Cool Clothing: NALINI Winter Gear
It’s 3:30 in the afternoon, it’s been raining since yesterday, and it’s almost dark outside. Not exactly ideal riding conditions, but when you live north of California, these are classic winter conditions for a lot of us. Good thing we’ve got winter gear like Nalini’s Nostromo jacket, Bucintoro bib tights, Marinaio PowerDry jersey, and Raz gloves – to eliminate the “it’s too cold outside” excuse.
Most of you will know the Nalini name as a long time producer of custom kit to the pro teams – Fassa Bortolo, Gerolsteiner, FDJeux, Alessio and Phonak are just a few of the teams wearing the Italian brand.
The Nalini brand is produced by the parent company – MOA Sport in Italy, who’ve been making technical clothing for cycling and other outdoor sports for over 30 years.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO…
The big news with Nalini’s 2005 line of winter clothing, is the fabric called Polartec PowerShield.
This stuff is made by textile specialists Malden Mills, who recently awarded Nalini their APEX Award for outstanding design using the fabric. So this may smell like a marketing gimmick, but the truth is the fabric performs.
The Nostromo winter jacket wins hands down for style points, and seriously performs in keeping you warm and dry. The Polartec Powershield fabric stretches four ways – even at the seams.
I’ve been using the gear in the cool northwest, where our Fall has seen rain, wind, and temps in high single digits Celsius (that’s the mid to low 40s F), and I’ve not shivered once.
About 15 years ago I won a really cool wool winter jacket in a race. It was green, red, and yellow – and had some really cool looking quilted nylon on the front. This jacket was pretty warm – for old technology – and I’d wear it all winter long. Problem was, I was usually chilled by the end of every ride, and it sucked at repelling our west coast winter rain. I still have it – but it’s been relegated to the Hallowe’en Tickle Trunk. And we have only new wonder fabrics like Polartec Powershield to blame – or to thank.
Polartec Powershield is basically a dual purpose fabric – like the catalogue says, it’s got a “tightly woven nylon face to block wind and repel rain, and polyester velour backtraps air and provides high warmth.” Now, I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but having too much natural insulation is not one of them, so this kind of promise is music to my perpetually cold ears.
NOSTROMO WINTER JACKET
This is one warm, soft-shell jacket that is really lightweight. The outside blocks wind, rain and other winter nastiness, while the inside is comfy and cozy, so you can stay out riding till the turkey is served.
Topping the list of cool features on this jacket is its form-fitting style. The zipper is placed off-center and runs up the side. This is great for full wind-blockage – no annoying throat/ neck drafts here. It’s sort of a Ninja meets navy Seal meets Star Trek look. The zipper itself is a little on the small side, not easy to do with gloved hands – something I’d love to see Nalini change across their line.
Sizing is a bit unconventional in that I have a 36-38 inch chest and typically fit medium, but here I’m wearing the large jacket, which fits me great – so make sure you try it on.
I really liked the sleeves – nice and long to cover the wrists. Even when stretched to the drops I had no exposed skin and felt no drafts.
The reflective stripes across the back are probably more form than function, but they were the first thing Mrs. Pez commented on – “ooh I like the back” she said.
The two back pockets zip from the side, and could be more functional if they were a little bigger and opened from the top, sans zipper.
Suggested Retail: $289.99
BUCINTORO WINTER BIBS
They’re not named after an obscure type of pasta, in fact we’re not sure what the name means, but these full-on winter tights are a good call for winter riding in the northern part of the northern hemisphere.
They’re also made from the Polartec Powershield fabric, which is designed to pull moisture away from your body and allow some breathability, so you stay dryer and warmer. They feature a small zippered pocket in back to store your keys, and also zip at the ankles.
They’re lined from top to bottom, and have wide suspenders and a high back to aid in the warmth department.
These tights come with Nalini’s best chamois – so you know they mean business. It’s called the HF Protech Professional Road Pad, which is made with DuPont’s CoolMax fabric – which most of us have come to appreciate over the years. It’s dual density foam is pretty comfortable, but give ‘em a wash before use so they soften up.
Suggested Retail: $249.99
MARINAIO LONG SLEEVE JERSEY
Next up, the long sleeved winter jersey of another non-translatable name, the Marinaio can be used as a base layer, or as warmth layer over a base. I preferred putting it on over top of a tight dry-fit style base.
The three pockets are pretty deep, and the middle one has a Velcro closure which was a nice touch.
The jersey uses well-placed mesh to vent where it’s needed most – under the arms and in back of the shoulders, so instead of building up sweat, the vents exhaust the heat so you stay dryer… and warmer.
RAZ WINTER GLOVES
The RAZ Winter gloves are much lighter than you’d expect from a glove this warm. They’re also made from Polartec Powershield, but also use a fabric called 2Mantotex that allows for stretching while still blocking wind and rain.
The wrist closure is long, to cover any gaps let by too short jerseys or jackets, and closes with Velcro, so it fits easily over top of said jersey. The palm and finder tips have a rubber-like honeycomb pad sewn in, to you’ll stay stuck to your bars and levers when you need to.
Again I’ll caution everyone to try ‘em before you buy ‘em as hands vary more in size than any other body part, and I’ve yet to see two different brands of gloves that fit the same. The mediums I tested had fingers a good half inch longer than me, which makes ‘em good for a thin glove liner when it gets really cold.
Suggested Retail: $129.99
What Did We Learn Today?
Technology is our friend, and people who know how to use it to make our lives better should be our best friends. The fabrics and styling from Nalini are top-drawer. Functionality is also great – this gear keeps you warm and dry just like they say, and like you’d expect. I’d prefer bigger zippers that are easier to use with gloved hands, and don’t appear so fragile.
Overall, Nalini has done an impressive job of turning some great technology into clothing that really performs and looks great. This gear is definitely worth a look.
Where To Get It
Check out the full line of Nalini gear online at:
Interested dealers should contact the distributor:
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