Apparel Featured Reviews

F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer

F-Lite Ultralight Base LayerThere are a multitude of options when it comes to picking a high performance base layer but those multi-brand quandaries have now grown to include the F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer. Available for the first time in the UK and part of a wider offering of functional base layers, socks and accessories from the German brand the F-Lite Ultralight lays claim to being the lightest of its kind in the world.


The F-Lite Ultralight, as with all the base layers in the newly-launched collection, use the brand’s own F-liteTEX knitting technology – a ‘tubular knit’ system not unlike that used to create the Buff, which means there are no side seams to rub, chafe or distort the figure-hugging shape. The base layer is flat-hemmed at the bottom and the seams that do remain (attaching the short-sleeved arms) are also flat-locked, laying more or less flush with the material and presenting no real risk of irritation even when things warm up on the run or ride.


When it comes to the claim of being the lightest of its kind in the world, it’s hard to disagree – the F-Lite Ultralight weighs only 70 grams/m² (presumably giving rise to the garments full name of F-Lite Ultralight 70 GP Base Layer), which means a medium size comes in at a gossamer whisper 75g. The lack of weight, to put it mildly, combined with the seamless/flat-seam construction, makes for an exceptionally comfortable experience.


Thermal properties impressed Cyclo too, living up to the ideal of keeping us warm on colder training sessions, but effectively keeping things cool when temperatures climbed. It achieves this unconventionally: constructed of otherwise fairly industry standard polyamide, polypropylene and elastane, the F-Lite Ultralight adds a carbon antistatic finish (cyclists love carbon, no?), which prevents the material sticking to the skin, ensuring a layer of air is permanently on hand to regulate heat.


Sticking with the unconventional the F-Lite Ultralight employs a polka dot styling, part of the design input that came from American free-rider and extreme skier Glen Plake. It’s never really occurred to us that design aesthetics matter with a base layer, but it’s kind of nice that F-Lite took the trouble don’t you think?


To date the F-Lite has impressed and Cyclo looks forward to testing through greater extremes – both hot and cold – over the coming year. We’re in little doubt it will hold up incredibly well and if you’re looking to layer up over this the newly launched adiZero cycling jersey, at just 65g, could prove to be the perfect partner.


The F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer is available in unisex sizes M-XL and retails at £34.99. Further details and online purchase at


Apparel Featured Reviews

Teko M3RINO Pro Ultralight MTB Socks

Teko MTB socksTeko Socks celebrate their tenth birthday this year and Cyclo thought it a fine idea to celebrate by putting their brand-new M3RINO Pro Ultralight MTB Socks to the test.


Anatomically designed for left/right foot the Pro Ultralight MTB socks are cut long for the demands of MTB and proved wonderfully comfortable on the ride and crucially don’t bunch or sag thanks to a well-judged elasticated cuff that ensured they stayed put even after a soaking. They feature the ‘New Wrap System’ construction, which is designed to hold the sock onto the foot around the Achilles and over the instep, this both increases comfort (noticeably) and prevents the sock from slipping inside the MTB shoe to avoid chafing or the causing of blisters – again this was noticeable even when everything had enjoyed a good puddle soaking (just the time when the danger of blisters is highest.)


The Pro Ultralight MTB sock utilises high merino wool content (42% and Bluesign chlorine-free certified), which makes them soft and comfortable with the added advantages that merino brings: great temperature regulation, good wicking and breathability, plus natural anti-microbial properties that keeps away smells and should extend the product life too. The Lycra arch band supports the underfoot well and there’s light cushioning through the heel and toe (the latter seamless to improve comfort) as well as in the shin to prevent discomfort from leg guards.


Also newly available is the Teko M3RINO Light MTB, with broadly similar features but with slightly increased underfoot padding – enough to take out the shock and vibration of the ride, but not too much as to pad out the shoe unnecessarily.


If you’re looking for eco credentials (and if not, why not?) Teko offer these in spades. Their socks are created using renewable and sustainable materials and energy sources and even the packaging is printed on recycled paper and uses soy-based ink. It’s all to be applauded especially when the socks themselves also deliver where it really counts most – comfort and fit.


The Teko M3RINO Pro Ultralight MTB socks are available in black/red at £14.95 and the M3RINO Light MTB in black/lime at £15.95 – there’s a lifetime guarantee too. Further details and online purchase at


Apparel Extras Featured Reviews

See Me More

See Me MoreAt Cyclo we have often said that the safest approach to cycling in poor visibility or at night is to light up like a Christmas tree. Well the See Me More jacket, which we have been testing through these early spring evenings, seems to have taken that almost literally.


A first glance it looks not unlike most hi-viz slip-over solutions – it’s partway between a tabard and an extensive strap, which slips over the head and can then be fastened and adjusted with the Velcro waistband. The build quality is both substantial and of high quality – the stitching (the quality of which you don’t generally notice until it’s all coming undone) appears particularly robust. But, here’s where the good bit starts: click the switch at the front and eight super-bright white LEDs on the front and a further eight red on the rear illuminate the whole thing.


