At the high end of the market, just like bikes, there really isn’t a shootout to do. It comes down to fit, styling, and the brands that appeal to you the most. Also, what’s in your local bike shop. This season I’ve worn and reviewed Castelli, Gore, and Rapha. Nalini’s winter kit just arrived with a Showerspass jacket this week. Nalini is Italian and at Interbike, earlier in the year, they had the best looking stuff. This kit didn’t make the cut into the Wired feature I wrote, so I wanted to follow up on it later. The quality of the materials is noticeable to the eye and when worn. The fit is snug, as you’d expect from the Italians. Try Italian kit on and wear it when you’re in shape or use it to motivate yourself to get in better shape. And damn it do I wish I was in better shape!
I get this awesome package of stuff in all I can muster is a weak 45 minute ride of sadness. I am forced to imagine what it is like to do a long ride in it, as I limp around my living room trying to determine how warm the Windproofing is. Kit like this is made for all-day, epic riding, not just spinning by the local off-leash, dog park.
4-needle construction and detailing like this
With the changes in the market after Gore’s monopoly was broken by eVent and others, many types of fabrics are available to “provide an optimal climate for the body”; or in other words, the microclimates I’ve been writing about and wishing I was out riding in. Like, my fat friend Jim just did with Moots.
Little to no cold wind is getting through that fabric
The Oeste is for the coldest days. It’s warm before the ride, just standing around in your living room, and is made with Manto’s flavor of stretch windproof fabric and DWR, a durable weather resistant coating. That means you’ll need to take care of a jacket like this to make sure it lasts. Wash it only when really necessary, don’t cook it in the dryer, and refresh the waterproofing with Nikwax and/or a steam iron.
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Neoprene cuffs close the gap between gloves and the sleeve
Where the Rapha knickers bunched at the knee when ridden, the Garudas land right below it and feature an elastic band. The fit is also anatomic, snug and while I prefer an elastic pad, the one sewn in is meant for all-day comfort. It’s natural leather. I haven’t ridden in a leather chamois since the 80s. Italiano! What Nalini wants you to know is this is the same kit the Pros ride and they’re old school, hard men and women.
Nalini is priced at $269.00 for the jacket and $179.00 for the bibs. Albabici, a US distributor, also sent gloves and shoe covers and I’ll ride with them when it gets colder for the total Italian immersion experience.
We don’t run product shootouts here or rate with stars, but blog what we’re riding and into. The Nalini is recommend, if it fits you, you like Italian styling, a leather chamios, and climbing up in the Kent Highlands.
Running stairs in knickers
It hasn’t been that cold in Seattle yet and the short ride I did yesterday was with the zipper unzipped. Gently running up a set of stairs, everything stayed in place below the equator. That’s very important when your balls are on the line, everytime you leap off and onto a saddle. I also wondered, again, riding back home how the Italians keep their hair so neat, even under a helmet?
See the Nalini Winter Kit photos lightboxed, in full-rez on G+.