Chuck from Pez Cycling News reviews some cold spec Cycology Clothing. Read the original article on Pez Cycling News here.
It’s that time of the year when the seasons are changing. Transition/shoulder season. The temperatures are dropping. Grey skies mix with blue. Windy days (with associated wind chill) are more the norm. In other words, time to break out cool/cold weather kit. PEZ got an assortment of fun and functional cool/cold weather kit to try out from our friends down under at Cycology.
Cycology’s kit comes nicely packaged
PEZ readers may remember I reviewed Cycology’s 8 Days collection and was matchy-matchy head-to-toe with their kit. I could have simply done even more matchy-matchy with more of the same for cool/cold weather kit, but decided I wanted something different so went with their Day of the Living collection. Part of that decision was because the skull theme on the Day of the Living jersey is a nice “pairing” with my Kustom Caps Sugar Skull headset cap and bar end plugs on my Felt FC. The other reason was the lime green option (the jersey is also available in black) is loud for added visibility (definitely a consideration for riding on gray-er days and in an urban environment).
That the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey is for riding in cooler weather is readily apparent. It’s a mid-weight fabric that’s slightly brushed on the inside for a little extra insulation.
Warmth more than weight is a concern for cool/cold weather kit, but for those who are counting grams
Design and construction-wise, the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey is what you would expect: a full-zip front (with gold standard YKK zipper), two side panels, a rear panel with the requisite three rear jersey pockets plus a secure zipper pocket, high collar, and raglan sleeves. The panels are serge stitched. If there’s anything “missing,” it would be a wind flap behind the zipper — but that’s a minor niggle.
Of course it’s full zip!
The YKK zipper is cam lock: (left) up to zip and (right) down to lock in place
The high collar is another giveaway that this is a jersey for cooler weather
PEZ readers might remember that my Cycology 8 Days jersey was race fit. The Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey is their performance fit (Cycology offers three different fits — relaxed, performance, and race — but not every jersey is available in all three fits). In size small (the smallest size available for the jersey — I wear an XS in Cycology’s race fit jersey), it wasn’t second skin, race fit tight on my 5’8″, 130 pound ectomorph build. Semi-form fitting isn’t a bad description. It’s not what I would call “baggy,” but the performance fit is somewhat “loose” on me (in particular, the sleeves are just a little too long — but I’ve come to expect this with long-sleeve jerseys as manufacturers have to pick a length that they will work for as many people with different arm lengths as possible). But this isn’t necessarily a negative because it creates some “room” under the jersey to accommodate different types of base layers (from cold weather sleeveless to full-on winter thermal). In that regard (and since cool/cold weather riding is all about layering and mixing and matching kit appropriate to the weather conditions), the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey could also serve as a “jacket” over a lighter weight short sleeve jersey.
Not super snug race fit, but certainly not baggy
The three rear pockets are relatively roomy plus a secure zipper pocket to store stuff like keys, ID, credit cards
I would expect to wear some sort of base layer under this jersey, but I found the slightly brushed fabric soft and smooth against my bare skin. And even though the seams aren’t flat stitched, they were comfortable and didn’t rub or chafe.
Reflective piping along the side panels and over the secure zipper pocket
Not a bad motto to live and ride by
A base layer is pretty much a “must” once fall weather sets in. The Cycology Day of the Living Long Sleeve Base Layer is a mid-weight stretch material that’s brushed on the inside and feels like soft flannel. Fit-wise, size small on me was form-fitting but not quite second skin tight. And it’s not bulky so can fit easily under a long sleeve jersey — which, for me, means more comfort and easier freedom of movement. I went matchy-matchy with the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey, but Cycology also makes a plain black long sleeve base layer that goes with everything.
The only seam that isn’t flat stitched is the one that runs the length of the sleeve and down the side (serge stitched)
Because the weight weenies will want to know
A vest (or gilet) is probably the most versatile and quintessential piece of cycling kit. Except for the coldest and windiest of days, it’s all I usually need as outerwear when I ride. A vest is all about keeping my core warm (or at least warm enough).
