By Brandon Bilyeu
Apex Winter Jacket:
Apex Deep Winter Tights:
Apex Winter Jacket: $390
Apex Deep Winter Tights: $340
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail
Apex Winter Jacket: Black, Navy, Mulberry
Apex Deep Winter Tights: Black, Navy
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 20+ hours
Apex Winter Jacket: XS-XL
Apex Deep Winter Tights: XS-XL
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. Using MAAP’s online size guide I selected size medium for both jacket/tights and found the fit true to size.
MAAP – Designed in Australia, Made in Europe
MAAP was born in Melbourne in 2014 with the goal of producing high performance, high quality, and fashionable cycling kit. The products are designed in house, but MAAP smartly went to Europe to source Italian and Swiss performance fabrics, and then have the kit manufactured in Europe’s renowned clothing factories. MAAP’s main commerce conduit is online with warehouses worldwide to ensure quick and cheap shipping, but their wares are also stocked at select retail stores around the world (list here).
To make online shopping as painless as possible, MAAP has free shipping on orders over $100 USD and free returns. They also have a crash replacement policy that gives a 40% discount on replacement kit. Custom kit is also a possibility.
The MAAP product portfolio is extensive without having an overwhelming number of options like bigger brands, and they offer both men and women’s kit. The range of clothing covers everything from hot summer days to cold and wet winter slog fests. Known for being hot, Australia also has mountains and snow in the winter so the MAAP team had plenty of opportunity to test and refine all their kit offerings.
Apex Winter Jacket – Windproof, Waterproof, and Insulated for those Epic Rides
- Insulated lining holds in the heat very well
- Highly effective three-layer wind and waterproof membrane
- Decent breathability for a ‘heavy’ jacket
- Three rear pockets plus zippered chest pocket
- Excellent stretchy fit with no baggy material to flap in the wind
- Men and women versions available
- No high visibility colors available
The MAAP Apex Winter Jacket is a great companion for cold and wet rides. The jacket combines a three-layer waterproof shell with an insulated waffle fleece liner to keep the elements out and warmth in. MAAP rates the jacket for 23 to 50F (-5 to 10C) and I was perfectly comfortable with just a base layer underneath at the bottom end of that range but found the jacket to be too warm for me (I run hot) once above 40F (5C). Considering the weight of this jacket I feel the breathability is decent, but don’t expect to stay dry inside if doing hard interval work. Dumping heat from the core is easy with the full front zipper, but snug wrist openings don’t allow any air movement over the arms.
I was ‘lucky’ enough to carry out lots of testing in the rain and the three-layer system kept all the water out. The outer surface of the jacket is coated with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that just refused to wet-out and kill breathability. Inside, the seams are taped for full waterproofness and I never detected any leaks. The seam tape is layered over the waffle liner and has shown no signs of coming loose. The waffle layer feels great against bare skin, but the tape does not so I would recommend a long sleeve base layer under the jacket at a minimum.
The construction of the jacket feels like what the outdoors industry calls a ‘softshell’ and the cut is more in line with a jersey as it is semi-snug fitting and does not have an extended tail for backside coverage (fenders recommended on the wet days). This is not a jacket you can stuff in a jersey pocket. There is plenty of stretch built-in to accommodate different body shapes and the size charts were spot on for me. On the bike the jacket is pliable enough to not feel restrictive and does not let in the slightest bit of wind. A tall and soft neck collar help keep the elements out and works great combined with a neck gaiter. Three rear pockets (with drain holes) and a front chest zippered pocket provide plenty of storage options.
I do have to criticize the dark only color options for a winter jacket when high-visibility colors would be more appropriate, though this is easily mitigated by the active solution of front and rear lights. Ironically, the waffle liner inside the jacket is where the bright colors are located. Thankfully there are reflective highlights added to the side of the rear pockets.
Bottom Line – A great choice for rides that start and stay cold/wet throughout. You will stay dry and warm, your bike will get dirty, it will be awesome.
Apex Deep Winter Tights
- Wide, seamless bib straps
- Comfortable chamois
- DWR treated for water resistance
- Front panels are windproof
- Insulated rear panels
- Men and women versions available
- Windproof material has less stretch, fit suffers slightly
The MAAP Apex Deep Winter Tights use the tried and true combination of windproof fabric up front and breathable, insulated fabric at the rear to hold in heat while also allowing thermoregulation. An added DWR treatment helps keep the water at bay, but due to the constant moving/stretching of the tights the DWR is not as effective as on the more stationary jacket. MAAP rates the tights for 28 to 54F (-2 to 12C) and my experience falls in line with these numbers. The tights are not heavily insulated and are adequate down to just below freezing. At the other end of the spectrum they breathe well enough that I was comfortable a bit higher than MAAP’s range, but beyond that sweating became an issue.
At the core of the tight is a comfortable chamois that is well placed. MAAP’s proprietary chamois features small holes for increased airflow, dual density padding, and a microfiber cover. I would describe the padding as relatively thick and low density, so there is a sensation of sinking into the chamois for all-around support. I usually prefer thin and dense but was pleasantly surprised at the level of comfort from the MAAP chamois. Several rides of 4+ hours saw no discomfort.
Holding everything in place are two wide and seamless bib straps that distribute pressure evenly on the shoulders. A great design choice was using mesh instead of insulated fabric on the rear yoke. I stay away from insulated back panels on winter tights as they always trap too much heat and become a sweaty mess. At the other end the ankle openings are simple elastic cuffs with minimal grippers that I found held their shape well and stayed in place without issue.
One drawback of any cycling short made with windproof material is that the windproof materials inherently have less stretch than standard lycra. Excessive stretching would ‘open’ the fabric and that is decidedly not windproof. With limited stretch the design and cut of the tights is critical for a good fit. MAAP did a great job with the cut of these tights as the legs fit snuggly and there is only a slight looseness in the crotch area. With the limited stretch the fit will vary person to person, but this is where MAAP’s free shipping and free returns will be helpful in finding the perfect fit.
Bottom Line – These tights offer good protection from the elements and a comfortable chamois for long base miles in winter weather. If there is any doubt where you fall in the size chart try on a couple sizes to find the best fit.