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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on April 30, 2018

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I was captivated by the look of this jacket and just had to give it a try. Unfortunately, it's much less generous than the size chart would lead you to believe.

I'm admittedly a big guy at 6'-3" and 275 lbs, but the XXL looked really close with a suggested chest size of 48-50", waist 41-43", and hips 47-49". My measurements are 49", 44", and 47" respectively, so only the waist size is pushing it. However, the jacket isn't anywhere in the ballpark. For one thing, I had trouble even getting my hands through the wrist cuffs. I don't have big arms/hands either, with a wrist circumference of 7 1/2". Once the sleeves were pulled all the way on they were basically skintight from the elbow down. I've never seen anything like that before. Beyond that, with the jacket hanging unzipped, It really needed another 6" or so to properly close and zip up without making me look like I was squeezed into a sausage casing. I did manage to do it somehow, but it was not comfortable. This was all with just a base layer on, so even wearing a simple jersey, let alone any insulating layers, would make it that much tighter.

Beyond that, the cut of this jacket is meant for a low, even aero position, as the description says. There's enough coverage in the back, but if you're standing then it tends to ride up in front like you'd expect. Had it fit properly, I'm confident these traits would prevent it from flapping in the wind or being excessively baggy in front which many jackets tend to be. The wrist cuffs act almost like a gasket, helping to keep them in place and stop air infiltration, and the sleeve length is nice and generous. The flaps in back will help vent moisture and prevent sweating The material is a bit thicker than you might think, though it's still light. It definitely falls between a light wind shell and a rain jacket. I'm not sure it would pack into a rear pocket as well as some others, but for cold and potentially drizzly days this would be a winner. I do have some concerns about long-term durability of fabrics like this. The material has the look of a plastic coating over a stretchy mesh matrix. I've had other jackets in the past with similar fabrics that broke down after several years, leaving just the mesh and losing all wind-blocking ability. I hope that's not the case here.

While I can't test it on the road, the quality, design, and fit/finish seem top notch. The oddball sizing makes me cautious though. This would not be a good fit for someone with strong biceps or much of any upper-body bulk. If you're a svelte racer with no body fat then I bet you'd like this one for however long it lasts.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on November 29, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought the Louis Garneau Creek Gloves for cool weather road rides. Despite being considered mountain bike gloves, they’re essentially just long-finger versions of the 1 Calory Glove. The padding and materials are all the same, so if you like the 1 Calory padding and fit, these will work for you too for temperatures in the 60s or maybe even upper 50s.

My hand circumference is 9” so that falls right in the large range. I have both large and XL 1 Calory Gloves, and I think I prefer the XL better actually. However I have large Creek gloves, and they’re just right. The fingers on the XL might be too long or generous, as my fingers are not particularly long or thick.

Overall I really like these and the 1 Calory Gloves. I really like the simple design and materials, and while the padding isn’t the best, at least for me, they’re still the best I’ve managed to find. So far my concerns about the palm material fraying or breaking down have not come to pass, though you do still have to be careful to not let the velcro nibble away at the lycra, and the Louis Garneau logos will peel off after a while.

So the Louis Garneau Creek Gloves, like their 1 Calory cousins are quite nice, though not perfect, and a very good value. The selection of colors and simple design makes them easy to match up to other kits too.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on November 29, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I bought the Castelli CX 2.0 Speedsuit for cool to moderately cold weather layering. Despite its cyclocross branding, it’s perfectly acceptable for road use as well, with a sleek simple design and what so far seems to be a very nice chamois that will endure way longer than any pro CX race.

I got the blue/black/red design because I’m just such a sucker for blue. It’s a really beautiful color and the stripes down the sleeve are very sharp. All the material has a bit of a sheen to it, more so than some lycra you see, though it fades as the material stretches. The Castelli branding down the side panel of the legs is a bit much, but elsewhere it’s pretty minimal and tasteful. Print quality, stitching, and overall fit and finish is excellent. The fleece lined lycra upper body/sleeves are warmer than regular lycra but still breathable. It’s not a wind blocking fabric and it’s still kind of thin, so it’s not crazy warm. The lower body is regular non-fleece lycra but it’s a decent weight fabric. If you want a warmer suit with fleece lined bottoms get the Santini DirtShell. I can’t say the design/cut of the rear and the shape of the chamois is particularly flattering to those looking at your behind, but to each his own. There’s a nice lighter weight textured fabric under the armpits for better ventilation. It looks like the same fabric Cuore uses on many of their aero skinsuits and jersey sleeves, but you barely notice it.