The front panel of the Day of the Living Vest is a windproof material with the same cam lock zipper as the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey. You obviously want some thermal insulation as the temperatures get colder, but I find wind chill is what really makes me feel cold when I ride (and remember the act of riding creates wind chill even if there isn’t any wind). So the windproof front is money.
The back and side panels of the vest are a stretch micro-mesh material. This allows the vest to breathe and to wick moisture away. You may not sweat as much in cold weather as in hot weather, but you still want to draw sweat away from your skin and jersey. If you don’t, you’ll end up feeling clammy.
A high collar and full-length full-length flap behind the zipper to keep the wind off
A zipper garage provides some extra assurance that the zipper won’t flip up
And the stretch allows the vest to be snug and form fitting (size small for me). Combined with an elasticized hem and armholes, that means no flapping around in the wind.
Very snug fit keeps the wind out
I love the fit, function, and look of the Day of the Living Vest, but if I had one suggestion for product improvement, it would be double zipper pulls. This would allow you to unzip from the bottom as well at the top and make it easier to get to the rear jersey pockets without having to completely unzip the vest. Not a deal breaker, but would be #marginalgains.
Secure zipper pocket so you can get to important stuff (keys, ID, credit card) without having to take vest off to get to jersey pockets
Maybe not as light as the wind, but still pretty light
In a departure from being matchy-matchy, I decided to go with the plain black Cycology Logo Bib Shorts. Mostly because that would allow me to wear them with plain black knee warmers (not an accessory Cycology makes) when the weather gets too cold to wear just shorts.
The Cycology Logo Bib Shorts are basically an all-black version of the 8 Days Bib Shorts I previously reviewed. So my verdict is the same:
- They are fairly “typical” (not a bad thing) with a tried and true design that works: multiple panels (I counted five plus the leg gripper panels) for the shorts part, Y-back bib part (three panels), and wide, laser cut, lay flat bib straps.
- The fit is slightly less than race fit: That’s not a criticism — simply a statement of fact. The first hint that they’re not race fit is that they don’t take as much work to slide on. Compared to other race bibs I have, the compression is much lighter. That’s not saying there’s no or not enough compression — simply a point of comparison. For me, the compression was just this side of firm enough to feel it and not worry about leg creep. Overall, these bibs lean more towards comfort than race (although they would’ve been considered race bibs back in my racing days a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). They’re the kind of bibs that most (probably the vast majority) riders could ride in for hours on end.
- And the chamois aka pad does what it’s supposed to do: As the PEZ himself recently pointed out: “the real problems in our nether region almost always result from friction between our skin and the pad itself – not how much ‘padding’ is there.” For me, the padding felt firm enough without being squishy. I’ve done several ~4 hour rides (including rest stops) and my undercarriage parts haven’t had any complaints. I’m sure I could ride longer without having to worry about any aforementioned friction issues.
In short, a pair of bibs that are good for short rides or long (although I no longer ride centuries so can’t attest to how they’ll do for that long a day in the saddle).
Not as wide a leg gripper section as most full-on race bibs, but it still grips with no slip
Cycology doesn’t say where the pad is sourced from. Visually, it looks a lot like other pads I’ve seen. Functionally, it does what a chamois is supposed to do and keeps my butt and other bits happy.
But I did go matchy-matchy with the Day of the Living Socks. They are just like the 8 Days Socks I previously reviewed:
One thing that’s different about Cycology’s socks is that they’re “one size fits most” rather than coming in different sizes. Cycology doesn’t say what the size range is, but they fit my US size 9 feet the way I expect a pair of cycling socks to fit. Which is to say they need to be pulled on and stretched over my feet to fit, i.e., they don’t just slip on. The result it that they have enough compression to stay in place and you don’t have to worry about them bunching up or falling down.
