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Clothesline review: Winter weather wonder wears

Years of long base miles here in chilly Colorado and downright frigid Vermont have instilled in me a love for winter riding. I adore those long days in the saddle when everything is covered in quiet snow. The mood is calm, the pace pleasant, and the miles just tick away.

Unlike the oppressive heat of summer, pleasant winter riding is simply a matter of dressing correctly. There is absolutely nothing you can wear (or not wear) to make 95˚F comfortable. 25˚-50˚F, on the other hand, is easy. The three items below are some of my personal favorites when the mercury starts to drop.

Mavic Cyclone

MSRP: $190

White material is windproof, black is a very breathable thermal fabric. Photo: Nick Legan © VeloNews.com

This jacket is, bar none, the most versatile piece of fall/winter/spring clothing I use. In terms of temperature spread, I’m likely to pick it up anywhere from 30˚ to 55˚, and apply various base layers accordingly. I wear it more than anything else this time of year. If we rated products here, it would get a 10/10.

It doesn’t have a million fancy little features, just a few important ones. A wind-resistant (but not –proof, though Mavic says it is) front and shoulders goes a long way, while Mavic’s Ride Wick Warm fabric is placed on the back and does exactly as its name implies.

The Cyclone isn’t a thick jacket, though it is too hefty to stash in a pocket easily. That’s why it’s so versatile, though. Thick jackets tend to be too warm for me as soon as temperatures get out of the teens, unless I wear nothing underneath them. Even then, they never breathe as well as you’d like.

Windproof where it needs to be, and breathable everywhere else. Photo: Nick Legan © VeloNews.com

I much prefer to wear a nice base layer, a jersey, and perhaps some arm warmers, under a lighter jacket. The Cyclone has found the thermal sweet spot, keeping wind and cold out while breathing amazingly well.

Beyond finding that sweet spot, the Cyclone gets major points for a superlative fit. Flexible fabric is used in all the right places, all but eliminating flapping and bunching (no terrible mono-man-boob effect). The result is a jacket that fits more like a jersey.

The low tail and well-placed, quite large pockets are much appreciated as well. The cuffs keep drafts from squeezing their way up the sleeves, and are flexible enough to be pulled up to your elbows on a warm climb. The asymmetrical zipper seems gimmicky, but really is more comfortable when the jacket is zipped all the way up.

The scoop: Perfect balance between wind resistance and breathability, light weight, excellent asymmetrical zipper, superb jersey-like fit.

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