Winter Gear Test: Biemme, Northwave, Biotex
Spring is here, in spirit if not in weather – which means it’s been raining for most of the past 10 days, as it often does in the Pacific Northwest. At least I’m not looking out at snow drifts and ice – ! There are even a few breaks in the gloom, long enough to sneak out for an hour or two and get the legs circulating – heart pumping – yeah it’s not so bad. As long as you dress right!
One thing that is perfect, is the climate to road test some winter riding gear from the folks at Trialtir-USA, the importers of Italian cycling finery including Northwave, Biemme, and Biotex.
1. Northwave Grizzly Winter Mtb Shoes
Okay – I know a lot of you are wondering what these mtb shoes are doing on this road site, well, Mr. Slippy, if you’re living in any place that has “real” winter conditions (ie: anyplace besides California, Arizona, other southern States) then you’re gonna be riding in cold weather. That means every time you put your foot down, you’ll be in serious danger of doing the cartoon dance as you lose your balance just before you crumble in a heap around your bike, causing much laughter amongst your riding partners.
The Grizzly Mtb shoes eliminate any worry of smooth-sole-induced theatrics because they’ve got a great tread that will give you confidence on even the slipperiest of slopes. It’s winter, so fit your mtb pedals onto the beast and sabve your road pedals for the warmer weather and get riding.
Next great thing is the shoes are pretty much water proof – so no need for goofy-booties. They feature a neo-preme ankle sock and are lined inside, so I was told you don’t even need to wear heavy socks – just buy ’em your regular size and wear thin socks.
They lace up and then use a zippered flap to keep the winter crap away from your tootsies. A nicely appointed shoe, that I must say has lived up to all claims of dryness during my own tests. Being Italian 100%, the shoes are built on a slightly narrower platform than Shimano or Nikes, but if the shoe fits…
2. Biemme Atlantic Jacket with Zippered Sleeves
As we’ve started to come out of the deep winter chills, the mixed bag of Spring weather becomes a new challenge to training, so you’ll need and want some flexibility in the clothes you wear. The Atlantic jacket from Biemme fit the bill nicely. The front is made of their Windstopper N2S (next to skin) fabric to keep out the wind and rain, while allowing lots of air circulation, and the back is fully breathable but warm. The zippered pockets at the back and on the chest give you lots of space to keep stuff stowed and dry.
Zip off, eh! Perhaps the coolest feature are the removeable sleeves – very handy when the sun finally does appear. I’ve worn this jacket on several rides now, and it’s a nice item – it let’s me move, and stay warm but not hot. And the sleeves are long enough to keep my wrists covered from the hooks to the drops…
3. Biemme Tights
The Chrome tights (not shown) did exactly what they’re supposed to – keep me warm with a minimum of extra material. I wore these on the coldest day I rode this winter – about 40 degrees (5 celsius), and I felt great. They’ve got a handy zipper at the ankles, and fit snugly over my shorts – no bunching no scrunching.
4. Biotex Technotrans – Zippered Longsleeve Mock Turtle neck
This longsleeve undershirt is made for really cold conditions, but if you’re like me, and have to rely on extra layers of fabric to keep you warm, then you’ll own at least two of these anyway. I won’t go into the technical white-paper on how the material works, the Trialtir website does a way better job than I could ever do, so suffice to say it works – period.
5. Futura Indoor Shoes
Another specialized show from Northwave is their Futura Indoor shoes, developed specifically for spinning and riding the trainer. They’ got a sole that flexes upwards when you walk – so you can in fact walk, but won’t flex down when you’re pedalling. A stylish addition to any spin class.
Check out the Trialtir USA website for full details on all these products, plus very thorough tech details on materials, construction – you name it.
Photography courtesy of Fotografica Studios