Winter is coming, which means it's time to dig out the lights, check they still hold their charge, maybe fit some mudguards or a new set of tyres ready for the wet, or perhaps switch over to the faithful winter hack bike .
Being on the cusp of a new season, now is also a great time to review winter cycling gear ready for when the colder temperatures really set in: do we have the base layers, gloves and head/neck/leg/arm warmer combos we need, that will become indispensable when the wind starts to really bite? Do we also have the core mid and outer layers we will want for cold weather riding?
If your answer to the last question is ‘no’, now may be the time to check out Cafe du Cycliste’s Autumn Winter ‘17 range. Last year Cafe launched a new and unique range of winter cycling kit, which we reviewed extensively at the time here. This year they have updated the range with new colour ways as well as more options for female riders (yay!).
The Cafe du Cycliste AW17 Range
As with all things Cafe, style and functionality are considered jointly (their ‘tailored tech’ approach), leading to a range of winter cycling gear with a level of style that belies the tech behind it. Often technical features are turned into design features too, for example using a change in fabric as an opportunity to add a contrasting colour to a jacket. Designs incorporate high quality fabrics like Primaloft thermal padding, Polar Fleece and Merino wool, offering effective insulation without trapping excess heat or moisture. Colours, textures and patterns are all used to create pieces which look and feel great to ride in. Attention to detail is comprehensive. So what’s new for AW17?
Women’s Albertine Gilet
Last year Cafe introduced the men's Albertine, a winter riding gilet combining Primaloft, Merino fleece and windproofing to both insulate and ventilate in cold riding conditions. This year they have made a women’s version too, available in two gorgeous colour ways. The new women's Albertine gilet is ideal for female riders planning on putting in some serious mileage this winter and heading out riding whatever the temperature outside. Plenty of pockets ensure you can keep all your ride essentials readily accessible and the full length zipper helps with mid ride temperature regulation.
Men’s Albertine Gilet and Jacket
The men's version of the Albertine is back in a new olive and grey colour way. This popular Primaloft based insulated jacket/gilet is ideal for intensive efforts in cold temperatures. Here are some of the things Always Riding customers had to say about last year's Albertine:
A great piece to wear for a snug fit for during a hard effort in cold weather (15 to 35F* temps. ) It breathes really well but blocks the wind where it counts.
Eric, US (on the Alphonsine jacket)
As usual with Café Du Cycliste, well thought out and more importantly it works.
I have never been disappointed in any item that I have bought with this brand.
Andrew, UK (on the Alphonsine gilet)
Heidi Jacket - men’s and women’s
The Heidi has been in Cafe's winter range for a while now, and is a favourite among Always Riding customers for regular cool weather riding. This year Cafe have introduced an on-trend turmeric/mustard yellow and grey colour way, available in both women's and men's versions. Everything in the Heidi's design is well thought through, from the shoulder vents in the windproof front panelling to the close fit cuffs which effectively keep out the wind. Here are some of our favourite customer reviews for it:
I wear it, and forget I have it on, simply because it works. Extremely happy
This is the best dual purpose bit of cycling kit for cooler rides yet. The fabric is extremely soft to touch - finer details are thought out and colours subdued nicely
Well made jacket... Has widened my winter riding range. Love it.
Really does look good on and off the bike.
Men’s Alphonsine Merino Fleece Jersey
This unique winter jersey, which combines four way stretch Polar Fleece / Merino blend fabric with windproof panels, is perfect for long winter rides over varying terrain. Cafe have released a new orange/grey colourway for AW17.
Yolande - men’s and women’s
The ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ Yolande jersey is back, with a fresh looking light blue colour way alongside some of the ongoing colour options. This versatile Merino wool based long sleeved jersey is highly praised for its versatility, and is well loved by roadie, commuter, tourer and courier alike. Available in both a men's and women's cut, this is a winter wardrobe staple for many riders, favoured for its easy style and excellent thermoregulation and anti-microbial qualities.
This jersey is even nicer in real life than it looks in the pictures. I'm sure I had admiring looks from other cyclists and it has the sort of styling and detailing you can imagine Sir Brad would wear on a more casual ride.
I have to say this top looks great! You feel great in it too! Lots of stylish touches. Great on bike but equally great worn out in the evening. My Rapha tops did not get a look in.
A new grey and white colourway to complement the grey glen check option has been introduced in the men's version. Windproof, water repellent, and highly packable, the Madeleine is the ideal outer layer for changeable riding conditions.
Overall Cafe have a really comprehensive range of kit for winter riding, with different mid and outer layers to suit various cooler temperature conditions. One of the hardest things with such a good range is deciding which pieces are best for the type of riding you do (and trying hard not to buy everything!). Available now, check out the full range here.