Apparel Reviews

Odlo SwissPower Jersey

ODLO Scott SwissPower Jersey reviewFounded in the mid-1940s by the brilliantly monikered Odd Roar Lofterød, whose motto was ‘always make sure you’re one step ahead’, Odlo know a thing or two about producing technical apparel. With a solid reputation for innovative design and production the Odlo SwissPower jersey landed on Cyclo’s desk with a bundle of high expectations.


A stand-up collar jersey with full-length zip for that bare chest ventilated look, the top, though obviously suitable for road riding, bares the busy design of the Scott-SwissPower mountian bike and cyclocross team. For more than a decade, the Swisspower development team has worked with Switzerland’s up-and-coming mountain bike riders and, under the guidance of Thomas Frischknecht and Andi Seeli, yhey have won seven world championship titles, 10 European titles and a host of other MTB accolades. Naturally owning the jersey won’t, in itself, make you ride like a champion, but stylish looks and robust construction make for an excellent start.


Technically brilliant it wicks sweat well and sits incredibly comfortably with rubberised taped seams at the rear waist to ensure it doesn’t ride up when you ride out. Three pretty generous back pockets for a wealth of power bars and gels could be improved only slightly by the addition perhaps of a zipped valuables pocket, the lack of which is probably testament to the fact that it was designed for a team unlikely to need such niceties.


If you’re in the market for a great quality warmer weather jersey that’s relatively gentle on the wallet (online prices from around the £50 mark) and you like the fully-logoed look, then the ODLO SwissPower is hard to beat. Perhaps take a leaf out of Lofterød’s book and make sure you’re ‘…one step ahead’.


Apparel Reviews

Altura Night Vision Windproof Jacket

Altura Nightvision Windproof Jacket ReviewThe shortest of mid-winter days and gloomiest of conditions have given Cyclo the perfect opportunity to test out the new Altura Night Vision Windproof Jacket; we found we liked it. A lot…


For starters, although headline advertised as windproof (and it certainly is) there is also an incredible degree to which the Night Vision shakes off water; more than once, caught out on rain, it has shrugged off water without a care and left us dry and somewhat relieved. The water repellent panels to front, shoulder and sleeve did a better job of keeping out the elements than other jackets promoted specifically as waterproof. The stretch fabric moves beautifully on the ride, hugging the body without ever feeling restrictive and the cuffs, waist and neck closures are likewise snug without pinching or even, hardly, making their presence known. For extra comfort and warmth the collar and inner back and sleeves are thermal lined in a soft flock fabric.


However, there were two things that particularly made the Night Vision (forgive the pun) stand out for us. Firstly the incredibly generous rear pockets – two large, open ones and a small, zipped secure pocket for keys and valuables – which however much we stuffed them full of gels, bars, gloves and the like never bagged and seemed to continue consuming things like some bike-based magic act.


Secondly – and here the clue is very much in the name – the level of visibility is superb. Reflective panels and details across all parts of the jacket will have you glowing like Tron in headlights and if you opt for the eye-strainingly bright orange colour (black also available) it’s likely you could be spotted from space.


The spec on this jacket is admirable indeed and its ability to perform across seasons (autumn rides were a temperature-regulated pleasure) make the already reasonable £69.99 price tag something of a bargain. Available in seven sizes from XS to XXL (34-51” chest) the Altura Night Vision Windproof Jacket is available from, amongst others,


Apparel Reviews

Altura Ergofit Gloves

Altura Ergo Fit Gloves reviewNot that we’ve exactly had a scorcher of a summer, but things have certainly turned distinctly autumnal in the last few weeks and the nip to the fingers has been noticeable. Timely, then, that Cyclo has just taken delivery of a pair of Altura Ergofit gloves to put through their paces and with the manufacturer calling them ‘ideal for winter road riding’ now was clearly the time to get going…


The outer shell of the Ergofits comprises of 50% Nylon, 30%Polyester, 20% Polyurethane with the inner lining being 100% Polyester, the result is a good balance between responsive flexibility and ruggedness that suggests they would survive (and protect the hands) in the event of a spill. Although they don’t feel particularly thick the insulation against a near-zero wind-chill on our morning rides was more than adequate – Cyclo can’t quite vouch for the depths of winter yet, but so far so good with the rear-hand shell even managing to repel some lively showers.