Yes, we’ve seen LED enhanced hi-viz before and some of it’s pretty good, but the See Me More takes things to another level with exceptionally crisp brightness that can be set to one of two strobe modes or to constant on. The red/white difference is a nice touch too…


It’s not all good news though. Whilst the tabard is really well constructed the battery pack, containing three bulky AAAs, needs some serious though. The flimsy plastic certainly won’t stand up to much wear and tear, the wiring looks like it was put together at a kitchen table and the flap-over pocket which holds everything in supposedly waterproof conditions leaked water when we got caught out in a downpour. All of which is a shame because so much attention has been paid elsewhere.


If the makers – who are potentially on to a very good thing, certainly as a commuter solution – can address the quality of the battery housing and wiring we wouldn’t hesitate in sending you straight out to buy one. With enough feedback Cyclo is pretty sure things will get sorted, so we’ll keep you posted and hopefully the See Me More will make our unequivocal recommendation list pretty soon.


The See Me More retails at £29.99 with further details and online purchase at


Apparel Featured Reviews

Funkier Winter Thermal TPU Tights

Funkier Winter Thermal TPU TightsCome on people it’s time to get those legs under wraps, it’s no longer the weather to have those beet-red thighs on show. Cyclo certainly welcomed the arrival of the Funkier Winter Thermal TPU Tights and the opportunity to put this fine looking apparel through its paces…


First up some tech spec: the ‘TPU’ in the Funkier Winter Thermal TPU Tights refers to thermoplastic polyurethane which is effectively laminated on to other technical fabrics to produce a membrane that is both extremely breathable, yet 100% waterproof. The result is a fabric that has microscopic pores 1000 times smaller than a drop of water but, crucially 100 times bigger than a molecule of moisture vapour. That and – we suspect – some magic because the result is spectacularly good at its job.


Riding both road commute and mountain bike trail (sans-mudguards) through deep puddles and more than one torrential rainstorm the Funkiers performed admirably when it came to keeping us bone-dry; but more importantly there isn’t a feeling of being cocooned in thick tyre-rubber. The zoned panels put protection where it’s most needed and give way to greater flex where it’s not, so there’s almost a second-skin feeling to wearing them with no restriction of movement.


Thermal properties have impressed too. Having used them near zero – a two or three degree average – we’re more than confident that they’ll see us through some harsh winter sub temperature rides. The soft flock-like lining keeps things just toasty enough and adds greatly to the comfort and, because the TPU breathes so well, there was no sweaty build-up. The saddle pad is more than adequate without unnecessary bulk and the ergonomic design very comfortable even on longer rides.


Funkier Winter Thermal TPU Tights retail at £69.95 absolutely on the money for quality and whilst something like the Altura Night Vision Tights could be yours for around £20 less the Funkier option undoubtedly out-performs them for both thermal property and weather-proofing. In fact you would need to go a long way up the price points (into Castelli land) for anything near comparable.


Funkier Winter Thermal TPU Tights are available in sizes S to XXXL from, amongst others,


Apparel Featured Reviews

No Nonsense Merino Base Layer

No Nonsense Merino Base LayerMerino wool has been prized for its luxurious qualities for more than 1000 years; Cyclo’s no Simon Schama, but we’re almost certain this predates both the bicycle and man’s need for technical base layers. Sooner or later these things were going to converge though, and they do so beautifully in the No Nonsense Merion tops from 74 Degrees.


Made in New Zealand the cut and style of the No Nonsense is commendably simple, elegant and unadorned (no nonsense, you might say) with a black-on-black logo so discreet it’s like a mini-game trying to spot it. Using only 100% fine merino wool – ecological, sustainable and biodegradable – the 215gsm knit is heavier than many base layers that use the same material; whilst others skimp on the costly fabric, 74 Degrees indulge to create a layer that not only works well across a broader range of temperatures but should prove longer-lasting and retain shape far better. Because the wool is naturally antibacterial, keeping ‘bike stink’ in check and (relatively) strain resistant this is one piece of apparel that should serve you for many years.


Comfort is superb and if you think wool is itchy, think again. Merino is almost silky soft and although the side seams look slightly bulky they sit perfectly flat on the ride and apart from the noticeable temperature regulation (merino helps retain heat in the cold, but keeps you cool as things heat up) we hardly noticed we were wearing the No Nonsense.


Yes, there are cheaper base layers to be had – there are even cheaper, if lighter, merino bases out there (Altura and Endura both around the £40 mark for example) – but the 74 Degrees No Nonsense Merino Base Layer is demonstrably a superior beast. The men’s long-sleeve retails at £54.00, the women’s equivalent and men’s short-sleeve option at £49.00


For further details on the No Nonsense Merino Base Layer and other products from 74 Degrees see


Apparel Reviews

Phew Gloves

phew_glove1There’s nothing worse than cold hands on the bike (actually there are far worse things, but cold hands are hateful.) With winter really starting to bite Cyclo took a look at two pairs of gloves from new boutique outfit Phew, who aim to produce premium products at affordable prices.


