RCUK’s Christmas Gift Guide 2016: cycling clothing for all budgets

From the novel to the sublime, what to buy your cycling loved ones this Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, and if you’ve not started your seasonal shopping yet, then time is of the essence.

Looking for some great cycling gifts to treat the cyclist in your life to the perfect present on Christmas morning? Then our gift guides have you covered – we’ve already looked at the best cycling books of 2016, must-have cycling gadgets and great cycling stocking fillers.

Now let’s look at apparel. From performance gear to get you through the winter months to some quirky Christmas specials, we’ve picked out some of the best cycle clothing around, with options to suit different budgets…

FWE Kennington FX Waterproof Reflective Jacket

Reflective cycling clothing is on the rise – and with the FWE Kennington FX Jacket it’s impossible to miss.

Aimed at safety-conscious commuters, the FX Waterproof Reflective Jacket is a stylish silver by day but lights up like a Christmas tree in the glare of headlights.

It’s also waterproof and stretchy enough for a comfortable fit, with other touches including a chest pocket, removable hood and two waist pockets.

Price: £74.99
Website: Evans Cycles

HOY Vulpine Men’s Thermal Bib Shorts

We’ve recently put HOY Vulpine’s Thermal bib shorts to the test (read the review here), and were very impressed – lightweight but thermal and comfortable with a performance feel.

Paired with leg warmers, we were more than happy wearing them in temperatures of five to ten degrees, and they should also be versatile enough to wear in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn too.

A comfortable Cytech chamois, textured leg grippers and the lightweight microfleece layer all combine for an excellent pair of versatile bib shorts.

Price: £120.00
Website: Vulpine

dhb Aeron Storm Waterproof Jacket

Wiggle’s in-house clothing brand, dhb, has really upped its game for the 2016 autumn/winter range and the Aeron Storm Waterproof Jacket gets top marks as far as we’re concerned.

They say it’s their most advanced product to date, and with a price tag of £125 it delivers plenty of bang for your buck. A hardier version of dhb’s popular Tempo jacket, the Storm boasts 37.5 fabric technology to keep your body temperature as close to optimum as possible.

It’s also super breathable and completely waterproof, with a number of well thought out touches to seal the deal – no wonder we were so impressed when we reviewed it.

Price: £125
Website: Wiggle

Sportful Fiandre NoRain Bib Tights

Sportful’s Fiandre range of weatherproof kit, inspired by the changeable conditions of Flanders – and therefore perfect for British weather, too – is a firm favourite at RCUK Towers.

And the NoRain bib tights are another piece of kit recently handed the RCUK seal of approval, offering superb performance in both wet and dry riding conditions.

Built from water-repellent, brushed NoRain fabric, these step up the protection from the NoRain Team bib tights (£90) immediately before it in the range.

That means for your extra £30 you get the same great fit but add in an extra layer over the knees, thighs and back for added warmth and weather protection in poor winter conditions.

Price: £120
Website: Sportful

Santini Vega Acquazero Long Sleeve Jersey

The Santini Vega Acquazero long sleeve jersey joins the equally impressive bib tights in the Italian firm’s water-repellent Vega Acquazero range.

The Acquazero treatment can withstand a decent splash of the wet stuff, so you’ll be protected in rain showers, while a fleece lining boosts comfort and warmth too. Prolonged downpours can beat it, but this is a very capable jersey for mixed conditions.

There’s a typically Italian close fit, but we found little to fault with the jersey – or the bib tights, for that matter – when we tested them earlier this year.

Price: £113.99
Website: Santini

Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell

Endura hugely impressed us with the FS260-Pro SL waterproof jacket, which they launched back in March.

It’s built to survive the ‘dreich’ – or, in other words, cold, dreary Scottish conditions – and combines excellent waterproofing, excelling windproofing and excellent breathability. Top marks, then.

Even in driving wind and rain we found we stayed dry, and with a very high collar that goes for protection from the wind too. You’ll also find a storm flap behind the zip to also help keep wind and rain out, while a good cut, compact size (small enough to fit in a jersey pocket) and sensible price make this jacket a favourite of ours.

Price: £139.99
Website: Endura

Galibier Ultimate Foul Weather Gilet

Galibier are a small British outfit who make clothing suitable for UK riding conditions – and the the Ultimate Foul Weather Gilet ticks plenty of boxes in that regard.

