Quick Guide To Winter Jackets

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Just because it’s dark and cold out doesn’t mean you can’t get out and ride. After all, as Eddy Merckx, every single magazine, and everyone on Facebook says: “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing”. With the right outerwear on (and the right equipment and preparations), you can ride comfortably in just about any conditions.

We’ve done some rough guides to dressing for the weather before, but folks keep asking us for specific jacket recommendations. So we pulled out some of our favorites to highlight here for you today. These are all jackets we regularly ride at lunch, after work, and on the weekends.

winter_jackets

MEN’S

Castelli Mortirolo Due Jacket:

This is a heavier-weight, Wind Stopper soft shell jacket from Castelli. It has a smaller cut and a race fit, so we’d definitely recommend buying a size up… especially if you plan on layer up with it. Paired with a long sleeve base layer (or two if it’s really cold), this jacket can help you tackle even the worst weather.

For the WOMEN’S version, click here.

Craft Elite Bike Pace Jacket:

The Craft Elite Bike Pace is another soft shell jacket that does an amazing job of holding in heat without over heating the rider. With a soft, breathable exterior, wind-resistant panels, and an innovative brushed fleece interior featuring ThermoCool technology to help regulate body temperature, this is a great jacket for all day rides in cold conditions. Paired with a base layer and long sleeve jersey, this jacket will keep you comfy down to at least 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Trust us, we had the dubious pleasure of getting to test that out during the Coldest Day of the Year Ride (for North Carolina).

Sugoi Icon Rain Jacket:

The Sugoi Icon is more of a rain jacket than an insulating jacket, but if you live in New England or the Pacific Northwest, you’ll probably need one of these. The Icon is made from Polartec’s incredible new NeoShell material, which is the most breathable waterproof material on the market right now. That being said, you still might want to save this one for when you really need it, because it’ll still hold heat during climbing or hard efforts. But when the rain is coming down, it’s packed with innovative and useful features that’ll keep you dry and cozy while riding. We found this jacket to run a little bit on the larger side…but that should be fine if you’ll be layering under it.

For the WOMEN’S version, click here.

Here’s a cool video about Sugoi’s jacket technology:

Performance Transformer 2.0 Jacket:

This Performance Transformer 2.0 jacket is a great choice for milder days when you might only need a wind jacket. The Transformer 2.0 jacket is built with a wind-resistant material that helps keep you warm on blowy days, and removable sleeves to turn the jacket into a vest if the day really warms up. It’s not insulated, so if you’ll be wearing it when it’s really cold out, you’ll need to layer up underneath, but it’s definitely a great choice for most occasions. It has plenty of features that make it ideal for all-day riding.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket:

Like the Performance Transformer 2.0 jacket, this Pearl Izumi jacket is a wind layer, aimed at more mild days. Again, it’s not insulated, so in the winter its best used as part of a layering system, but it does a stellar job of cutting the wind. Thanks to removable sleeves, you basically get two garments in one that allows it to be worn most of the year. And, with its great use of color and graphics, this jacket stands apart from the crowd.

For the WOMEN’S version, click here.

WOMEN’S

Louis Garneau Enerblock Cycling Jacket

Being a Canadian brand, Louis Garneau understands the importance of staying warm on the bike better than most. That’s why the Louis Garneau Enerblock Cycling jacket is made form Garneau’s amazing Heatmaxx and Enerblock fabrics. Enerblock helps cut the wind chill, while Heatmaxx provides a brushed fleece interior that maximizes heat retention. Pair with a base layer on milder days, or add in a long sleeve jersey to take on even the coldest days. It’s also got some cool features you won’t find on most other cycling jackets, like hand warmer pockets and a zippered sleeve pocket for snacks or valuables.

