Friday, December 4, 2009 12.00pm
By James Huang, technical editor
Capo lend a measure of extra protection against the cold bite of winter with their Limited Edition Roubaix leg warmers. The trailing side is built with proven Super Roubaix brushed fabric for cozy insulation while the knees, shins and upper thighs swap in wind- and water-resistant Element4 laminate fabric to ward off icy breezes and road spray.
We were comfortable in these down to about 7°C (45°F) and found them best suited to rides where wind chill is the primary danger – it helps that the generous 70cm length (size L/XL) covers a good portion of the thigh, too.
Much colder than that, however, and there just isn't enough insulation up front as the Super Roubaix material is only used on the rear faces. On the plus side, the laminate front does an excellent job of shedding rain and road spray, although mud will still stick.
Laminate fabrics used in cycling kit generally offer good protection but are notorious for their relative lack of stretch, especially in higher demand applications like leg coverings. Capo have done a pretty good job overall of lending the Limited Edition Roubaix leg warmers a form fit here, what with the three-panel face, gripper top and long ankle zips, but the stretchy rear half simply can't shoulder the full burden of that much motion.
Our sample was a touch loose around the sides of the knees – forgivable given the type of fabric used – but at the same time borderline too tight just above the kneecap. A more dramatically pre-curved shape would probably help here. The laminate fabric can run if you size the warmers too small or are too forceful when pulling them on, and riders with atypical leg shapes – say, short and girthy or long and skinny – might have a hard time.
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