Specialized UK have sent me a bulging box full of no-excuses. As one of the world’s leading bicycle and accessory manufacturers Specialized, I am sure, require little introduction – the “Innovate or die” commandment on their bikes was one of the first things that really stuck in my mind about any bike brand when I first started riding a little more seriously in the 90’s. Specialized have been doing their thing since 1974 – the Mike Sinyard and the founding of the Specialized Bicycle Component, Inc. story is quite interesting actually, so I urge you to go look it up.
If you’ve read anything I have written before you will be familiar with my ‘outside or don’t bother’ mantra, so it is important to me that I have a decent and well stocked winter wardrobe of cycling apparel. Most of the stuff I own has been in circulation for many years. My favourite old team softshell will make it’s annual appearance as the temperature drops, it’s retro but it’s practical, fits, it’s comfortable and I really like it.
The bundle from Specialized updates my wardrobe quite considerably; fit for a 2016/17 Autumn/Winter of riding. There will be more detail in the apparel reviews, but here’s a quick overview of what is in the box:
Deflect™ REFLECT HYBRID JACKET – GBP 300.00
This jacket is something quite special, I feel. At £300 it would require some considerable pacing up and down and fretting about the money before I would part with my hard earned, but on paper the investment looks like it will be a good one.
Specialized say “Making a jacket that does one thing well is pretty easy. Making a jacket that does one thing perfectly is pretty hard. And making a jacket that does everything exceptionally is next to impossible. Well, you could say that we specialize in the impossible, because our new Deflect™ Reflect Hybrid Jacket flawlessly performs a bevy of duties, from protection to visibility.” The jacket is made from the Specialized wind and water-resistant Deflect™ material, which is said to be extremely lightweight and breathable.
There’s a long list of innovative and interesting details in this jacket, not to mention the highly reflective Deflect™ (emphasis on the ‘highly reflective’) material. The reflective material features a Schoeller® fabric with 3M® reflective technology. This fabric takes millions of microscopic glass beads and permanently seals them to the fabric structure; apparently this will not wash out over time. It’s a jacket cut for winter training, but comes with some very versatile detailing and adjustability to improve your experience.
More in the Review later.
Element SL Pro jacket – GBP 180.00
The Element SL Pro is a form fitting, windproof, water-repellent jacket. It is made of Event 310, a 3 layer fabric. This marries a compact, elastic and abrasion resistant polyester outer shell with a water-repellent, soft brushed hydrophilic inner layer, with a breathable water and windproof membrane in-between. The jacket has two open back pockets with coating to protect your stuff from water, and mud – this kind of looks like donkey jacket patches, but to say that does the jacket a bit of a disservice. There’s an extra security pocket with a zip, and some side openings with hidden zips for extra ventilation. The jacket comes in yellow, black/orange or red.
Deflect SL Pro rain jacket – GBP 180.00
The Deflect SL Pro rain jacket is made from Event 70, which is a 3-layer fabric: the outer shell in polyamide with an open structure and a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) treatment, a middle PTFE membrane which is highly breathable, elastic and waterproof and a light inner hydrophilic lining. I’ve seen this word ‘hydrophilic’ a lot in the context of autumn/winter apparel and yet I still don’t quite understand the meaning in relation to clothing – this is something I will investigate for the review.
The jacket is highly reflective, carrying the DEFLECT moniker, and also has a full-length waterproof zipper with inner flap for extra protection from rain and wind. There is a smart velcro closure on the neck, and a back zipped pocket that has an inner mesh bag which the jacket can fold into.
SL ELITE WR BIB SHORT – GBP 100
A Bib short cut with an anatomic shape, made of Lycra Sport Power 210 and waterproof Platino 230 WR fabric on the front and back. Other details include flat lock stitching which prevents friction while riding and the new Specialize Body Geometry SL Elite Padding.
RBX EXPERT WINTER BIB SHORT – GBP 60.00
The Specialized RBX Expert Winter Bib Shorts are made for fast winter training rides or racing and made from Lombardia fleece. Easy to pair up with leg warmers or under a pair of unpadded bib tights – still available from some brands.
Therminal SL Pro bib tight – GBP 150.00
A bib tight with Specialized Body Geometry SL Pro padding. The tights are made of Thermoroubaix fabric and treated with Teflon for water repellence and breathability and they have reflective ankle zips for easy on and off.
Each of these jackets, shorts and tights will have their own review in due course once I’ve had a chance to thoroughly test them. The box also contains Deflect Gloves Neon Yellow, £35; Element 1.5 Gloves, £40; Element 2.0 Gloves,£45 and finally Deflect H2O, £60. The gloves will be subject to their own review later on.
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