Although the company name is Specialized Bicycle Components, the Big Red S is better known for its bikes than its parts. In recent years, Specialized shoes and helmets have earned their way to the top of many riders' lists, but clothing hasn't been the company's strong suit.
Recently, though, the clothing has improved markedly, thanks in no small part to apparel manager Peter Curran, a veteran of Burton and Pearl Izumi who came on board a few years ago. Here we take a look at a few new cool-weather pieces, plus some more casual around-town items from Specialized's new Utility line.
Specialized DriRelease Merino jerseys
Specialized's DriRelease Merino is a lightweight polyester/merino wool blend. The long sleeve jersey above and the short sleeve green jersey up top are both in the slightly relaxed RBX cut. (Specialized divides road clothing into SL race cut and RBX relaxed fit.) The material feels great against the skin, more like an old T-shirt than a sublimated jersey. It's thin and good on its own for cool days, or as an insulative layer on colder ones.
Regardless of cut, the DriRelease Merino jerseys come in a few natural tones: gray, green, blue, etc.
Reflective elements are stitched into the jerseys, and the zippered valuables pocket has a liner on the body-facing side to block sweat from your phone or cash.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at the $130-$160 DriRelease Merino jerseys. (They are not yet available in the UK.)
Therminal is Specialized's name for brushed-fleece fabric, which feels super soft on the skin but also does a great job of wicking away moisture. The brushed fleece effectively creates insulating loft, too, so the $140 Therminal Long Sleeve jersey is good for riding in the cold. (This jersey isn't available in the UK, but a Therminxal RBX Sport Long Sleeve jersey is.)
And yes, it also comes in black or red if the day-glo hunter orange is a bit much for you.
The $120 Therminal Bib Shorts use a similar fabric for warmth, plus a windproof panel on the crotch for welcome protection on the coldest of days.(These bibs are not sold in the UK.)
Utility casual ride wear
At first blush the Utility line seems to riff on Giro's New Road or Chrome's city riding gear. Drawing heavily on a gray and bright orange palette, the Utility pieces are perfectly functional casual wear with nods to city-riding concerns such as visibility and rain protection.
The $160 / £85 Utility DriRelease Merino Sweater above, for example, has thick reflective panels tucked underneath the pocket flap on the chest and rear pockets, so you just tuck the flap in when pedaling around town at night.
The $180 / £90 Utility Reversible Vest has reflective piping all the way around the arm holes, and the interior is all day-glo orange, should you want to flip it for maximum visibility.
The $150 / £95 Utility Hoodie has a fleecy interior and a water-resistant-treatment exterior for warmth in the elements, plus reflective piping front and rear.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look.