6 Cycling Gloves for Cold Weather Rides

Now that cold weather has rolled in across much of the country, cyclists everywhere turn to that most common of riding refrains: “My fingers are frozen!” The best way to avoid chilly digits on your ride is to wear long-fingered gloves, so we turned to our clothing team for recommendations of our best and most popular cold weather riding gloves. Of course what you choose to wear will depend on the forecast and your cold tolerance, just like our clothing suggestions for riding in cold weather – but read on below for a few great frost-fighting options (and don’t forget to get your bike ready for cold weather rides too).

winter_gloves_list

1. Smartwool Liner Gloves: Sometimes all you need is a lightweight liner glove to bring you through the cooler season in comfortable warmth, but these gloves are multi-purpose since they are also perfect as an extra insulating layer under your favorite gloves or mittens (and as a barrier if you are using chemical warmers layered inside your gloves).

2. Fox Women’s Digit Gloves: Mountain bike riders have an advantage in cooler weather since they already wear long finger gloves, but don’t be afraid to break out your ‘mountain bike’ gloves on a chilly road ride – just pick a pair that aren’t super-lightweight, like this stylish option from Fox.

3. Pearl Izumi Cyclone Gloves: Pearl Izumi’s most popular, cool weather cycling gloves offer great fit and protection, while adding reflectivity for safety and Comfort Bridge Gel padding for comfort. Elite Softshell is a highly functional stretch fabric that offers windproof, waterproof, thermal and breathable protection for cold weather performance.

4. Louis Garneau Super Prestige Gloves: Ergonomically designed to maximize hand comfort in cold conditions with windproof, waterproof and thermal fabrics, pre-curved fingers and gel padding in the palm. The ‘lobster’ design provides more warmth than full-fingered cycling gloves and better mobility than mittens, but on these gloves you can actually fold back the ‘lobster’ covering to turn them into standard 5-finger gloves.

5. Castelli Diluvio Gloves: Take the warmth of mittens and combine it with the weatherproof properties of neoprene and you have Castelli’s Diluvio gloves. Thermo-sealed, 3mm neoprene construction thwarts wind and rain, plus it’s insulated for amazing heat retention. Thin, flexible design fits easily over your hands and gripper palm improves handlebar control.

6. Belgian Gloves: Only recommended if you are cycling ‘hardman’ like Jens Voigt or Tom Boonen.

Say Hello To The New Louis Garneau

A couple of months ago, when the Performance Bicycle Group Ride of Excellence was assembling after work, we all noticed Jeff and Chuck wearing a previously unseen kit. It looked lightweight, comfortable and definitely had a pro fit. They were all decked out in the new Louis Garneau Course kit, ready to take it for its first test spin. We all agreed that it looked great and that the test would probably be more effective if we each had our own set of Course jerseys and bibs to test out.

Feeling cool in the Louis Garneau Course kit

Sadly, this was not to be, so over the next 40 or so miles, the rest of us sweated it out, jerseys were unzipped, and baselayers were cursed while Chuck and Jeff still looked cool as cucumbers. After the ride, they both agreed that it was by far one of the most comfortable kits they’d ever worn. The chamois was incredibly comfortable, the shorts offered amazing compression and stayed in place, and the jersey offered, as Chuck would later say, “absolutely incredible breathability”. Indeed, the new Course jerseys are almost transparent, they’re so thin. Chuck later tried riding on a 90 degree day in the Louis Garneau Course jersey with a baselayer on, and still found it to be comfortable and cool.

A few days later we got a glimpse of the new Course Aero Helmet, which graced the heads of Tommy V and the Europcar crew at the Tour de France, and the new Course shoes, which feature an all-new fit, razor thin carbon soles and new BOA-style lacing system.

Pierre Rolland’s Course helmet looked great in polka dot

If you’d like to know more about the Course helmet, here’s a video from our Learning Center.

These were just the first glances we had of Louis Garneau’s new 2014 line up, and everything we’ve seen since has lived up to the incredibly high standard set by the Course line. Every jersey, every pair of shorts, every helmet and every pair of shoes has been redesigned for a new, sleeker fit, updated graphics, and all-new ergonomics that improve the fit, breathability, and weight of their gear.