The multi-panel design and well-positioned ProGEL pads added to both comfort and grip stability, whilst fairly generous Lycra cuffs tucked easily into the jacket sleeve to further fend off the cold. The lightly flocked, suede-effect material across the front of the hand extends around the outside of the thumb, useful for wiping away a little sweat (or winter nose-run), but beware of your aim as a swipe of the reverse side’s pad is a scratch best avoided.


Well priced at £34.99 the Altura Ergofits are available in sizes S-XX although only in the (admittedly natty) black and red colour combo. Comfortable, tough, warm and reliable – ‘ideal for winter road riding’ sounds right on the money.


For further details and to find a retailer see:


Apparel Reviews

Falke Socks

Long synonymous with quality and luxury, particularly with both running and skiing socks, Falke are less known in the UK for their cycling range, but with a heritage dating back more than 100 years and the same level of excellence clearly demonstrable across their full range, it’s high time to redress the balance. Cyclo took a look at the BC3 (All Mountain), BC5 (Race) and BC6 (Pro Cycling), putting them through their paces whilst the vagaries of a British spring served up the full gamut of meteorological conditions.


First on the feet (thanks to a surprise sunny day) were the minimalist Pro Cycling socks; these are truly lightweight, designed for full power transfer rather than to pamper the foot with excessive padding and unnecessary detailing. However, despite the lack of ‘pamper’, the BC6s proved silky smooth and delightfully comfortable and, assuming your race shoes are appropriately fitted, the lack of extra volume shouldn’t be an issue. Like all socks in the range these are ergonomically designed for left/right foot and use the bespoke ‘smartcel clima’ technology to regulate temperature – a system that worked well on test and also proved efficient at wicking away moisture.


A change in the weather and a change of sock (and indeed bike) to try out the BC3 All Mountain socks. Higher cut than the BC6 and with excellent padding through the Achilles, heel and toe box, these are perfectly suited to MTB or if, your road shoes allow, for colder regular rides. Again featuring thermo regulation and excellent wicking these are tough, durable socks that felt comfortable on long rides without the slightest sign of hot spots and the division of the sock into panels (by more open mesh structures) distinctly felt as if each part worked both independently and (paradoxically) in harmony with each other. Not over engineered, just very well engineered.


Finally to the BC5 Race socks – something of an everyday (though far from average) cycling sock that delivers light to medium cushioning and the same attention to detail as the rest of the range. Cool enough for summer rides and seemingly good enough at regulating temperature for some shoulder-season sessions, the BC5s deliver what they promise.


The Falke Ergonomic Sports System range (to give them their full title) were a joy to ride in and deserve far greater recognition here for their unparalleled degree of both manufacture and performance; and at £12 a pair stack up well in the wallet department too.


Apparel Reviews

SealSkinz Waterproof Thin Socklet

Keeping feet dry in unforgiving British weather is no easy thing, but after an unprecedented dry winter, Cyclo has finally been able to take to the saddle in some proper foul conditions to put the SealSkinz Waterproof Thin Socklet through its paces. The things we do for you…


Made with a fine Merino wool lining with excellent wicking properties the socklet certainly eliminates sweaty or clammy feet, despite its middle waterproof membrane keeping more metrological moisture on the outside – the only slightly disconcerting aspect being that it crackles like a crisp bag when you slip it on. But once in place (crackle no longer audible) it’s one of the most comfortable socks we have tested; initial concerns about the seam – which runs down the middle of the sole from toe to heel proved unfounded even against the inner pressure of rigid ride shoes and the elasticated instep provided a good degree of support.


On the ride these undeniably kept the feet bone dry from both spray and torrential conditions and those that prefer a longer sock can also look to either the ankle- or mid-length option, the latter also available in a thicker version for all-season cycling. Easy to see why SealSkinz appeal to even top-flight cyclists with Bruno Reverberi, Manager of Colnago-CSF Inox, stating: ‘We use SealSkinz products because they offer the best protection from harsh weather conditions. The Italian winter weather is very unpredictable and we need the best kit available to make sure that our riders are comfortable and focused on the task in hand…’


Priced at £22 for the socklet and rising to £30 for the mid and available in sizes from UK 3 to 14 (EU 36-49). These do their job so well it almost makes you pray for rain.