NOTE: These aren’t thermal socks so have their limits for cool/cold weather riding because my feet tend to get cold easily when the temps drop into the 50s(F) — especially if it’s overcast and/or damp air. But for matchy-matchy style points, I’ll wear the Day of the Living Socks for as long as I can before I have to resort to warmer socks and/or shoe covers.
Double cuffed to make sure they stay up
Feets don’t fail me now!
The Day of the Living Winter Jacket is a “substantial” piece of kit. You can feel the heft when you pick it up. And there’s no mistaking its features for cold/winter kit:
- The full-zip front and sleeves are a wind resistant material that’s relatively thick/dense (but not Michelin Man bulky)
- The inside is a brushed fleece
- The collar is noticeably higher (with the back higher than the front to offer more protection for the back of the neck)
- The back panel is breathable fabric to wick away sweat, but still relatively heavyweight
- Although it has nothing to do with making better for colder weather: the YKK zipper is heavier duty and what you would more likely see on an outerwear jacket.
Beefy YKK zipper
If weight is an indicator of insulation … almost a full pound
As jackets go, it’s pretty form fitting. On me, as size small actually fit snugger around my torso than the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey. The reason is because the wind resistant material doesn’t have as much stretch. According to Cycology:
The Windshield Fabric in this jacket is not high stretch so if you wish to layer up underneath or require a looser fit please take this into consideration when choosing your size. We strongly recommend reviewing our sizing tool for an indication of the best size in our range to suit your personal fit preference. If you are unsure or are in between sizes we would advise moving up a size.
You could say the collar goes all the way up to eleven
I was fine with the way it fit me and was able to wear the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey (with the matching base layer) under it without a problem. NOTE: Like the jersey, the sleeves on the Day of the Living Winter Jacket are a tad long so bunch up a little … but (especially for winter kit) that’s better than them being too short.
It’s a jacket but fits a lot like a jersey
The full-length flap behind the zipper serves two purposes: (1) to help keep the zipper from catching on your jersey underneath and (2) to help keep the wind out
Reflective strip on the back of the jacket
Given the way it fits, “jacket” might actually be a little bit of a misnomer. In some ways, the Day of the Living Winter Jacket is both a jacket and a jersey. In colder temps, it can be worn over a long sleeve jersey with a base layer underneath, i.e., as a jacket. But in just “cold” temps (defined by your tolerance for cold), it could be worn by itself over an appropriate base layer, i.e., as a jersey. In fact, Cycology says: “Designed to add a base layer underneath for added warmth this jacket is the perfect protection against the elements.” So it’s a fairly versatile piece of kit.
If there’s anything “lacking’ in the jacket, it’s that there isn’t a secure zipper pocket. But that’s just a minor niggle.
Full Monty winter kit is more than I need for 70-something degrees in SC, but I’ll be ready for colder weather up in Babylon in the Potomac
I know a lot of riders simply wear tights over their bib shorts to keep their legs warm, but the extra layer of the tights over the bib shorts means my butt isn’t parked in my saddle exactly the same as it would be if I was just wearing bib shorts. It also means that it’s possible for the tights to slide out of position. We’re talking small differences, but differences nonetheless. Bib tights fix that.
It’s not cold enough yet for me to wear Cycology’s Winter Bib Tights, but I’ll probably encounter cold enough weather sooner than I expect (or want). When that happens, I’ll be ready for the cold with:
- Heavier weight, fleece lined fabric for thermal insulation
- Wind resistant panels over the knees
NOTE that Cycology says: “These bib tights are made from a heavier weight fleece lined fabric that provides a firmer fit that our bib short fabric which has higher stretch. We recommend sizing up if you are in any doubt as to size or if you prefer a less compressive fit.” For me (size small), the Winter Bib Tights fit pretty much the same as the Logo bib shorts. Which is to say comfortably snug but not overly firm compression (although the compression is slightly firmer than the bib shorts).