The crowd went wild when they saw how great Thomas Voeckler looked while wearing Louis Garneau Course shoes, bibs, jersey, and helmet.

If you’re looking for a kit that delivers a next-to-skin fit and pro-level performance without the bleeding edge advancements, then check out the Louis Garneau Elite series. The Elite jersey and shorts have the competitive and fast enthusiast rider in mind. For most of us here at Performance, there is at least one of these kits in the quiver. They’re excellent for longer rides, fast group rides, racing and everything in between. The next-to-skin fit is super comfy, and the incredible chamois pad keeps you comfortable all day long.

Louis Garneau Elite jersey

The Louis Garneau Performance line was designed for the enthusiast rider. A more relaxed fit keeps things comfy for those long, wandering rides or for the rider who prefers not to feel like they’ll need turpentine to remove their jersey after a ride. But don’t let that fool you. This writer has more than a few miles laid down with the Performance jersey and bibs, and has found that they are excellent for high mileage days. The jersey is highly breathable, while the bibs offer plenty of support with a great pad that’ll keep you from squirming in the saddle. The updated graphics help take this kit to a new level of finish that always looks great.

Louis Garneau Performance jersey

The folks up in Quebec have been busy, and it’s paid off big time. To browse our full collection of Louis Garneau clothing, helmets, and accessories, click here.

If you’d like to learn more about the Louis Garneau brand, Mr. Garneau himself reflects on thirty years in the cycling business below.

First Look at What’s New – Weeks1-4

Every week we’re taking a look at what’s new, exciting or coming soon to PerformanceBike.com – here’s a quick roundup of our first 4 weeks of videos, featuring bikes and gear for every cyclist.

Week 1

This week’s gear: Sidi Wire Carbon Road Shoes, GORE Oxygen SO Women’s Jacket, Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Drink Mix and the Charge Filter Apex Cyclocross Bike.

Week 2

This week’s gear: Louis Garneau Course SpeedZone vest, Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet, Shimano Dura-Ace ST-9000 Shifters, Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheels and the Charge Cooker Single Speed Mountain Bike.

Week 3

This week’s gear: Charge Bikes Mortar Pub Bike, Feedback Sports Recreational Work Stand, Sidi Drako Mountain Bike Shoes, Light & Motion Seca 750 Headlight and Shimano Dura-Ace BR-9000 Brakes.

Week 4

This week’s gear: Dakine Juniper Women’s jersey, Dakine Tempest Women’s Short, Dakine Shield Jacket, Dakine Charger Crew Jersey, Time ATAC XC8, XC6 & XC4 Mountain Bike pedals, and the Van Dessel Gin & Trombones Disc Cyclocross Bike.

Product Profile: Louis Garneau Course collection

For 30 years, Louis Garneau has stayed the course with race-inspired, high-tech cycling clothing. Now, they’re introducing their Limited Edition, premium Course line that delivers even more technology and performance than ever before. You can find the entire Course collection on Performancebike.com, but here’s a breakdown of a few of the innovative new products from this collection of high performance cycling gear.

Winner of the 2012 Eurobike Award for design excellence and innovation, the Course SpeedZone cycling vest was developed in cooperation with Team Europcar to provide great utility and protection. Louis Garneau’s patent pending opening on the rear of the vest allows access to your jersey pockets and provides visibility if you are wearing a race number. The ultra-light, stretchy fabric moves with you, offers wind and water resistance and breathes extremely well, plus an inner flap behind the full zip gives further protection while the mesh back panel prevents overheating.

The Course Race cycling bib shorts are a perfect example of a product that has been specially constructed to shave seconds, maximize muscle performance and keep you going strong, long after you’ve dropped the rest of the pack. Tight-fitting, high-compression fabric supports your thighs for powerful pedaling efficiency and is embedded with sun-reflective, coldblack technology to prevent overheating. Minimal seams increase aerodynamics, Power Mesh bibs keep you cool and a “nature calls” panel makes for easy pit stops. The new 5Motion chamois closes the deal with the amazing comfort of 3D pre-shaped wings, vented mesh, pressure relieving zones and antibacterial protection.

