Snow and icy winds slow me down on a bike. But I don’t put my wheels away in the fall. Instead, living in a northerly climate I try to embrace winter riding in all its ups and downs.
This year, I got serious about my apparel. Insulated bike shoes, thicker gloves, and headwear were a first step. A sleek one-piece suit from Castelli came next.
The company’s SanRemo ThermoSuit is about as serious as it sounds. It costs more than $300 msrp, though online I found the price tag hovers a bit below that mark.
New for this winter, the suit is made for the most dedicated cold-weather road riders. It melds a windproof jacket with bike tights equipped with a seat pad.
Castelli’s goal was clothing that “gives you the feeling of your summer-weight” biking apparel while protecting from the elements.
This is accomplished with a close-fitting, non-restrictive suit. There are no bib straps over the shoulders — the tights are stitched onto the jacket top.
Silicone grips and cuff zippers let you seal the ankle sleeve over a shoe. Gore Windstopper fabric on the jacket front blocks cold air from seeping through.
But the back of the suit has a non-windproof fabric. Lighter weight and more breathable, the back fabric works to vent excess body heat as you ride.
A big-tooth zipper runs down the front; it’s easy to pull on and off. There are pockets on back for stashing gear. Reflective patches add some visibility with car headlights at night.
Castelli is an Italian brand. Winters in Italy are not what they are in much of North America. That said, this suit was made for rides around freezing temps, not 15 degrees and in sideways-blowing snow.
In my use, I could ride comfortably in the SanRemo suit alone to temps in the 30s. I’d wear a thin merino wool shirt under it at that temp.
Below freezing, you need layers over the suit to stay warm. Also, it’s water-resistant but not a rain suit — you’ll be wet in sleet without a shell jacket over the top.
On the coldest days, down to about 10 degrees F, I wear the suit as a base layer under shell pants and a jacket. It provides an easy, comfortable foundation for those dank winter days when I still want to ride.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.GearJunkie.com.