The zipper seems fine, though it was a bit hard to manhandle the thing up with some belly trying to push through. Despite that, once zipped the cut of the shorts is high enough that you don’t feel like your gut is going to come pouring out between the top and bottom of the suit, and it’s still much much easier to take a nature break than in a traditional skinsuit. The leg grippers are like those on most other Castelli shorts, with a textured fabric, tight flatlock stitching, and no hem at the leg opening. The edge is very crisp, better than I’ve seen from most other clothing manufacturers, and doesn’t look like it will curl over time. The sleeves have 1 1/2” long hems/cuffs around the wrist, giving it a somewhat retro look, but it’s also very comfortable and stays in place. This suit technically has a mock turtleneck, but it’s just low enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s choking you, and even without a wind flap the zipper doesn’t dig into your neck. There’s two very deep pockets in the back, great for storing anything, and they stay tight and aero when not used too.

The chamois, after the first one-hour ride, feels awesome. It’s dense and supportive and shaped just right. Even without chamois cream it felt like nothing was there. Time will tell how it does on longer rides, but first impressions are good. Usually if a chamois isn’t too great, I’ll know within about a half hour. Sizing is typical for Castelli, which is pretty small/Euro. I’m 6’-3” 275 lbs (it’s not all muscle sadly), and even 3XL is a bit tight. The way the jersey top opens all the way, as I mentioned above, makes zipping up difficult. The fabric also lightens noticeably when stretched, a common problem with Castelli gear. Sleek shiny jet black fabric turns to matte charcoal if it’s stretched at all. That said, the leg grippers, sleeves, and waist all feel evenly form-fitting, so there’s nothing pinching or uncomfortably tight, so it still fits pretty well.

The Castelli CX 2.0 Speedsuit is a very good skinsuit for cyclocross or other cool weather layering. At full price, yeah it’s rather expensive. If it’s on sale for less than $200 then I’d say go for it.

Pros:
Design/colors, fabrics, build quality, chamois

Cons:
Fabric stretching, difficulty zipping up

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on September 12, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is my first pair of Nalini bib-shorts and I like them pretty well. The fabric is thin and lightweight, so they don’t feel excessively warm. They’re also quite form-fitting, but also stretchy without being stiff or looking like they’re going to pull apart. The leg grippers aren’t the prettiest, but they have enough silicone to keep them in place, and they don’t look like the type to curl or wear out over time. Stitching looks good, and the flatlock stitching around the chamois is nice compared to the zig-zag stitching you find on a lot of shorts which looks kind of cheap and can cause stress on the fabric. Overall stitching and build quality looks quite good. It’s very neatly done and all the panels line up cleanly. The textured fabric on the side panels has a nice look to it, and the overall design is quite nice and compatible with most kits.

Sizing seems just a tad large, though some of Nalini’s jerseys are painfully small, so beware. In Castelli, Giordana, and Santini I need to wear 3XL but these 2XL shorts fit me great, partly due to their forgiving stretchiness. I’m 6’-3” and 275 lbs. The inseam is just the right length, and the bib straps are also quite stretchy so they should work for most any height. They’re a nice slick lycra fabric, with a more typical stretch mesh for the rear straps. Very comfortable.

The chamois is nice but I’ve had better. It’s comfortable and accommodating, but could be just a tad thicker. It has a good stiffness to it though, which is what I usually look for. Spongier chamois material gets squashed too much and doesn’t support well, but this is a pretty good one, just not as good as what I’ve gotten from Cuore, Craft, or Santini. The chamois also seems to be a bit more forward than I’m used to. I’m still sitting on the padding even in the rear, but it’s very close, whereas I have a bunch of padding in front even when leaning forward on the saddle. There is what looks to be some extra frontal chamois material that doesn’t have much padding in it, but it still seems to be sewn in a bit forward of where I would expect it to be.

Durability wise I can see these lasting a decent amount of time with good care, but because of the lightweight fabric probably not as long as some heavier bibs. The red striping on the side panels and the Nalini logo on the right leg are iron-on decals, which I do not see lasting long before they start to peel. That’s kind of unfortunate, but we’ll see how long they last. The red patch at the bottom of the right leg is fabric however so that should be fine.