Designed to help you ride better, faster and stronger, the Course Race cycling jersey is a great looking piece packed with serious high-tech features. Three innovative fabrics move with your body, increase aerodynamics and wick moisture, plus coldblack technology dramatically reduces the jersey’s temperature to prevent overheating. The Course Race jersey is full zip and features pre-shaped shoulders and a wide silicone gripper hem to keep the jersey in place when you’re down in the drops. Textured sleeves give you an aero edge and triple back pockets with MP3 compatibility hold your race essentials.

Gloves that combine a firm grip with the right amount of padding and aeration for competition can be hard to come by. But not anymore, thanks to Louis Garneau’s Course cycling gloves. Their progressive padding process relieves pressure on the ulnar and median nerves, plus eliminates sources of friction for an amazing level of comfort. Then they added a sun reflecting, coldblack finish to the upper, so your hands won’t overheat. Finally, they seamlessly integrated their Ergo Air Zone system for effective temperature regulation and moisture evacuation. Hands down, this is a hard glove to beat. [Note: Course cycling gloves are available for pre-order, and will be in stock at the end of November]

Louis Garneau pulls out all the stops in their most competitive footwear, the Course 2LS road shoes. They’re equipped with a thinner, lighter and stronger Exo-Jet carbon outsole, plus Garneau’s HRS-300 internal polymer system which effectively transfers all your energy into pure power. Multi-vent technology circulates air throughout the interior to keep your feet feeling dry and fresh. Insert the red insole for extra warmth in cold conditions or the blue insole with refrigerant for cool comfort in hot weather. Double BOA L5 closure system evenly distributes pressure, offers infinite degrees of fine-tuning and lets you customize the level of security and tension. [Note: Course 2LS road shoes are available for pre-order, but will not be in stock until early 2013]

Shop the entire Limited Edition, premium Course collection on Performancebike.com.

Interbike 2012 Wrap-up: Part 2

Since there is almost no way to see everything at the annual Interbike trade show, in our wrap-up we’re just talking about the interesting bikes and gear that caught our eye as we walked the convention hall floor or the Outdoor Demo. Check out our photo album on Facebook for even more shots from the show, and if you missed Part 1 of our wrap-up, you can find it here.

When we visited the Outdoor Demo at Interbike, the bikes we really wanted to check out were the new carbon mountain bikes from Devinci – they’ve updated their entire lineup, from the World Cup winning Wilson downhill bike, to the nimble 29er Atlas to the super fun Dixon all-mountain 26″ ride. We had a blast testing out their new bikes, and even got suspension designer Dave Weagle to break down the 2013 lineup for us:

And since he was hanging out, we even got Dave to explain how Devinci’s patented Split Pivot rear suspension works, and what makes it great:

While we’re talking bikes, Fuji has a great lineup of road, mountain and cyclocross bikes on tap for next year, with updated graphics and components. One of our favorites was this gorgeous 13.2 pound Altamira road bike with Oval components tubular wheels:

This new Outland 29er mountain bike also caught our eye, with its flashy paintjob and short rear chainstays, for great handling:

One of Fuji’s most interesting new bikes was this Altamira CX Disc model, featuring cable-actuated disc brakes – almost every bike manufacturer featured either a cross or road bike with disc brakes:

Giro was at Interbike with an updated 2013 lineup, but their new Air Attack helmet was drawing lots of attention. Its aero shape may look odd, but Giro designers claim that it is almost as efficient at cooling your head as their standard helmets, yet almost as efficient aerodynamically as their time trial helmets:

Meanwhile their new Empire shoes are all about style, adjustability and fit – laces are back, and they’ve never looked so good:

Pearl Izumi was busy at Interbike showing off their Project X mountain bike shoes, which are as colorful as they are well thought-out. The heart of these new shoes is the sole, which features a flexible carbon shank embedded in the bonded outsole.