70-something degrees in SC is definitely not bib tights weather, but I’ll be good to go for winter up in Babylon on the Potomac
Construction-wise, the bib section of the Cycology Winter Bib Tights is pretty much the same as the Logo Bib Shorts, including the same stretch mesh material. The difference, however, is that the Winter Bib Tights don’t have raw cut bib straps — instead they are seamed and use the same stretch mesh material as the Y-back.
Seamed bib straps instead of raw cut, but still comfortable
If I counted correctly, the tights section consists of 10 panels — all with flat stitched seams except where the chamois panels are joined and the inside seams of the wind resistant knee panels. The rationale for all those panels is to provide better fit and movement.
A long zipper at the ankle to make it easier to take on and off
Same chamois as the bib shorts
I wear a skull cap whenever I ride — even in hot weather. The main reason is because it helps keep the inside of my helmet from getting too sweaty and “funky” smelling. But in colder weather, a skull cap is a “must have” to provide thermal insulation.
The Day of the Living Thermal Beanie is essentially a skull cap that covers your ears and back of your head to help keep your head warmer. The inside is a soft, micro-fleece material with flat stitched seams, so very comfortable. And it’s thin enough that it fits easily underneath my different helmets.
Hot cool fun in the summertime fall
I admit that it takes me a little bit of an adjustment period to go from the blazing heat of summer to the cool of fall (especially since I’m of tropical ethnic heritage and more heat than cold tolerant). But once I’m acclimated, fall is one of my favorite seasons for riding. As I’m writing this, I’m down at our house in the lowcountry of SC where the daytime temps still reach up into the 70s(F). So I’m still able to ride in short sleeves and shorts. But the morning temps are in the 50s(F). If I was out for an all-day ride, I might opt for a short-sleeve jersey with cool weather base layer and arm warmers. But for a shorter early morning ride to Corner Perk for coffee, the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Jersey does the trick. Temperature and cloud cover dictates whether a sleeveless base layer is enough or if I need the Day of the Living Long Sleeve Base Layer. Even if it warms up a little into the mid-60s(F) or so, I’m still comfortable enough. It’s also the kind of weather where if it’s sunny enough, I’m comfortable just riding in Cycology Logo Bib Shorts.
I’ll get to more use of the kit when I get back up to Babylon in the Potomac (where the weather was already more cool and gray when I left and overnight temps have dipped into the 40s(F)). I’ll probably have to add knee warmers to the bib shorts depending on temp and sun/cloud conditions. For sure I’ll get a lot of use out of the Day of the Living Vest for that extra little bit to ward off wind and chill. And the Day of the Living Jacket as a jersey with a base layer underneath for those colder but not dead of winter cold days.
I don’t do as much winter riding as I used to (like when I rode Freezing Saddles, a fun and frivolous winter riding winter riding game/competition), but I’ll definitely make use of the Day of the Living Winter Jacket and the Winter Bib Tights when I do venture outdoors. I’m confident they’ll be up to snuff for the winter rides I’m willing to do — usually in the low 40s(F), but I’m willing to ride down into the high 30s(F) if it’s sunny and no/very light wind … and not wet regardless of temp. Otherwise, I’m a wimp.
BOTTOM LINE: For cool/cold weather weather riding, Cycology’s kit is fully functional. It has to be given all the quality choices from so many different manufacturers. Maybe not the highest tech or the most cutting edge, but it gets the job done. It’s also affordably priced relative to a lot of other manufacturers. So a value choice.
But as I wrote about the Cycology 8 Days kit, what sets their kit apart from the crowd “is the fun quotient, which can often be missing amongst the die hard roadie crowd.” The same is true for the Day of the Living kit — more so with the can’t-be-missed lime green long sleeve jersey and vest.
Sly and the Family Stone sang about having hot fun in the summertime. With Cycology’s kit (Day of the Living or otherwise), you can have some cool fun in the fall (and into the winter). As I previously wrote: “Riding (no matter how serious a rider you are) is supposed to be fun.” So as cooler weather sets in, get your fun on!