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Review: Pactimo’s winter cycling kit beats the cold, wind… and some rain

riding gravel bikes testing pactimo winter cycling kit
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I’ve been riding out the worst of our winter weather here in the damp, very cold central North Carolina with a stubborn refusal to join the ranks of trainer athletes indoors. Meaning many of my rides are slightly too extremely damp, quite cold, and sometimes windy.

Fortunately, the combination of Pactimo’s Vertex WX-D jacket with the Storm+ Thermal LS Jersey underneath worked great to keep my core warm (with a thin base layer, S/S or L/S depending on the day), and the Storm+ Thermal Bib Tights protected my stems.

(BTW, they’re all on sale right now)

It’s worth noting that, as we’re nearing Spring, all of these items are on sale. I list the MSRP below but click the price link to get them for about half off. Just know that they’re blowing through popular sizes and colors, so hustle.

Pactimo winter jersey & jacket review

pactimo winter cycling kit photos of thermal bibs and jacket with long sleeve jersey

The Vertex WX-D jacket is rated for 0º to 40º, so I should start with this: Pactimo is based in Colorado, where the air is dry and a sunny 40º day means residents are wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

Here on the east coast, it’s humid, and 40º is freakin’ cold. Like, this jacket is a good start, and then I add layers underneath, plus a neck gaiter. I also tested Pactimo’s waterproof Alpine gloves and Alpine Thermal Cap.

The cap wasn’t my favorite because the ear flaps didn’t stay down over my ears, which not only made them cold but also created a tiny bit of wind noise. I like the visor for low winter sun, but I also felt like it trapped air against my forehead, making it freeze…and it didn’t really keep my ears warm, so I’ll stick to beanies.

pactimo winter riding kit and alpine waterproof road bike gloves

I would recommend the gloves for spring riding on their own, and cooler days with a set of thin liners. They’re surprisingly able to handle a liner without turning into “stuffed sausage” feeling fingers. Layered, they were enough for mid-40ºs, but not for this:

riding bikes in the freezing rain

As happens, on the first day I was going to ride in the kit, I was racing incoming rain to get out the door. The rain won, and I set off in 34º rain. It was mainly just my hands that got too cold to take it, the kit did well enough considering. But I wouldn’t recommend riding in near-freezing rain for any reason.

winter cycling jacket with two pockets
I fit my phone in one pocket, and a GoPro on a GorillaPod tripod and neck gaiter in the other…and barely noticed any of it was there.

The jacket has secondary cuffs that help it seal up around the gloves and prevent wind from sneaking in. For something this warm, it’s plenty soft, flexible, and reasonably lightweight, too.

It also has two main pockets plus a small zippered pocket for cash, keys, etc. The pockets are deep enough, but because there are only two, they’re a bit wider than normal, so it’s not going to hold a phone as securely as a typical pocket.

pactimo vertex winter cycling jacket review

Side vents help you modulate temperature as things heat up. Reflective bits on all of the items tested (except the hat) add visibility in low light conditions.

pactimo waterproof winter cycling jacket and jersey

The jacket gets a small zipper garage at the top, the jersey does not. And sure enough, I nicked my neck with the zipper. Despite that, they’re fairly comfortable with them zipped all the way up…which isn’t always the case for jackets and jerseys with a raised collar. I still think offset zippers are ideal for preventing it from poking into my adam’s apple, but these aren’t the worst. Actually, the jacket’s collar/zip comfort is fine; the jersey is OK.

pactimo brushed fleece winter cycling jersey with DWR treatment

The Storm+ Thermal jersey gets a water-shedding DWR treatment…which I didn’t really get a chance to test under the jacket. I can say it’s warm, and comfortable, with a zoned construction that’s readily apparent when I held the jersey up to the light. Interestingly, the warmer fleeced front area lets more light through than the back and side panels, but it’s definitely a bit thicker.

It should be a great spring piece, too, without the outer layer hiding it. I love the striped graphics’ eye-catching, multi-colored pattern that should stand out on the road.

waterproof cycling jersey shown with rain soaking it

I also love the fit of everything, in equal proportion to their performance. At 6’2″ but lean, I usually order XL to get the height and sleeve length, but sometimes that means things are a bit baggy up top. Fortunately, these Pactimo pieces fit exactly as they should for a road kit…snug, but also comfortable in the riding position. And they layered perfectly.

winter cycling kit shown with water on it

Throw enough water at any waterproof fabric and it’ll eventually appear to soak in. Fortunately for the jacket, it’s simply overpowering the exterior’s ability to bead it off…but there’s a middle membrane later that kept that from getting through.

The Storm+ Thermal Bib Tight had legs long enough to fit most riders 6’2″ and under. If I were any taller, the gap between hem and shoe top would be a bit much. Considering most winter shoes are high-tops, or that shoe covers run high, these were fine. And the bib straps’ length was perfect…kept things in place, but easy enough to pull down for roadside pitstops.

The chamois on these is an Elastic Interface Road Performance Force 8+ hour chamois…which is a mouthful, and a darn good chamois. It remained very comfortable. It also remained dry, thanks to zoned waterproof laminate fabric in the “wet out” areas that would get sprayed or pelted with rain.

The rest (all of it, actually) gets DWR coating, which tried its best in my freezing rain ride. For “normal” riding with a bit of drizzle, they’d be fine. They remained warm enough even in the rain, which surprised me since they’re not that thick, but just the right amount of warmth for East coast days down to 40º-ish.

pactimo vertex winter jacket and storm plus winter long sleeve jersey and bib tights

The Vertex WX-D jacket normally retails for $227 (check sale price) and comes in six colors. The Storm+ Thermal jersey runs $167 (check sale price) and comes in three colors with an.

The thermal bib tights typically run for $187 (check sale price), and they have bib knickers with 3/4 length legs for milder days when you still want some protection. Overall, these are now in my regular rotation thanks to the powerful combination of great fit, great performance, and great looks.


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2 years ago

great review. Very useful. Thanks

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