Cold weather riding can be exhilarating provided one has the proper cycling apparel. However, I’ve reached the inescapable conclusion that most of the so-called winter cycling gear has been designed for merely a short jaunt along the promenade on nothing more than a chilly afternoon – forget a cold New England day.
Recently however, I’ve had the good fortune of reviewing some cold weather cycling togs that have proven their mettle when it comes to taking on the throes of winter here in the northern hemisphere.
The latest to impress me are Nalini’s AHW XWARM winter jacket and bibtights.
Right out of the package, AHW XWARM jacket flaunts its high-tech design and slick aesthetics, featuring a two-layer material that comprises a highly reflective external membrane that provides both excellent visibility and wind-block, along with a soft wool lining that extends throughout the inside of the jacket and sleeves for optimal warmth and perspiration management.
The sleeves also posses a special ergonomic construction, along with rubberized cuffs, that ensure excellent coverage and body fit, sealing off the wrists from the cold and making for an excellent interface between sleeve and glove.
Additionally, the AHW XWARM winter jacket has a host of other impressive features such as a full frontal zipper with an inside wind protection flap, water and stain resistant material on the neck, cuffs, rear pockets and tail, zippered side openings to help modulate body temperature and reflective logos and piping for added visibility.
The AHW XWARM winter bibtights follow a similar design and construction as the jacket, providing wind and water protection to the crotch and abdominal areas courtesy of a three layer membrane fabric, while the same soft wool lining extends along the upper legs to high up on the chest for superior warmth.
Similar to the sleeves on the AHW XWARM jacket, the lower legs feature the same rubberized material from the calf down in order to shield the lower extremities from the wind and water.
Let’s not forget about the pad, which features a stretchable, anatomically shaped chamois, wherein varying densities of foam have been applied to key areas in order to ensure excellent comfort.
So, how low (weather-wise) can you go?
After traversing the barren winter landscape of western Massachusetts during riding conditions that sometimes fell into single digit temperatures, AHW XWARM winter jacket and bibtights proved to be one of the warmest combinations I’ve yet to experience in winter cycling apparel, providing supreme protection from the elements while the garments simultaneously lended themselves to excellent ergonomic fit and comfort.
I especially appreciated how Nalini was keen to extend the coverage of bibtights’s wool material to sit high on the chest, bringing further warmth to an area that is often neglected by other designs.
Speaking of fit, I was surprised to see just how well Nalini factored in sizing, as most European cycling apparel tends to run on the smaller side of the spectrum, especially if its aimed toward the “racer”. But, in the case of the AHW XWARM winter jacket and bibshorts, both pieces had a more generous fit, making them an even more ideal choice for the “mortal” cyclist who’s looking to stay warm, dry and comfortable out there in the cold.
The AHW XWARM winter jacket and bibshorts sell for $399.99 and $199.99 respectively, which can be purchased at Nalini.cc.
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