This shank is designed to be stiff while pedaling, for maximum efficiency, while still retaining sufficient flex for comfortable walking – a great combination for cyclocross or mountain biking:

Louis Garneau debuted their lightweight Course lineup of shoes, helmets and clothing at Interbike – including this great-looking new helmet and Boa lace-closure cycling shoe:

 Louis Garneau won a design award for this Course vest, which features a gripper hem and open back panel so that you can reach in your back jersey pockets – one of those “why didn’t anyone think of that before” moments:

Ergon was on hand with new grips and packs, but their most interesting new gear was this intriguing CF3 Pro Carbon seatpost. It is designed to act as a leaf spring to absorb shock while riding – and it’s intended for use on the road:

And finally, just to show that even the hottest new trend has been tried before, check out this pair of 650B (or 27.5″) mountain bikes from Ritchey – the one on the left is their latest and greatest creation, while the one on the right is Ritchey’s first foray into the 650B world… from 1977!

Wordless Wednesday

Product Profile: 2012 Louis Garneau

For today’s product profile, we’re talking about Louis Garneau cycling gear. Founded in 1983 (incidentally, only one year later than Performance Bicycle), Louis Garneau has worked hard to create innovative cycling apparel, as they so aptly explain on their site: “It has and always will be our mission to conceptualize, design, and engineer technological products that will provide racers a competitive edge and recreational cyclists an improved experience.”

Of course one of the racers they were thinking about was Thomas Voeckler, leader of Team Europcar at the 2011 Tour de France. Here’s a shot of Voeckler during his gritty ride to hold on to the yellow jersey during Stage 18 of the Tour, on the slopes of the Galibier.

And just to show how passionate the Garneau folks are about their gear, look no further than this video ode to creating the special customized gear for Voeckler’s days in yellow:

Of course we said that we were going to talk about new 2012 Garneau gear, so what better place to start than with their Corsa cycling kit. As you can see below, the Corsa line was designed for ultimate cycling performance, with features such as the Aero Lazer Band at the arm and leg openings plus a “next to skin” fit so you can stay sleek and streamlined, and Carbon-X mesh for optimal muscle compression and support. The designers at Garneau even went so far as to use special Speed Tech shoulder panels to reduce frontal pressure and cut wind resistance while you are in a riding position.

The Louis Garneau Mondo kit includes many of the aerodynamic features of the Corsa line, including the Aero Lazer Bands and “next to skin” fit, along with nifty little details like a dedicated music-player pocket. The Equipe line of cycling wear is designed around an ultra-lightweight and breathable jersey, to maximize cooling, while the Equipe bib shorts offer a compressive fit (these shorts are a definite favorite around our office).

Like we said, the people of Louis Garneau are passionate about their work, and it shows in the details of their products. This passion can be directly traced back to the company’s founder, the eponymous Louis Garneau himself.  A former elite cyclist, Mr. Garneau still plays an active role in the development of his company’s products, for, as he says, “Our innovations exist because we create products that function, perform, and are proven on the bike. We ride, we ride, we ride again, until we are certain a product will provide our customers a competitive advantage, and I have never removed myself from that group of test riders.”

As a final note, it was also interesting to learn that Mr. Garneau is a bit of an artist, creating a series of canvases as a fundraiser for the Fondation du Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (although with his company’s emphasis on design, maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise):

You can find our full array of Louis Garneau products here, from their super lightweight Carbon X-Lite Road Shoes to their off-road Edge Helmet.

Eric’s Top 5 for Cyclocross

Eric, the product buyer for our components division, loves racing cyclocross. In fact, he plans his whole cycling year around the few short months of the cyclocross season. And since North Carolina is a hotbed of sorts for ‘cross on the East Coast, there’s rarely a weekend when he’s not donning the kit of our Garneau Custom team and pushing himself to the limit for an hour on the pavement, grass, sand, mud or whatever else the course has in store.