Overall they’re nice comfortable bibs. I probably wouldn’t pay full price, but for under $100 I’d say they’re a good value. Just watch out for those decals.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on November 11, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been looking for a new long sleeve skinsuit for cold weather layering and this one definitely fits the bill. I don't do cyclocross, just winter road rides, but this works just as well for that as a base layer.

The design is sharp without being flashy, and there's not so much branding that it makes you look like you're riding for the shop team. Fit is excellent according to the size chart, at least for the taller/heavier end. It really doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything at all, and at the same time it doesn't slip and slide around. It is a little hard to get over the shoulders, but that's typical for skinsuits, especially when they're new. Overall build quality looks great, stitching is tight and clean and nothing is mis-aligned or sloppy.

There's a flap behind the top of the zipper to prevent chafing, which is nice, though a full-length flap behind the whole zipper would be a nice additional touch to keep wind out. I do like that the zipper stops about 1 1/2" above the seam between the suit's top and bottom, which is usually a weak spot. The back pockets are a bit high and not super deep, because of the design constraints of a skinsuit, but they're snug so no worries about anything jumping out. I just wouldn't try to stuff a vest or windbreaker back there.

The chamois is actually one of the most comfortable I've ridden, at least for the 2 hours I put in on it so far. It's not too thick but it's dense so it has good support. I'm definitely impressed, since I usually feel some discomfort after just an hour.

Most importantly, this is for sure a warm skinsuit. As described it's all fleece-lined lycra. It's not a wind shell, but I'd say it'll work in temperatures 10-15 degrees colder than a typical lycra skinsuit would. It does repel water too. If you splash water on it you'll see it bead and run off. Time will tell how long that lasts after multiple washings. It does breathe well though, so you don't have to worry too much about sweating.

This is definitely a keeper, and it's reasonably priced for what it is.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on September 27, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've worn these a handful of times, they're quite thin, comfortable, and sharp looking. The material is like a nylon dress sock, quite silky, but they don't slip in your shoes or lose position. Being thin they stay cool, but time will tell if they last.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on September 27, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I ordered the black/silver leg band which matches the Silverline jerseys. It's a very sharp pairing, but the shorts were just too tight. I'm 6'-3" 270lbs and like with Castelli I really need a 3XL. If I treated these as compression shorts then the XXL would work ok, but the lycra gets super rough when stretched that much, and the leg grippers don't have much give, being kind of stiff. I was debating for a couple days whether or not to keep them, but I had to say no.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on September 27, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I ordered two of these jerseys in different sizes and the matching Silverline bib-shorts because they do have a very nice look. The designs are simple and sharp, and high quality too. The large Giordana name down the back bothered me a bit though, I have to admit, even though it's pretty light and subtle. Just personal preference there.

Sizing seems about right. These are sized similar to Castelli, they run smaller than Craft, and even smaller than Hincapie. I'm 6'-3" 270lbs and I could make the XXL jersey work, but it's right on the edge, and the 3XL fits better. Do note that the sleeve grippers are the same as on the shorts, and they're a very stiff plastic-y material, It feels nice and looks good, being reflective and all, but if you have even remotely large biceps they're not going to fit.

The fabric is super soft and comfortable, and it's definitely a quality garment. Note that these do have left-side zipper pulls, which bothers some people. Since the bib-shorts were too tight for me I elected to return everything though.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on September 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are my first Craft bibs and I must say I'm impressed. The fabric is nice and soft, stretchy but not loose, slightly compressive but not too tight either. The leg grippers are nice, not too tight or stiff, which can be a problem where they're sewn to the body of the shorts sometimes, and they have just enough grip to not move while riding, but they're still easy to put on. The grippers are also pretty low profile and have a hidden seam, similar to the glued seam on the side panels, so it's quite aero. I see no indication of the grippers starting to curl at the ends, but we'll see how they hold up. All the stitching is top notch and not stiff, and I see no real weak points like on some other shorts and bibs.

Sizing is just right based on the size chart, at least at the upper end. I'm 6'-3" 270 lbs and XXL fits perfectly. Castelli and Giordana run smaller than these (I need 3XL for those) and Hincapie runs larger (I can wear XL for most of their stuff, except the race skinsuits and such). There's a little bit of bunching of the lycra in the back of the legs when standing upright, but it smooths out when in riding position, as it should be. The bib straps are also stretchy enough that if you're taller or shorter they'll still fit snugly.

