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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Cycle Layering

By Dan Thompson
12, Apr, 2017

Wherever you ride a proper clothing system can make a big difference.

Col and dan. bikes. shropshire. doubles-2467

Dressing for bike riding can be a tough business. Its a fairly aerobic activity so you can generate lots of heat on the climbs but then lose it all on the descents. Having an adaptable and functioning clothing system isn't the be-all-and-end-all but it can be pretty integral to having a nice time...

We all dream of riding like the tour riders do... ascending an Alpine Col, the only sounds are cowbells and the wind rustling through the lush meadow grass either side whilst your jersey, unzipped entirely, flutters in the breeze... but in the real world this is a state few of us ever achieve, especially when your local ‘col’ is Winnats Pass, Constitution Hill or Ditchling Beacon... in April.


We've got a range of cycling specific clothing that uses technical fabrics, designed with durability, weight, washing-on-the-go and comfort in mind, for proper adventures on your bike. Then we have clothing designed for a range of adventurous scenarios that is perfect for adventurous cycling and multi day trips. We’ve done our best to pool our experience here and try and come up with some ideas for what to wear and when. We’ve tried to think about changes in weather, recovery breaks and clothing for the evenings as you set up camp and chat through the days events. 


Obviously everyone is different but these are good starting points for the air temperatures given. 


15C plus ..

Rhythm/Alpine short sleeve jersey and Rhythm bib shorts.

AKdrenaline socks.

Arro in the back pocket for wind protection or for rest stops.


10C-15C …

Rhythm LS jersey with Koulin tech tee or Kepler LS baselayer and Rhythm bib shorts.

AKdrenaline socks .

Arro for wind protection


5C-10C …

Rhythm LS jersey with Kepler SS or Koulin tech tee (wmns) baselayer.

Rhythm (womens) bib tights.

Kepler draught excluder.

AKdrenaline socks .

Arro jacket for wind protection.


-5C-+5C …

Rhythm LS jersey with Kepler LS or SS or Koulin tech tee (mens) baselayer and Kepler draught excluder

Rhythm (mens) bib tights.

Kepler beanie for under helmet.

Arro jacket for wind protection.

Akdrenaline or warmer wool socks.


Alpkit Cycle Clothing page


Tthese systems are designed for rides that are predominantly on road. If you’re heading off into the mountains then we can add other layers. For example we’d recommend wearing a pair of baggy shorts for extra protection in muddy conditions, maybe even waterproof ones. It’s always worth carrying full waterproofs when heading to the hills too as you’ll usually have a backpack or luggage on board to carry the extra items and the Parallax pants pack up so small you’ll hardly notice them.


If its really raining then a waterproof jacket becomes essential and you swap the windproof for something like the Gravitas jacket, which is ideal for on and off road as it can be easily stowed when not in use. For longer trips or where more protection is needed then something like the Balance may be more suitable. The Balance jacket works particularly well for mountain biking, with the extra durability along with the fit and pocket placements.


Most mountain bikers probably don’t carry spare layers but adding a synthetic jacket like a Heiko jacket can transform your riding experience. Instead of shivering whilst your mate fixes another puncture or whilst enjoying that post ride pint or coffee stop you can whip out your nice warm jacket and sit there feeling smug. Equally, if something goes wrong in remote hills that extra layer can literally be a lifesaver.

Another great option for biking in cold conditions – probably below 0 or where windchill is having a significant affect is the Katabatic, the combination of breathable fabric and fill means it's a jacket you can wear all day and just layer a Kepler Merino underneath and maybe a shell on top if the rain really comes down.


If you find other systems that work for you then we'd love to hear from you. 

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