Primal’s designs for cycling clothing keep getting more and more interesting. The the stuff balances affordability and quality into a high-value package.
I was bummed that this kit didn’t come in a men’s version. I’m a big fan of pop art and I like fun designs.
What makes Primal increasingly interesting, though, are their casual pieces that allow you to go from bike to work or dinner or beers. As I’ve written previously, I like pieces that telegraph that I’m a cyclist, without making me look silly in polite company.
They are expanding into pants cut with gussets and roomy seats for cyclist bodies. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wear skinny jeans.
All of the pieces I saw came with reflective tabs, a certain amount of stretch, pockets conducive to cyclists and enough style to be noticeable but not obnoxious. I like some of these pieces better than items in Giro’s New Road line.
Pearl Izumi has also introduced some items that bridge that gap between baggy stuff for mountain biking and clothing you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear while in a grocery store. Cotton, after all, is not a particularly technical fabric.
The Men’s Versa Barrier Jacket could get you through a ride in a total downpour, a chilly day or an evening by a campfire sipping whisky. It’s got a fitted collar, hand mitts for when you remove your gloves, a plethora of pockets and a hood that will fit under a helmet.
Pearl’s newest technology is called PI Dry and it can be found in tights, bibs, and all the warmers. Water just beads up on the fabric. The big plus is that this doesn’t make the items super premium; these are the Pursuit Thermal Bib Tights, and they include a chamois but only run $140. Thanks to hits of screaming yellow and reflective stripes, you’ll be plenty visible in these.
SealSkinz is rapidly becoming one of my go-to brands for waterproof items. These gloves caught my eye while I was visiting their booth. They are called the Hybrid Overmitten.
They look like your average insulated glove but a small mitt can be pulled from the cuff to stretch over the fingers. It strikes me as perfect item for fall mornings. You roll out with a bit more protection and as it warms you peel the extra layer back and tuck it away.
I spent a number of days in SealSkinz’ waterproof cycling cap while I was in Japan last spring. It was a life saver. They’ve now introduced a mutt—a insulated winter cycling cap and unlike every other mutt in my collection, this one is, of course, waterproof.
My one knock against Seal Skinz’ waterproof socks has been how thick they are. They’ve now come out with a new sock that’s even thinner than their previous efforts.
Ima just go ahead and admit that I didn’t know that Lizard Skins made gloves. I saw a number of models but the Monitor SL, a lightweight, padding-free glove really caught my eye for ‘cross and gravel riding. They’re impressive not because they are only $29.99, but they look durable and come in six (6!) sizes.
Shimano has really jumped into apparel. While I haven’t had a chance to write about the pieces I’ve been riding, Shimano’s Sphyre line uses amazing materials (lots of weaves rather than knits) with excellent cuts.
Shimano also introduced a new apparel line aimed at gravel riders or anyone who doesn’t want to look like a shrink-wrapped roadie. The pieces have really been thought through from the standpoint of all-day riding, and performance-based comfort. But some of the features are pretty fresh.
One of the more notable ideas Shimano had was to include a pocket on the leg of the shorts to hold a gel or the wrappers so you’re not tossing trash. Watch for a review of some of these pieces here.