It’s a softshell gilet, but that doesn’t mean added bulk, even with a triple layer membrane construction offering windproofing and being highly water resistant.

It’s also plenty breathable, meaning, all in all, it’s perfect changeable riding conditions. The fit is sensible, and the addition of a dropped tail helps protect from wheel spray, too.

Price: £47
Website: Galibier

Rapha Classic Winter Jacket

Rapha’s new autumn/winter range is packed with plenty of eye-catching kit, and the Classic Winter Jacket is one of our favourite new pieces.

Essentially, it brings together the best bits of Rapha’s Classic Softshell and Hardshell jackets, making it a do-it-all jacket for racking up base miles.

Made from Polartec’s Power Shield Pro fabric, it’s waterproof and windproof, with taped seams to ensure the rain gets kept out.

Available in four colours, it does carry a big price tag, but Rapha’s latest range now also includes the £100 Core Rain Jacket.

Price: £260
Website: Rapha

Gaerne Winter Road Gore-Tex Shoes

While many riders opt for overshoes at this time of year, winter shoes provide a purpose-built solution – and Gaerne’s Winter Road Gore-Tex shoes are among the best out there.

The Gore-Tex fabric construction means these are perfect for winter training, offering good waterproofing and breathability.

A high neoprene ankle cuff and a smattering of hi-viz detailing completes the winter riding features, but Gaerne haven’t forgotten about performance – a thin, carbon-reinforced nylon sole helps reduce stack height and improve power transfer.

Price: £179.99
Website: Gaerne

Hackney GT Sock Bundle

Socks. As intrinsically linked to the opening of Christmas presents as turkey and stuffing are to the Christmas meal.

Everyone needs socks, right? And this Hackney GT Sock Bundle boasts the brand’s classic Robi design on super stretchy, polyamide/cotton socks.

Hackney GT say the socks are built for durability, comfort and breathability – the ideal Christmas cycling gift?

Price: £24.00
Website: Hackney GT

Giro Seasonal Wool Sock

While we’re talking socks, if you don’t want a Christmas-specific design then perhaps the Giro Merino Seasonal Wool Sock is more your thing?

The socks combine a 6” cuff length with a warm feel thanks to the merino wool – while still remaining thin enough for a precise fit inside your shoe.

Merino wool is also anti-bacterial, so that will help keep your feet smelling fresh. Well, as fresh as they can be after several hours in the saddle, anyway!

Price: £14.99

Redbear Men’s Long Sleeve Christmas Jumper Cycle Jersey

Redbear first launched their Christmas Jumper-inspired cycle jersey a few years ago but, as quirky as it was, it wasn’t a great choice for the Boxing Day club run owing to it being short-sleeved.

So, having also added a women’s cut and a new design last year, Redbear have returned to their original and launched a long-sleeve version for Christmas 2016.

Printed to look like a knitted jumper, the polyester jersey – with full YKK zip, high collar, silicone gripper and three rear pockets to stuff with mince pies – comes with a more relaxed ‘club cut’, so you don’t need to worry about eating too much at Christmas either.

Price: £44.00
Website: Redbear Sports

Scimitar Christmas Fairisle Blue Cycling Jersey

Also getting in on the Christmas jersey theme are Scimitar, who have launched a whole range of seasonal jerseys.

This ‘Fairisle Blue’ design is our pick of the range and, alongside the matching Fairisle Pink’, is a little subtler than some of the others available.

But, if you want to go all out on the Christmas theme, they also have Santa, Christmas Elf and Christmas Pudding designs.

Price: £30
Website: Halfords

Hackney GT Alpine Windtex Winter Jacket

Hackney GT have taken the Christmas cycling jersey theme a step further, by getting into the festive spirit with a thoroughly performance-orientated jacket.

Based on the popular Alpine design which first made an appearance on Hackney GT’s bobble hats, the Alpine Windtex Winter Jacket is windproof, showerproof and features a tailored aero fit.

There are three large, angled pockets at the back, plus a fourth, hidden zipped pocket, while you’ll also find a reflective rear tab and a high collar for wind protection.

Sure, it’s going to cost you a little more, but this jacket is not just for a Christmas laugh, it’s built to last.

Price: £109.00
Website: Hackney GT


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