of the neck and down the front center while stretch panels along the sides help maintain a good fit.
Further details include zippered, reflective and colour-contrasting cuffs and a siliconized rear hem. Just two pockets (plus a piggybacked one with a zipper) adorn the rear but Specialized at least adds an extra 'napoleon' pocket up front.
Need a shell, too? Then the Deflect Hybrid jacket might do the trick with its lightweight wind- and water-resistant shell that quickly converts to a vest via a removable one-piece sleeve and upper shoulder section. Extra ventilation comes courtesy of an open mesh panel beneath the yoke while the single rear and front napoleon pockets (both zippered) provide a bit of room for goodies.
Finishing things off is the BG Pro RBX knicker with lofted 'Therminal' front panels, more breathable Fieldsensor rear panels and Specialized's cushier BG Pro RBX chamois. Silicone grippers and minimal racer-back mesh bibs keep everything in place.
Winter is fast approaching so we've already begun to log some miles on this stuff. Stay tuned for a full review in the near future.
Prices: US$90 (Activate jersey); UK£60/US$125 (Eureka jersey); UK£80/US$155 (Eureka Element jersey); UK£70/US$120 (Deflect Hybrid jacket); UK£95/US$165 (BG Pro RBX knicker)