Shimano is best known as a cycling component company (and in a different world, a fishing component company), but it also offers clothing and accessories to outfit your body in addition to your bike. As an example, last year we looked at the company’s new XC5 gravel-oriented shoes.
The Japanese company is now offering a performance lifestyle line called S-PHYRE that includes warm and cold-weather clothing, gloves, shoes and eyewear. S-PHYRE is at the high end of Shimano’s apparel line and has prices that reflect that position.
You’ve probably seen some top cyclocrossers, including a current world champ, wearing the shiny blue S-PHYRE shoes.
The S-Phyre line includes a number of cold-weather items that are likely to help for late-season cyclocross racing and early-spring gravel riding in more northern climates. With cold temperatures hovering over the Upper Midwest for months, I have had plenty of time to test out several winter items from the S-PHYRE line.
Today, we take a look at four items from the S-Phyre line: Bib Long Tights, Winter Gloves, Winter Base Layer and Windresistant Jersey. These items represent a part, not all, of the winter gear in the S-PHYRE line.
Shimano S-Phyre Bib Long Tights
The Shimano S-PHYRE Bib Long Tights are a full-length tight with bib straps to help keep them up during racing. The tights are made from polyester and elastane. The mix of materials makes them windproof and water repellant, which is especially helpful for early-spring gravel rides when the weather is best described as “mercurial.”
The materials are relatively thick, making the tights warm and definitely suited for winter-like conditions. The tights feature a “brushed” inner layer that provides the garment’s warmth.
The leg tops feature a water repellant material, and reflective details are incorporated into the tights to help make sure drivers can see you. The tights include zippers near the leg cuff to help slip them on and off over thicker winter cycling shoes.
The Bib Long Tights work best when you slip them on over your chamois—unless doing a Quailman thing with your bibs is more your thing. Since most of us likely wear bib shorts, the double straps make the setup a bit restrictive, but I found no issues with mobility while out riding in the cold.
Size-wise, at 6’1″ I found the Large to be a good fit. I usually wear a Large for cycling clothing, so sizes seem as you would expect. The gender-neutral Big Long Tights come in six sizes.
As with all items in the S-PHYRE line, the warmth and performance come at a cost. The Bib Long Tights cost $270 for the chamois-less model I tested, and a model is available with a chamois for $330.
Cost: $270 ($320 with chamois)
Sizes: XXS through XL
Shimano S-Phyre Winter Base Layer
The Shimano S-Phyre Winter Base Layer is a light, yet warm long-sleeve base layer made from polypropylene, polyester and spandex. According to Shimano, the garment is designed to keep your core temperature at 37°C. For the conversion challenged, that’s 98.6°F.
One nice thing about the design of the Winter Base Layer is it is well-vented. Shimano put vents in both the armpits and the back, where dreaded back sweat usually pools up and makes you colder, even with warm gear on.
The materials provide a snug but stretchy fit that keeps the garment close to your body. Even with the tight fit, the base layer still allows easy movement, which is good for ’cross.
Although the material stretches, the sleeves on the L-XL I wore came up a bit short (this has been a problem with every base layer I have owned, so maybe it’s me, not you).
This base layer would make a good option for wearing under your jersey for cyclocross races if you do not have a thermal skinsuit or under a jacket during cold gravel rides.
Sizes: XXS-S, S-M, L-XL
Shimano S-Phyre Winter Gloves
Finding winter gloves that keep you warm while allowing for finger dexterity is an age-old cyclocross problem. The S-Phyre Winter gloves take an approach that tries to balance dexterity with warmth.
The glove’s lining is primarily polyester with Elastane for water repellency. The gloves are full-finger for all five fingers—the index finger has touch screen tab—and are relatively thin for a winter glove. A long cuff effectively covers the wrist area.
Even with the thin design, Shimano rates them to about 35°F.
I found the Winter Gloves provided good finger dexterity, and they kept my hands warm to about the 35°F they are rated for. When temperatures dropped toward freezing, my hands started to get cold.
The glove’s palm surface uses a combination of Polyamide and Elastane that provides grip that is adequate but not exceptional. For cyclocross purposes, the gloves could maybe add some extra grip.
Sizes: XS through XL
The final item in the Shimano S-Phyre line we tested during cold-weather riding was the Windresistant Jersey.
The Windresistant Jersey features a Polyester and Polyamide mix with a brushed inside for extra warmth. The outer layer is water repellant and not surprisingly, windproof. In my opinion, the materials and the warm liner make it closer to a cycling jacket than a jersey.
The back has three big pockets for carrying gloves, food and whatever else you need on gravel rides and the neck is fairly high for extra protection against the wind.
Our reviewer quickly noted the warmth of the Windresistant Jersey and its tight, form-fitting fit. The garment quickly became a regular for them during the cold winter we experienced this year.
The jersey still allows for comfortable movement, so it is likely a good option for both cold gravel rides and cyclocross warm-ups during the fall.
My biggest caveat with the Jersey is it runs small. Shimano first shipped a Medium, which fit our reviewer who normally wears a Small, and when the company sent the Large I usually wear, it was too small for me.
Sizes: XXS through XL
Anyone who has ridden in fall, spring and even winter weather knows that the key to enjoying the ride is the right gear. If you want to venture out from the trainer, having warm gloves and clothing that can also keep you dry in the moist winter air is a necessity.
The Shimano S-PHYRE line of cold weather clothing delivers in providing a warm ride while still allowing you to move with the agility required for cyclocross and gnarly sections of gravel. The brushed inner layers of the items provide warmth and the outer layers help resist the elements.
Staying warm with the S-PHYRE line comes at a cost, with several of the items near the upper end of cycling clothing we have reviewed. It is up to the reader to decide if the cost is worth it to get outside and ride when those with flimsy gear are stuck inside on the trainer or after calling it quits for cyclocross season in early November.
More Info: bike.shimano.com