2011/2012 Cold Weather Offerings from Bellwether Clothing

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Bellwether Aqua-No Booties. © Cyclocross Magazine

Bellwether Aqua-No Booties. © Cyclocross Magazine

by Molly Hurford

The best way to test cold weather gear is to, well, ride in the cold. So it’s taken us a while, with the mild East Coast weather this December, to get in some serious rides with Bellwether’s 2012 line up of cold weather gear. But when the cold finally hit, we were happy to have it! The Bellwether gear was tested out by myself and Donny Green, an elite cyclocross racer and a bike messenger, who’s been searching for the perfect cold weather gear for years. Between the two of us, we sampled some of Bellwether’s accessories and clothing, and were both pleasantly surprised. After all, Bellwether is more associated with triathlon than anything, but clearly they’ve been steadily moving in a direction that makes us cyclocrossers pretty excited.

Aqua-No Bootie

The booties are great for cyclocross, though let a lot of cold air in. © Cyclocross Magazine

The booties are great for cyclocross, though let a lot of cold air in. © Cyclocross Magazine

Molly said: “I really like this bootie. My only problem was that the small was still a little bit big on my foot (I wear a women’s 7.5) but the ankle/calf part fit just fine. They were great for windy rides when temperatures hit low 30s, though I have my doubts about how waterproof they are, considering how much of the bottom was open. That said, the bottom made them great for cyclocross warmups, because they left the important parts of the shoe open.”

Donny said: “Sizing is pretty true but they definitely stretch (in a good way). The zipper wouldn’t go all the way up just at the top, but it wasn’t a real problem. They work well, but I’ve been wearing them at work (6-8 hours in the rain), they do saturate at some point. I’m a bad person for this because I’ve never found a shoe cover that keeps my feet warm. They’re a decent windblock though. If you’re looking for a shoe cover that’s going to keep you really warm, it’s not these, but they’re overall pretty solid wind covers.”

Buy it here.
MSRP $49.99

Windstorm Glove

Bellwether gloves. © Cyclocross Magazine

Bellwether gloves. © Cyclocross Magazine

Molly said: “I love these. This mid-weight winter glove has been perfect for this December in New England, where it’s been low 40s or high 30s most of the time. They’re super windproof and really grippy. My only issue is that they aren’t a great race glove: the wrist part is really bulky, which is fine for a ride, but with a skinsuit, they’re kind of goofy. They’ll be my go-to gloves for course inspection at Nationals in Wisconsin for sure.”

Donny said: “For a winter race, they’d be good, but I’ve been mainly using them as a warm-up glove rather than for racing. The palm is interesting, with the grip. Again, I have a hard time because my hands are always cold but for most people, with the wind-proof and water-resistance, they’d be good for most conditions.”

Buy it here.
MSRP $44.99

Tempo L/S Women’s Jersey

Bellwether jersey and knickers. © Cyclocross Magazine

Bellwether jersey and knickers. © Cyclocross Magazine

Molly said: “This was a nice jersey. Nothing super fancy, but the pockets in the back are really well-designed and worked great for holding all of my gear. There’s even a zip pocket, which is always a plus! It was warm but not too warm, and on a chilly ride (around 20 degrees) it was great under a jacket. The claim is that it has a silicon back hem to keep it from riding up, and I’m really happy to report that it does, in fact, keep the jersey from riding up, which is usually a major concern for me. It’s simple, and it’s comfortable.”

Buy it here.
MSRP $70.00

Thermaldress Knicker: Women’s

The women's knickers have a great waist design. © Cyclocross Magazine

The women's knickers have a great waist design. © Cyclocross Magazine

Molly said: “I love these a lot. They have a fleece lining so they’re really cozy, and I’m a big fan of knickers. While I wouldn’t race in them, what I love is how good they are for long rides and for stopping at a coffee shop and stylishly blending in. If you’re not into going places in full kit, this is an awesome compromise between having a chamois and cycling-appropriate apparel while not really looking too kitted out. I’m also really happy with the waistband: normally I hate waists on women’s gear, they sit too high or cut in at the wrong spot. But these are similar to yoga pants (see left) and have a slight criss-cross band design that is super comfortable.

Buy it here.
MSRP $114.99

Element L/S Men’s Jersey

Bellwether jacket and bib knickers. © Cyclocross Magazine

Bellwether jacket and bib knickers. © Cyclocross Magazine

Donny said: “I’ve worn this a lot since I got it. Fit-wise, it’s a comfortable form-fit, though not race-fit, jersey. It’s got the right amount of pocket room, I could always carry everything I needed. It was surprisingly warm for how thin it seems. I was able to wear it as the top layer for rides in 40 degree weather and it was fine. They don’t bill it as being wind-resistant, the jacket has some sort of wind-blocking on the chest panels. With the thinner fabric on the back and under the arms, it breathes really well. The hem gripper really was good- it wasn’t too tight, so it didn’t ride up. It actually sits in the right spot. This is the best article of clothing I got from Bellwether, for sure. For gear to go on a ride with, this was perfect for what it was.”

Buy it here.
MSRP $94.99

ThermoDry Bib Knicker

    Donny said: “The fit was good: the offset stitching in the knee made for ease of motion while pedaling, which can be tough with that length. The fabric was warm, and it seemed like it was a little water resistant, and it definitely felt wind-resistant on a few cold rides. It does have a relatively large chamois, but for a long ride, it’s good. They’re a good Fall transition tight, when you want something warmer than bibs but it’s not quite time for tights and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of leg or knee-warmers.”

    Buy it here.
    MSRP $94.99

    Woolies Sock

    Bellwether wool socks. © Cyclocross Magazine

    Bellwether wool socks. © Cyclocross Magazine

    Molly said: “These socks with the booties are amazing. They kept my feet cozy in 20 degree weather, a feat (pun intended) that’s never been accomplished before. They’re really warm, comfortable, and I like how they weren’t bulky so I could still wiggle my toes. Plus, $12 for a 100% wool sock is pretty amazing.”

    Donny said: “Again, my feet are always cold, but I liked these a lot. They are warmer than normal socks. The fit is good, they’re not overly bulky even though they’re cold weather socks. I’d like them to be a little taller, personally, but I liked them. For $12, they’re definitely a good deal.”

    Buy it here.
    MSRP $11.99

    Coldfront Cap

    Donny: “The cap is good. Warm, fits under the helmet well, and it helps avoid that horrible brain freeze headache on cold morning rides.”

    Molly: “Donny and I have very different sized heads, but both of us thought it fit really well. Not too big, not too small. It fits really well under my helmet, and for someone with a lot of ear piercings, it was nice to have them covered by the ear flaps. The only problem was that with the ear flaps, I couldn’t hear Donny talking to me during the ride! They flip up though, so if you want to be social while riding, it’s not a problem. And I shouldn’t admit it, but when I did ride with headphones in, the cap kept them earbuds perfectly in place while I rode.”

    Buy it here.
    MSRP $25.99

    Overall, Bellwether has a great collection of Late Fall-Early Winter clothing and accessory offerings that are moderately priced so they won’t break the bank. I’d highly recommend the Woolie socks as an awesome (pun intended) Stocking Stuffer, and the Women’s ThermalDress Knicker for the special lady in your life. (Just saying …)

     

     

    Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
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    6 comments
    mollyjhurford
    mollyjhurford

    @Gabby_Day tomorrow? Today is insane with family and old high school friends (I'll fill you in on that tmrw!) <3 miss you!

    mollyjhurford
    mollyjhurford

    @Gabby_Day Perfect, as long as it's early Thursday (here)... your Christmas present is on it's way, btw!!

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