If you’re not racing in team kit, it’s sometimes a lot easier to dress appropriately for the conditions of cyclocross (unless you have a lot of team kit options). My new favorite non-Bikerumor apparel is the Castelli CX 2.0 Speedsuit, a one-piece thermal skinsuit designed specifically for cyclocross. Paired with their Nano Flex knee warmers, it proved the perfect combo for cold to really cold days.
Designed to fit snug, the XL fit my muscular 6’2″ frame well, and I suspect it would fit skinnier cyclists’ bodies equally snug. As a bonus, it’s not so overly shaped for the cycling position that it pulls weird when standing. Because in ‘cross, you will get off your bike and need to run, shoulder, fall, tumble, and scramble, too. The
The upper half uses a thermal microfleece that’s good for mildly cold temps. Add a base layer as needed. In this pic, I’m wearing a thin sleeveless Polartec base tee and you see it through the Castelli garment. So, it’s not a too-thick fleece that’ll cause you to overheat; rather, one that you can easily regulate with sub layers.
Or unzipping it. Despite the zipper pull being of normal smallness, it’s easy enough to grab even at race frenzy.
Thick mesh panels under the arms help vent heat, but never felt like cold spots.
One of the best design features is the flapped opening, which allows the top half to provide the support normally found in good bib shorts, but makes it easy to do this:
Because we all have to do this. And usually again right before the start.
Two rear jersey pockets are sized for water bottles, which is great for taking one with you on warmup/practice laps, then shedding it at the start line. No need for a bottle cage on your bike, which can just get in the way or collect mud.
Sleeve length is good, shown better on my left wrist in the background.
The bottom half of the kit doesn’t have the thermal fleece interior, but it’s a thicker material than on summer-weight shorts. I expected this to be the weak spot, freezing my sensitive bits, but they surprised me by keeping everything appropriately warm. For me, the sweet spot on this kit is somewhere between 45º and 60º on it’s own, and lower with base layers and accessories.
Wide leg bands have good gripper material on the inside, which works in conjunction with the NanoFlex knee warmers really well…
The knee warmer’s length is shown best in the top photos, and that’s one of their greatest features. Where some sit too low on the thigh and easily slip out from under my shorts’ legs, these stayed put thanks to extra height and good silicone gripper bands on the inside and outside of their upper cuff.
There’s ample length below the knee, too, providing good shin coverage. Castelli recently updated these with a more flexible fabric on the back to improve mobility, but the fronts retain their water-resistant, warmer and thicker material. I was even surprised by the sizing…these are XL, which looked huge when they arrived. I was worried they’d be so loose they’d simply flop off as soon as I started pedaling, but they fit really well without being so tight as to create a stuffed sausage link aesthetic. These are my new favorites by far. Matching arm warmers are available, too, but I haven’t tested those.
Retail for the Castelli CX 2.0 Speedsuit is $219.99, and the Nano Flex knee warmers are $49.99.