The bib straps are kind of an odd beast though. They're a bit rough actually, and I hope they soften up after a few more washes. They actually feel kind of like lace ribbons that you might use to tie up a gift box, except that they're stretchy. I do notice them rubbing a bit when I first put the bibs on. That said, as like the rest of the shorts they fit like a glove, everything just falls into place as it should, so there's no real pressure points or other problem areas that I've noticed.

The chamois is the interesting part. I've been looking for shorts with more padding for longer rides. The thin race chamois in many high end shorts just aren't comfortable for more than an hour or two, for me anyway. This chamois is quite thick, but it's also dense so it does the job very well without bunching up. It does have kind of a diaper feel when you're standing up and walking around, partly because the chamois tends to fold in on itself a bit when you're standing up, so this isn't the short for people who complain about that sort of thing, but on the bike it's just right.

Another note about the chamois. Because it's rather thick and dense, it takes a long time to dry out after washing. Normally I machine wash all my gear and hang it to dry. This ensures a good wash, and the spin cycle gets most of the water out, so an evening wash will have dry shorts by the next morning. Not so with these, I was still able to squeeze out water into a towel after hanging inside out for 18 hours. So for quick drying you need to make sure to get some air movement and turn the bibs inside out/rightside out about half way through because of how it folds over itself and traps moisture inside.

I'd give these bibs 4 1/2 stars if I could, subtracting a little bit for the rough straps and difficult to dry chamois. We'll see how they hold up over time, but I bet these are going to last quite a while.

*EDIT* I'm bumping this up to 5 stars since the straps have softened up after a few washings, so that pushes it over 4 1/2 stars.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on August 23, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I really wanted to keep this suit, since I'm always struggling to find versatile cold weather riding gear. The blue/black/white combination is really sharp looking, and decently bright for winter riding in the dark. Unfortunately, the sizing just wasn't quite right for me. I'm a big guy, and 3XL is likely the right choice, but I took a chance on the 2XL because the blue/black/white one is discounted above and beyond the black/yellow fluorescent which I don’t think looks as nice and is too dark for riding at night, even with the reflective striping, and the blue/black/white suit is out of stock in 3XL.

The suit has a race fit like a lot of skinsuits, being a bit constricting when standing upright as opposed to in a riding position, but the ankle cuffs were really tight on me, and trying to zip those up made me worried I'd break the zippers or cut off circulation to my feet. The material on the rest of the legs is quite stretchy and actually fits very well. The top jacket fit me well too, if a tad short in the torso because of the race-position fit. The jacket had a few wrinkles when I tried it on, especially at the sleeves, which makes me wary of the 3XL being a bit loose and floppy up top.

The fleece lining in the bottoms is red, and it shows through the material when stretched out. That doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the warmth, since the legs are where I get coldest, unlike a lot of cyclists admittedly. Still, stretching the material out just a little I could almost see right through it. That goes along with the description of the tights being designed more for flexibility than warmth. The top is more of a soft shell jacket so it doesn’t have that issue. There’s even a little flap on the back of the collar that you can flip up to help protect the back of your neck from cold wind.

Construction quality looks excellent with one possible exception. There’s some vented mesh fabric below the rear pockets and above the tights. This is fine except the jacket and tights are attached at just four stitching points, the sides of the pockets and at the dividers between them. When bent over, I noticed a lot of stressing at these points, which would be exacerbated on rides with full pockets. I don’t know if it’s an actual weak point of the design or just something that looks worse than it really is. Maybe it’s not such a factor with a more generous overall fit.

Anyway, I elected to return the suit. Maybe I’ll try the black/yellow fluorescent one if it gets discounted more, but I fear I’d need to layer up too much in order to keep my legs from getting cold.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on August 3, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

My hands are exactly 9" and the large is too small, despite being right on the medium/large border according to the size chart. I also ordered the LG 1-Calory glove and the large fits fine. These are harder to put on and take off since there's no strap, which is nice when they're on, but even then they were stretched to the limit. Some of the stitching in the corners looked suspect so I elected to return them.

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Jeffrey J.

Jeffrey J.wrote a review of on August 3, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

These gloves have a lot of padding but you'd never know. The design is kind of plain but it is what it is. The terry cloth on the thumb can be a bit more generous but it's a nice suede-like material and works. Fit is snug. My hand is exactly 9" and the large is just right. Medium would be too small, so I'd say if in doubt size up.

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