Now that the days are drawing in and the temperature’s dropping in the Low Countries, it’s time for a good set of cold-weather clothing — clothing which ensures there’s absolutely no reason not to go cycling outside. It’s also an idea to get gear that ensures you’re visible to other traffic during these dark days. So, as the temperature outside drops to around freezing point, the time is right to test BBB Cycling’s winter kit out on the road.
BBB TriGuard jacket
We start with the BBB TriGuard jacket. A good jacket is the first item of clothing that eases the transition from summer to winter training. Keeping your upper body warm (but not too warm) is a key factor for good winter gear. And the TriGuard does this very well. The fit is good, but gives enough room for several layers underneath. Thanks to the silicon strip along the hem, the jacket stays looking good. The jacket is also wind-proof, which makes training in the chill, winter air quite comfortable. The jacket is water-resistant enough to deal with an unexpected shower.
The TriGuard has a large ventilation panel on the back of the jacket to let out all that heat, which is also water-resistant. This is a cool feature (literally). The jacket therefore keeps you warm, but if you train hard, it has a means of letting out the excess perspiration. The latter is of course dependent on how many layers you wear underneath. The makers say that this jacket is designed for wearing between 0-10°C. You’ll have to work out for yourself how many layers work at which temperatures.
The TriGuard is available in red, black, and fluorescent yellow. When you’re out on the road and it’s not dark, but it’s not light either, the latter option is certainly not a bad idea. The jacket does lack reflective material, but the bright colour ensures that you get seen. The jacket has four pockets, three traditional rear pockets, and a zipper pocket for keys and phone. Price? Around €100.
BBB ColdShield bib tights
As soon as your legs feel the cold through traditional leg warmers, it’s worth thinking about getting a pair of winter tights. BBB’s ColdShield tights are certainly worth considering if you’re shopping around. These tights have bibs (braces) and a chamois. The material is fleece-like, and really comfortable during longer rides in cold conditions. If there’s an unexpected shower while you’re out on your ride, no worries: the ColdShield tights are water-repellant. You might not initially consider this an interesting feature, until you get caught out in the rain. Then this feature suddenly becomes a big deal and you arrive home comfortable instead of soaked through. Big difference.
One of the risks of riding with tights as opposed to shorts is that the material moves around on your legs as you pedal, and becomes uncomfortable. BBB has thought about that, and added a silicon gripper around the ankles. This ensures the legs stay put, once you’ve pulled them on, which is slightly less-easy than normal as the grippers are a bit sticky, for obvious reasons. But once you’ve pulled them into the correct position, they stay don’t move at all during the ride.
The chamois is well made, but that’s all we can say really. A chamois is a very personal thing, and depends on your position on the bike, your saddle, and what’s comfortable for you. One of the drawbacks of this is that the only way to find out is to test it out several times. If you don’t want to take that risk with winter tights, then BBB offers a range of alternatives without a chamois, but made of the same quality materials to give guaranteed warmth and comfort during winter training sessions. The ColdShield tights with bib and chamois are priced around €95.
BBB ControlZone gloves
Gloves are perhaps one of the most tricky pieces of clothing to get right. I get cold fingers really quickly, but overly thick gloves soon make shifting gear almost impossible.
BBB ControlZone gloves are not too thick, which means they aren’t really suitable for extremely cold weather. But when we tested them on a ride at around freezing point, I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. Shifting gears is easy, thanks to the thin material, but my fingers stayed warm. This was mainly thanks to the wind-stopping properties of the fabric. Because they are so thin, I found myself taking them off a couple of times, thinking that it couldn’t be that cold. Each time I quickly put them back on again quickly as it was a lot colder outside the gloves than I thought.
The gel on the palm cushion gives welcome padding for long rides. One feature I particularly like is that these gloves are extra-long. It’s easy to pull them over the ends of your sleeves and shut the wind out with the velcro cuffs. Guaranteed warmth and comfort for around €30.
BBB HeavyDuty OSS overshoes
The BBB HeavyDuty OSS overshoes complete this winter outfit. Here, again, we chose fluorescent in preference to black. There are reflective tabs on the heels of these overshoes, but at The Prologue we believe that being seen is being safe, especially at this time of year.
Overshoes are essential to your winter outfit both in order to avoid so-called dead toe syndrome, and also to keep your swanky shoes clean. But overshoes come in all shapes, thicknesses, and degrees of protection. The BBB HeavyDuty model is nice and thick, keeping your feet truly toasty. We were lucky enough not to have rain during our test, so we were unable to test the waterproofness, but they are advertised as “water resistant”, so heavy rain protection is probably too much to ask. The overshoes slip over the foot easily and once the zip at the back is fastened, they are skin-tight and comfortable, for around €30.
Keep on training
This set of winter clothes from BBB Cycling affords extra comfort for you to keep riding on the road throughout the winter. This gear is also reasonably priced. In a cycling world where clothing seems to go up in price every year, BBB keeps both feet on the ground. The designs are practical and straightforward and the clothing does exactly what one expects it to do. This is an ideal set for any cycling enthusiast who wants to ride through the winter, without hitting his or her wallet too hard!