First (literally) on hand were the Phew Early Winter Gloves that combine an upper ‘Windster’ membrane for cutting wind-chill with a softer palm and well-placed gel pads for a relatively bulk-free shoulder season ride (3-12 degrees range, say the makers.) Comfort is excellent; they’re well cut and the grip is outstanding with an extra thick palm-pad for shock-absorbency on rough terrain and a towelling thumb detail of wiping away sweat – okay, snot… Either way, a nice detail. Construction feels solid, with special note to the long cuff, and the styling and detailing look expensive, despite a more than reasonable £24.99 price tag. Not the warmest glove, but the clue is in the Early Winter name. Perfect for when those leaves are turning golden and the sun is low.


phew_glove2When things get colder still there is the Phew Lobster Outer Shell to consider. It can be used on its own or as an outer in conjunction with the Early Winter Glove to tackle proper negative temperatures. Again construction (plus style and detailing) is outstanding and the grip impressive – but they do lack gel padding, instead relying on the use of the Early Winter as an inner for that function. Even when the two are worn in conjunction the result isn’t restrictively bulky and the thermal properties should see you through the harshest of conditions. The Phew Lobsters, like the Early Winters, are priced at £24.99.


When you consider that something like the Castelli Estremo Winter Cycling Gloves comes in at £65 (let alone the Assos fuguGloves_S7 at over £90) the Phew options, with the versatility of combinations, makes excellent sense to us. Both the Early Winter and Lobsters are available in S, M, L & XL – further details and online purchase at


Apparel Featured Reviews

Odlo Endurance Short Gloves

Odlo Endurance Short GlovesOdlo was founded more than 70 years ago by the simply brilliantly monikered Odd Roar Lofterød. Reputedly his motto was ‘always make sure you’re one step ahead’, and, with the company still turning out commendably high spec apparel, it remains easy to fit the pronouncement with the product. Such is the case with the Odlo Endurance Short Gloves…


Attention to detail is something of a hallmark to Odlo – the towelling rub patch is larger than on many gloves, always useful for dabbing sweat and snot (who said cycling was sophisticated?), the Velcro closure tabs are rubberised for easy grip and duel loops on two of the fingers make for quick and easy fitting or removal. The gel pads are perfectly positioned too – one at the base of the fingers to moderate road vibration through the handlebars and reduce the likelihood of stress injuries and one over the lower pad of the thumb that helps protect the radial nerve and improve grip.


Although constructed from 100% manmade fabrics (50% polyurethane, 31% polyamide, 13% polyester and 6% elastane for stretch) the palms have a more luxurious suede/leather feel; however these do cause something of a sweat buildup in the tradeoff between padding thickness and wicking properties. This is alleviated, to an extent, by triple mesh panels on the back of the glove, which are bonded rather than stitched to further add to the comfort level.


Available all the way from XS to XXL sizes, finding the right fit should be easy enough and despite a few loose threads around the fingers, which caused us some initial concern (but amounted to nothing), there remains a great deal to recommend about the Odlo Endurance Gloves.


RRP is £35, with further details on the Odlo Endurance Short Gloves and other products see


Apparel Featured Reviews

Buff Cycling Jersey

Buff Cycling JerseyBuff have long been the go to manufacturer of seamless multi-use headwear – the name comes from ‘bufanda’, Spanish for scarf, so now you know – and in our opinion their tubular-knit hat/bandana/muffler is one of the most versatile bits of kit a cyclist can own. With this in mind our expectations were high when we took delivery of their brand-new tech cycling jersey…


As you would expect from Buff there’s nothing in the design that could realistically be called ‘understated’ – not a square-inch of fabric is left unadorned, with a combination of jagged geometric shames, spider webs and logos making a bold ‘look at me’ statement. Assuming you’re not the shy, retiring kind of rider what does it offer beneath the surface sheen?


Slim-fitting and made from 95% polyester, 5% elastane (the generic name for Spandex), the jersey is naturally longer in the back for fit, warmth and to prevent ‘riding up’, something further halted by the inclusion of rubberised tape around the hem/waistband. On test it felt warm enough on cool rides and breathed well and wicked away sweat when the heat was on, not least due to thinner ventilation areas incorporated through the armpits and sides (basically the spider web areas). The addition of Silver Plus® – a silver ion technology incorporated into the fabric – makes the jersey effectively antibacterial, so if sweat does build up it won’t become a breeding ground for stench.


The level of comfort impressed us too: flatlock seams throughout are compliment by bonded seams across the shoulders – all of which reduces the risk of chafing and a nice touch is the tiny ‘zip garage’ at the top so when things are zipped to the max there’s no snagging or catching.


Additions include three generous lumber pockets for gels, bars and general cycling detritus and a fourth, zipped, pocket on the lower back big enough not just to house keys and change but a full sized wallet should you be heading for the bike shop… Reflective seams around the shoulders add a dash of safety – but a little more across the back probably wouldn’t have gone amiss.


A practical, well-made and stylish (if slightly hallucinogenically branded) jersey – in short, everything we might expect from Buff. Available in sizes S – XXL and tagged at £69.00. More information and online purchase at


See the Cyclo review of the original Buff here and the Helmet Liner Pro Buff here.