There is nothing like a training ride with a good buddy, autumnal weather and long open roads. With this in mind we took the new Champion System Cobra9 kit out and tested the mettle of the fleece winter range. We managed to get through 400km’s on the weekend with only a few mechanicals (and some fatigued legs). Some of the photographs below highlight why it is I am so passionate about riding. If your interested in the performance of some of the gear we have available on the website, I have placed some brief reviews below. We are in the process of organising product images currently.
I don’t use long sleeve jersey’s often, usually preferring the combination of arm warmers and short sleeves. However, these tops have changed my mind. The unusual fleece fabric of the long sleeve winter jersey’s are fantastic. Lightweight, breathable and with good stretch around your curves. There is plenty of back pocket space to handle you multitude of spares and mars bars. Like most long sleeve tops, there is some sweat retention in the stomach and chest area when you exert yourself on the climbs, but the fabric absorbs this and leaves you feeling comfortably dry. As such, you don’t get that pneumonia inducing freeze when the road drops away. Other fleece tops I have used tend to wick the water against your skin which makes for a coma inducing hypothermic experience when you get back on the bike after your latte. Not here.
The fleece bibs provide ample insulation and the usual comfortable Champion System chamois. Anyone who reads this site regularly would also know their safety credentials after I crashed in them recently. They are suitably warm and appropriate when the temps drops below 10-15 degrees. Again there is little issue with sweat retention. I can see myself wearing these often in summer unless the temps really skyrocket.
The big winner overall was the winter vest. I also managed to crash whilst wearing this part of my kit and am still unable to find a single torn fibre. The double zip option is cracking once you understand how to use it. Simply zipping the bottom zip up provides excellent ventilation to your sweaty stomach and stops the flapping effect normally associated with the fully unzipped vest. A huge zipper behind gives you easy access to your pockets. The biggest benefit I found with the vest was the excellent chest wind proofing (where you need it) without leaving you over heated all over. I am going to be abusing this component of my kit till spring really kicks in.
Overall, we were very satisfied with the gear. By the looks of the weather forecast, I think most of the kit will be pulled out again for the Launceston to New Norfolk race next week. Brrr…