A few weeks ago we interviewed PEdALED founder Hideto Suzuki, who created the brand in Japan and has all of his garments produced in Italy. While they promised us a few new items from their Spring 2018 collection once launched, I was very interested in some of their winter and inclement weather kit that seemed perfect for this on-and-off snow/freezing rain/windy weather we’ve been having on the east coast.
In particular, their Shawa jersey and arm warmers promised wind- and water-proof protection without bulk, and the 3/4 bibshorts offered warmth with extra knee coverage. After a few weeks of testing in the right (or wrong, depending on your tolerance for cold and wet) conditions, here’s why I’d recommend them…
To be honest, finding a lightweight waterproof kit has been high on my list for some time. I’m still searching for the perfect 3/4 bibshorts that fit that bill, but these come close by offering between-seasons appropriate warmth and soft, flexible wind-blocking knee panels.
At 6’2″ and 187lbs before dressing, I usually order XL in anything tight, and that worked out just right for this kit. The jersey’s front is a bit short when standing, but the fit and length is mostly dialed when on the bike.
The Shawa jersey and arm warmers make a great pair. Both are wind- and waterproof…
…making water roll off as on a duck’s back.
Inside is a textured fabric to add a small amount of loft, which adds warmth and gives body vapor somewhere to go. More on breathability in a minute. The other bonus is it’s softer than the outer material, creating a dual layer fabric that’s comfy on the inside and impenetrable from the outside.
There’s also a fifth pocket on the inside to keep phones dry when riding in the rain.
Earlier, I said the jersey’s fit was “mostly dialed”. One small complaint is that the pockets sit high, making them a little hard to reach into while riding. If there jersey were just a bit longer, at least in the back, they could keep the depth and bring them down a bit while also providing just a bit more coverage. Even in XL, the torso is a bit short.
The upside is the pockets are deep, burying an iPhone 6+ with case and almost hiding a Silca Pocket Impero mini-pump. A fourth zipper pocket hides behind the right-side pocket. In the center pocket, which has reflective elements, is their water- and wind-repellent Vesper packable jacket (<100g, $122), which packs down very small.
In the riding position it’s not as noticeable, but the material is a bit more rigid than traditional soft shell or lightweight jerseys. On the arm warmers, it’s a non-issue. With the jersey, you may notice it when standing or raising your arms above your head to signal victory (or sip from a bottle), but that’s it. Otherwise, it fits and feels like a regular jersey yet offers the protection of a rain jacket.
A look at their stock photos for the 3/4 bib tights would be misleading as to their length. Their website might make you think they’d nearly run to the top of the sock, but the reality for a 6’2″ rider is that they land just under the knee. Some other brands I’ve tried that stop here ended up pulling on the skin funny since they’re resting in a high-movement location. These, fortunately, sit just below where the skin is highly mobile. In fact, I found the length to be perfect for protecting the knees without being too hot.
Plus, the front has a wind-blocking panel to keep the knees a little warmer than the thighs, which worked out perfectly once I was warmed up. My water splash test on the knee panels wasn’t as dramatic, but they did bounce most of it off. The rest of the material was not (nor claims to be) waterproof in any way. But it’s appropriately warm for cold to shoulder season riding.
The bacteriostatic pad comes from Elastic Interface, one of the world’s largest pad suppliers, and was mostly comfortable in the riding position. I noticed that it did favor sitting further back on the saddle to take full advantage of the thicker sit bone sections. While the split colorway looks neat, that center seam made it want to fold over rather than contour to my body. Mostly, that just meant it wasn’t as comfortable to stand around in, but sometimes made itself known when riding up on the saddle’s nose. Not a deal breaker – I still really like these bibs.
A nice accessory to complement the colors of their garments are cycling socks with reflective stripes. Every extra bit of visibility enhancement is much welcome, and these will become a bright moving object in darker environments. They’re also comfortable, and a nice mid-height design. Available in black, blue and red for $23, also available in a single-stripe design.
The Shawa jersey retails for $210, and the 3/4 Bibshorts for $185. As with any waterproof article of clothing, there’s a tradeoff in breathability, and these did capture more sweat than a traditional windproof or standard jersey would. That said, even on days reaching the upper recommended temps for such a piece, I wasn’t drenched in sweat underneath…just a mildly damp section in the center back of a base layer. But, the important part is that it didn’t result in clammy, cold or weird feelings while riding. In fact, I didn’t really notice until I was removing the layers back at home.
As a single layer system, the Shawa jersey and arm warmers do a great job of reducing the number of things you need to wear in cold or wet conditions. Add a base layer if it’s really chilly and you can probably leave the jacket or vest at home. The bibshorts pair well with it even if not waterproof. Grippers and wide bands at all the openings kept everything in place…the warmers never slipped down and the legs never rode up. Materials and finish are all top notch. Add it all up and you have a kit that’s special, and worth a look if you ride in inclement conditions year round.