Picking the Right Jacket

In association with Cycle Super Store

When it comes to choosing a cycling jacket, the saying ‘One size fits all’ does not apply. Selecting your jacket depends on the weather condition you’ll be riding your bike in. The two most common types of jackets available on the market are ‘Rain’ or ‘Wind Proof’ jacket.  So, what’s the difference between the two types?

Even on a relatively still day, when riding you’re a bike you will generate a significant breeze. This breeze stops you from building up a nice layer of warm air which keeps you insulated and protected from the elements. This breeze can also result in you becoming chilly especially on dry winter days, taking the edge off this chill is essential.  Even though there have been great advancements in clothing technology in recent years there hasn’t been a jacket that can do both. Some people will try to wear a rain jacket to keep the wind off them, but this tactic can do the opposite to what you want the jacket to do.

Breathability is the key word and here is why.  Rain jackets by their design have taped seams to keep the rain out. However, if the breathability of the jacket is quite poor these taped seams will prevent any sweat from evaporating making you feel you’re wearing a bin liner and becoming a boil in the bag. The wind jacket will help you build up the layer of warm air, keeping you toasty while level of breathability will allow your sweat to evaporate prevent you from getting that clammy feeling. Wind proof jackets are usually packable meaning they can be folded up and put into one of jersey pockets.  They are ideal for cool morning starts and can be easily stowed in your jersey pocket and can be slipped back on for those long cold descents.

Rain jackets by their nature will have a long back with a grippy seem on the bottom to prevent the jacket moving up your back and will have tight cuffs and a high neck. When it comes to a rain jacket, you have two options a hard or soft shell. Most high-quality waterproof jackets are a hard shell and are designed to withstand the worst of the wet weather. The hard-shell jacket tries to prevent moisture coming in contact with your skin. This combined with the windchill of riding can quickly turn a pleasant cycle into a horrible one. The softshell jacket is an excellent versatile alternative to a fully waterproof hard shell. However, they are not designed to withstand a prolonged deluge and are only ideal for a quick shower. Their big plus over a hardshell is that they can offer more breathability and can be easily folded down and placed in your back pocket. This is something their hard shells cousins can’t.

Waterproof Rating (mm)Water Resistance ProvidedConditions
0-5,000mmNo resistance to some resistanceLight rain, dry snow, no pressure
6,000-10,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under light pressure.Light rain, average snow, light pressure.
11,000-15,000 mmRainproof and waterproof except under high pressure.Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.
16,000-20,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under high pressure.Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure
20,000 mm+Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressureHeavy rain, wet snow, high pressure
Rain Rating Table

Whatever option you go for (hard or soft) always look for the jackets rain rating. This demonstrates how long the jacket will stay waterproof depending on the volume.

Brand/ModelMens/Womens VersionWind ProofPackableBreathableWaterproof RatingColourPriceLink
BL StelvioBothYesYesYesN/AFluio Yellow€59.90HERE
BL Normandia_EBothYesYesYes10,000Black€89.90HERE
Endura XtractBothYesYes5,0005,000Blue, Black, Yellow or Green€84.99HERE
Endura FS260 Adrenaline Race II JacketMensN/AYes20,00015,000Fluro +Various€94.99HERE
Endura Pro SL WaterproofMensN/AYes60,00020,000Black, Yellow€239.99HERE
Assos Equipe RS TargaYesYesYesN/AN/AVarious€345HERE

Bicycle Shorts

In association with Cycle Super Store

Now spring is finally here, it’s time to ditch those bib tights and winter clothing. Something that can be underestimated is a good quality pair of cycling shorts. A good pair of cycling shorts will make cycling long distances much more comfortable and provide cushioning and relief for your sensitive bits! So, what should you look out for when purchasing a pair of cycling shorts?

Before we start talking about shorts, the golden rule for cycling shorts is to wear them au naturel. In other words, you should not wear any underwear under your cycling shorts. The pad or chamois/chammy is designed to sit next to the skin. Adding an extra layer will inevitably lead to friction which can lead to chaffing/irritation and prevent the pad from doing the job it’s supposed to do

Bib Shorts

When it comes to shorts you have two design options open to you, bib shorts or waist shorts. Both designs have their pros and cons, and it usually boils down to individual’s preference. Bib shorts have two straps at the top of the short which go over your shoulders like braces securing them in place. The reason for the straps is to ensure the shorts stay in place preventing chafing or saddle sore. This style of short is designed not to restrict your breathing during those lung busting cycles or press on your bladder.

Waist shorts do have their benefits. By having less material they are more effective in keeping you cool and sometimes you just want the breeze up your back. They have the added benefit of being easier to remove for a toilet break (especially for women). That’s not to say they don’t have their issues. In some cases, the waist band can act like a sponge and soak up sweat which some people may find uncomfortable against their skin. However, the biggest issue people have with waist shorts is they are not guaranteed to stay in place, something the bib short is able to do.

So is there anything else you need to look out for? Cycling short manufacturers will often characterise their shorts for how long a ride they are designed for. This could come in the form of a thicker pad, or how the pad is sewn onto the shorts. Most short manufacturers will have different ranges which have offer benefits over each other, but these differences are usually reflected in the price.

Something else worth considering is Chamois Creme. It is designed to provide prolonged comfort in the saddle and increase the life of your chamois and your ride time. It does this by decreasing friction and avoids bacterial and fungal infections on your skin.

See Cycle Superstore’s range of chamois and anti friction cream HERE.

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