As the weather gets cooler, it’s time to dig out our fall cycling gear. Many companies introduced new and exciting products in 2020. Here’s some new gear been testing from Pearl Izumi, Bolle, GORE, Swiftwick, Showers Pass, Brilliant and Spurcycle. All are designated unisex except the GORE top, which is only for women. Each item listed will help make cool and sometimes wet weather cycling a little more enjoyable and safer.
Colors: Black/Tan; Black
Temp Rating: 30-55F (-1-13C)
In the fall, most rides start out cold and then slowly warm up. Pearl Izumi’s AmFIB Lite Gloves are great for temperature ranges from 30-55 degrees F. This midweight glove provides warmth, but is thin enough that you don’t lose the feel of the bars. PI uses 60g Permaloft Gold insulation with Cross Core technology (35% post-consumer recycled content) to provide protection from the elements including wind and water (although they are not waterproof).
Your hands will stay warm if you stop to take a picture or answer a call. Both the left and right thumb and index fingers work with touchscreen devices. This also means touchscreen bike computers work well with these gloves, too.
Other key features include a synthetic suede material on the palm for better grip of the handlebars, Velcro wrist closures to keep the cold out and a finger pull tab for easy removal.
These gloves are unisex and fit true to size. Consult the PI sizing chart before ordering.
Closure: BOA® Fit System
I’ve been on the lookout for a flat pedal shoe that was warmer for cool fall riding and Pearl Izumi’s X-Alp Launch Mid WRX shoes are perfect. The mid rise provides extra ankle protection, but also keeps your feet warmer than a summer weight MTB shoe.
Goodyear developed the compound used on the soles of the X-Alp Launch, which I found very sticky when used on my MTB pedals. My feet stayed securely on the pedals, which allowed me to just concentrate on riding.
Key features of these shoes include a BOA Fit System closure (which eliminates the hassle of laces), a water-repellent membrane, and both heel and toe protection. A gusseted tongue keeps dirt and debris out. I always hate when little rocks find their way into low rise shoes while on the trail.
Unfortunately, these shoes only come in one color, spruce/forest. If you like to color coordinate your bike, helmet and shoes, this could be an issue.
Bolle Lightshifter sunglasses with Phantom lens
Frame Color: Black, White, Pink
Fit: Slim faces
Interchangeable Lens: Yes
Fall riding means most of your rides are either starting in the dark or ending in the dark. That’s why I like photochromic lenses as they adjust to all light conditions. Bolle’s Lightshifter model is ideal for cycling and comes with different types of lenses. The model I tested had their new Phantom photochromic lens with 100 percent UV protection.
The Phantom lens is a combination of three technologies.
- NXT material for enhanced definition
- a molecular photochromic filter that adapts to all light conditions
- a high-contrast filter that improves color and depth perception.
Other features of the Lightshifter includes lightweight (34g), venting to prevent fogging and Thermogrip hydrophilic rubber on the temple tips and adjustable nose piece. The temple arms are thin enough to accommodate a rearview mirror.
Included in the box is a zipper hard-shell case and a microfiber soft storage bag.
For prescription wearers, the Phantom lens is available as a customized prescription lens that is inserted directly into the shield and provides the same technologies and performance as the sunglass lens.
Color: Black; Hibiscus Pink
Ever since I received this top from GORE Wear it’s been one of my favorite go to pieces. Engineered for running, the R3 is still a great option for cycling. However, note there are no rear pockets. While testing, I worn this top biking, hiking, and out running errands.
Designed for temps between 40-60 degrees F, the active fit gives me enough room to add a base layer as needed. The R3 shirt has a short front zipper and close fit collar to keep the chill out, as well as reflective details to keep you safe in low light conditions. The hibiscus pink version is a great color for visibility, but fashionable enough to be worn off the bike.
I’ve worn and washed this top over two dozen times and it comes out look great.
Price: $17.59 (on sale)
Color: Black; Heather; Coal
Materials: 63% Merino Wool, 35% Nylon, 2% Spandex
The Pursuit sock by Swiftwick is made with a four-season fiber of Merino Wool to provide warmth in cool weather and cooling in warm. It absorbs moisture and is designed for cycling and hiking. With a reinforced heel and toe, this sock is durable and will perform for many seasons of riding.
I tested this sock on cooler days with my summer cycling shoes and toe covers. My feet stayed warm throughout the ride which began in the low 40s. The inside of the sock is soft, and I had no issue with chafing or blisters even when hiking.
Color: Fatigue Green; Grey
Inner Materials: 38% Merino Wool, 38% Acrylic, 2% Lycra, 20% Nylon, 2% Spandex
Outer Materials: 95% Nylon, 5% Rubber
For 2020, Showers Pass redesigned their popular Crosspoint waterproof knit gloves. They are perfect for cold, rainy days biking, running or hiking. They have 3 bonded layers and a waterproof-breathable Artex membrane, and a merino wool lining to help regulate your temperature.
I tested these gloves on a cold ride with intermittent drizzle for almost 50 miles. My hands stayed warm and dry with the silicone printed palm providing a secure grip on the handlebars. Note that the gloves are not touchscreen compatible and must be removed to use a smartphone or cycling computer.
These gloves are unisex and fit true to size. Consult the Showers Pass sizing chart before ordering.
Colors: 12 colors (iron-on); 8 colors (stick-on)
Strip Sizes: 4 each of 4”x1”, 2”x0.75”, 4”x0.5” (iron-on); 4 of the 4”x1”, 2 each of 4”x0.75” and 8”x0.5”
Material: 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material
Durability: Machine washable up to 50 washes (iron-on); Waterproof and removable if needed (stick-on)
Visibility: Up to 500’ away
Walking, running or cycling in cooler weather can often mean low light conditions. Being seen is imperative and Brilliant has developed two products that do just that. One is an iron-on reflective strip and the other is stick-on, but both provide the same end result, visibility.
The Brilliant Reflective strips come in a variety of colors to blend into the equipment or apparel. Once a light hits the reflective strip, drivers will immediately see movement and take precautions.
I used the stick-on version on a hitch rack that had no reflective elements facing back or to the side. It was simple to apply, just cleaned the area, peeled off the strip and adhered it to the rack. The stick-on strips are waterproof so the elements wont effect the durability.
These strips are a perfect add on to bikes, accessories, helmets, running gear, backpacks, footwear, dog leashes and hundreds more applications. Basically anything you need to have reflective in low light.
Bar Size: Fits 22.2mm ONLY
Bar Style: Flat bars ONLY
Materials: Composite nylon with brass alloy dome
Cooler weather means hitting the trails, but those trails are more crowded than ever. Spurcycle’s Compact Bell is a smaller version to their successful Original Bell launched on Kickstarter back in 2013. The new smaller version allows for better integration with many brake, shifter and dropper levers. It is intended for 22.2 diameter flat bars ONLY, like mountain bikes, commuters, and eBikes.
This new version might be small, but has a loud ring to warn approaching riders or walkers on the trail. The brass alloy dome gives it that distinctive loud sound that carries. Should the bell not perform as expected, Spurcycle has a Guarantee for Life promise. Just send it back for a complete factory overhaul.
Enjoy the trails this fall safely.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.