Eric’s definitely a guy who knows his cyclocross, so we asked him to give us his top 5 component picks for ‘cross season, and why he picked them.  Will your next ‘cross race still be one of the most painful hours you’ve ever spent on a bike if you get this gear? Of course! This is cyclocross after all – but you might as well look for every advantage you can get.

1. DV3k Tubular Wheelset – This wheelset is lightweight (sub 1400 grams), plus it has an advanced carbon layup, 46-mm rim depth to slice through the mud, and the smooth ride of a tubular (although you can also get the wheeelset in a clincher version).

2. Avid Shorty Ultimate Cantilever Brakes – They don’t call these brakes “ultimate” for nothing; they can be adjusted to have a wide or narrow stance, have ample mud clearance, and just plain look good (plus it doesn’t hurt that the world champ races with them on his bike).

3. GORE RideOn Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables – Cross can be muddy… like really muddy. With GORE’s sealed cable system, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s a no-brainer.

4. Challenge Grifo Tubular Cyclocross Tire – Cross racers are serious about their tires, from the tread patterns to the tire pressure to the history of the manufacturer. The Grifo is still made by hand, with a versatile tread design and the supple performance that only a high-end tubular can deliver (but a clincher version is also available).

5. Shimano CX70 Crankset – Part of Shimano‘s first foray into the world of purpose-built cyclocross components, this crankset excels with a 46/36T gearing combination mated to Shimano‘s reliable and efficient 2-piece design with smooth-shifting Hyperdrive chainrings.

Louis Garneau Kit Contest

It’s a new month, and a new chance to win! One lucky winner of our Louis  Garneau Kit Contest is going to ride away in a high-performance, head-to-toe road kit consisting of a bike helmet, cycling jersey, bib shorts, and bike shoes. This kit has a total retail value of over $915! Enter today, and  it could be you.

Louis Garneau  Kit Highlights

Corsa Bike Jersey – The study of wind resistance specific to a cyclist’s position led to the design and technology of the Corsa Jersey. The re-engineered jersey has multiple zones and adaptive technology to correspond with airflow direction and penetration, including  Speed Tech shoulder panels,  Aero Lazer band on the sleeves and an underarm cooling zone of Carbon-X Mesh.
Retail Value: $199.99

Corsa Cycling Bib Shorts – The Louis Garneau Corsa Bib is engineered with Speed Tech fabric that has a dimpled mesh construction aimed at improving aerodynamics and offering moisture management. A laser-cut, seamless Aero Lazer band provides a second skin feel, smooth transition, and performance enabling muscle support. The 4Motion Chamois’s innovative design combines 3D preshaped wings and deep split at the back bridged by multidirectional motion and amazing comfort.
Retail Value: $224.99

Diamond Road Bike Helmet – The Diamond Helmet is Louis Garneau’s top-of-the-line helmet.  At 285 grams and with over 40 vents, the Diamond helmet has an absurd amount of ventilation while still meeting safety standards.  Worn by Chrissie Wellington in her record-setting 2009 Ironman World Championship title.
Retail Value: $189.99

CFS-300 Road Bike Shoes – The CFS-300 shoes offer a new perspective on custom fit with a 100% heat-moldable system that is user-friendly and can be repetitively molded by conventional household means. Adjustable EVA foam padding is laterally and vertically adjustable with ratchet repositioning to optimize the fit.  Two Coolmax Ergo Air insoles are provided to either allow through ventilation on hot days or block air on colder days. For the ultimate in power transfer, the shoe offers an Exo-Jet Carbon outsole with carbon molded arch support.
Retail Value: $299.99

Total Retail Value: $914.96

Not feeling lucky? Don’t want to wait to see if you’re the winner? You can shop for Louis Garneau cycling gear here!

Suit Up with Louis Garneau Cycling Gear. Enter to Win Now!

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