Apparel Reviews

Sugoi 2012 Evolution Full Finger Gloves

British weather eh? Blazing March sunshine, followed my Arctic blasts and a rain-washed April. And Cyclo’s point? You never know when you’re going to need a good pair of gloves and at a mid-range price of £29.99 the 2012 Sugoi Evolution Full Finger Glove might just be the pair you should opt for. The word ‘Sugoi’ is a Japanese term for ‘Incredible’ and whilst this might be over egging things just a little, these are a really fully featured (as well as fully fingered) pair of gloves. The padding system, here swishly called ‘V-Control’ padding, is excellent throughout with particular emphasis on foam padding across the palms too reduce ride vibration and well considered pads to protect the ulnar nerve – a feature that seems to be becoming increasingly wide-spread.


Being full-fingered means the Evolutions should see you through three seasons with plenty of meshing to help air-flow and temperature control and a terry thumb, bonded to keep its shape, useful for wiping away a drop or two or perspiration. The combination of synthetic, vented, leather palms, gel detailing and a silicone Sugoi logo on the index and middle (i.e. breaking) fingers make for superb grip even in the wettest conditions and with a good choice of sizes – from x-small to x-x-large – getting close to a second-skin experience is as simple as following the sizing guidelines when you buy.


Black, red or white, each with a hint of 3M Scotchlite, may be your only colours choices, but at this price and with this much on offer in terms of tech-spec it would be churlish to complain.


Apparel Reviews

B.Sock ProRacingSock

CompresSport have been making steady inroads in the world of compression technology race kit over the last couple of years. Increasingly a brand seen at triathlon and particularly Ironman events throughout Europe and beyond (the likes Chrissie Wellington and Tim Berkel sport them), the initial range – including quad and calf guards – has begun to grow and now includes their first foray into cycling specific kit in the form of their B.Sock ProRacingSocks. Whilst the name might seem a little cumbersome the product itself is an excellent blend of tech and style that builds on the brands reputation.


Light and comfortable in the extreme the B.Sock holds, indeed almost cradles, the foot whilst providing a well judged degree of compression that delivers posture-holding support and improved circulation – which works to advance performance and, arguably, speed recovery post-ride. Despite the wide toe piece, the B.Sock sits comfortably with the range of shoes that Cyclo put through their paces.


The ‘3D dot’ technology that covers sections of the sock isn’t just for show either; the dimples are intended to work as tiny shock-absorbers and whilst it’s been tough to either prove or disprove the idea in testing, feet have certainly felt relatively fresh after some good long rides with little or no ache. The circulation of air is also improved by their inclusion and the further addition of a silver ion treatment to the fabric holds bacteria at bay if things do get sweaty.


With a two year guarantee and a price tag of £15 these inarguably represent good value for money and their range of sizes (all the way down to a UK Women’s 2.5) is a bonus. More information and online retail at


Apparel Reviews

Shimano WR41

The Shimano WR41 Women’s SPD SL Road Shoes are part of Shimano’s road sport range that the makers (undeniably one of the longest established and most prolific) claim address the three most important properties: stability, rigidity and lack of weight. In testing Cyclo would also probably add, in order of importance, comfort and aesthetics. How do they measure up?


In terms of weight an EU 40 (that’s a UK 5.5) come in at around 550g, a mid-range reckoning that feels light enough on the peddle with the general weight-saving coming from the fibreglass reinforced nylon outer sole (well cushioned from the foot’s actual sole by an adequately padded insert) and a degree of meshing on the upper, which of course adds breathability to the ride. Rigidity and stability are also both well dealt with here, providing excellent power transfer and a true feeling of control. The ‘micro-adjustable buckle’ takes a go or two to get used to, but ultimately allows for a great deal of precision closure for a comfortable fit that feels snug but not restrictive. We didn’t feel any hot-spots developing on long rides (or climbs) but as anatomical design varies far wider that shoe design these, like all cycle shoes, are best tested before committing whenever possible. Also worth noting that, although these softened with time, the inner, rear of the shoe is quite dramatically v-shaped and inflexible, which gave initial concern over ankle and Achilles comfort.


As these are designed as women’s specific shoes they feature a lower and narrower heel section and a ‘lower volume’ front end– equally significant is the fact that the range runs all the way down to a UK size 2 (EU 36), so even the smallest of feet can benefit from the Shimano way of doing things. And aesthetics? Well, it’s a cycling shoe – it looks just fine; stylish in its own way with a degree of reflective thrown in for good measure/safety…


Not the cheapest shoe on the market (RRP of £79.99, naturally excluding cleats), but Shimano are a broadly reliable brand and the WR41 looks like it should deliver plenty of miles for the money.