Review: MAAP cold weather cycling kit
Australian-based cycling apparel offers a simple, elegant style, with a remarkably comfortable and true-to-size fit.
accurate, true-to-size fit;
thoughtful design features;
simple, understated appearance;
some zippers can be hard to grab;
jersey rear pockets are challengingly tall;
long-term durability of some pieces needs improvement
Premium cold weather cycling kit that offers excellent fit, understated style, and many thoughtful features.
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Australia’s MAAP offers an uncluttered, elegant kit with thoughtful details, and comfort afforded for hours of riding in cold temperatures. While I’m familiar with MAAP kit for warmer weather, I took notice when other men and women in my social circles showed up for rides in MAAP winter kit.
One rider even commented that “the summer kit was so comfortable — even if a spendy splurge — why not get the cold weather kit?” I mostly agree about the MAAP winter kit. It’s well designed, thoughtfully constructed, comfortable, and not inexpensive. My only concerns are the durability of just a few of the items.
Also read: MAAP Training and Pro EVO cycling kits
Here are my thoughts on the bib tights, base layer, winter jacket, and accessories.
MAAP Apex Deep Winter bib tights
The MAAP Apex Deep Winter bib tights ($340) are effective for sub-freezing conditions. These bibs kept me warm even in mid-20F degree conditions. The fit is true to size (for both men’s and women’s medium) and does not have a compressive feel. But, because of the wind-blocking front layer, there is not a lot of stretch to the legs. The back of the leg panels are constructed with a material that offers slightly more stretch and breathability and helps these bibs to hold their shape and stay in place.
Well-designed seams at the leg panels that hit just above and below the knee prevent bunching and chafing behind the joint. The printed silicone grippers at the ankle cuff keep the legs from riding up. I like the zipperless design, as this is one less point of failure or area for cold to penetrate.
The bib straps are plenty long, and lay flat — one of my must-haves — so there’s never any digging and no tugging once they’ve been positioned over the shoulders. The mesh panel on top of the shoulder blades helps to keep the straps in place, and promotes sweat evaporation. The stretchy elastic straps are shaped to contour a riding position and extend the length of the sides and back panel to ensure a comfortably snug fit. They are carefully and securely anchored to the bib body panel in a way that’s nearly imperceptible once the bibs are on.
A comfortable chamois is one of the most crucial elements of any cycling kit and the chamois in the MAAP Apex Deep Winter bibs was remarkably unremarkable. I make a habit of nearly always applying anti-chafe before I sit on a chamois, but for a few rides I went without it, and the MAAP chamois was just as excellent. In terms of comfort and price, the MAAP Apex Deep Winter bibs rate, in my experience, similarly to Assos, Rapha and Giordana winter wear.
The brushed interior of the panels around the chamois offers some additional comfort and warmth. If I had to improve any aspect of these winter bib tights, it would be making them slightly less slippery on the inside of the exterior of the upper leg and thigh panels.
Thermal long sleeve base layer
The MAAP thermal long sleeve base layer ($95) keeps you relatively dry even while sweating. Wearing this base later in temperatures close to freezing and going hard for extended periods of time, I’m warm without overheating or feeling soggy. The wicking material is thin and easily slips beneath a long-sleeve jersey or outer layer.
Also read: Assos Equipe RS Winter Jacket Johdah
The sleeves on the MAAP baselayer are plenty long and extend past my wrists and over my watch, which is great for preventing any cold air intrusion. And the same can be said for the length of the body panels that tuck well into the bib tights. This design offers effective protection for one’s lower back, and no gaps at the wrist even when in the drops. My wife tested the women’s version and said she likes the placement of the seams under the armpits and the silky smooth brushed interior, and compared the feel of the base layer to the feel of Merino wool.
Force Pro Winter long sleeve jersey
The Force Pro Winter long sleeve jersey ($205) is a go-to top when temperatures are in the mid-40 to mid-50s. On milder days, this top can be paired with a short sleeve base layer, while on cooler days this long sleeve works well with the MAAP Thermal Long sleeve base layer. The sleeves are amply long — even for taller riders with longer arms — and the inside back bottom of the jersey has a gripper to help keep the tail in place, and one’s low back covered.
The race-cut design is form-fitting and flattering. The front panels of the jersey have a race-fit cut — so shorter than back panels — and while they do not have a wind-blocking layer, this jersey still does an excellent job at keeping you warm and comfortable. The medium-rise collar is lined for comfort and an appropriate height for cool temperatures. The zipper garage keeps your neck from the chunky zipper. A rubber grabber is fastened at the end of the zipper, but it can still be tricky to grab while wearing gloves.
The three rear pockets are plenty tall to prevent losing any items, but getting gloved hands in and out of them is challenging. There’s a fourth, zippered pocket on the right side for essentials like house keys or a credit card. A barrier on the inside of the jersey protects the pocket from moisture incursion.
My only concern about the Force Pro Winter long sleeve is durability. After just four rides — after which this jersey was washed each time in cold water — the lower body panel in the front right displayed pilling and significant signs of wear from the wash cycle, where it was in with other sports gear.
Apex Winter Jacket
The MAAP Apex Winter Jacket ($390) costs just slightly more than half of the cold weather jacket from Assos but performs just as well in many respects. The jacket is designed to allow perspiration to escape, with a cut that allows for easy movement in any riding posture. It’s windproof and waterproof, with just enough heft and weight to add some comfort for this bit of winter gear.
The cut feels slightly more generous than other winter jackets I’ve tried from Gore and Giordana; there is plenty of room in the long-cut, high-volume sleeves and body for a base layer or a long sleeve jersey, yet there’s no flapping in the wind. Although the sleeves are not gusseted at the shoulders, the seam-sealed tape at the joint ensures a good, weatherproof junction, without compromising mobility. The minimalist cuffs tuck into heavy-duty winter gloves.
The insulating interior layer, with a waffle texture, helps to trap heat while keeping you dry, even when sweating on extended climbs or driving the pace on the front of a group.
The dual YKK Aquaguard zippers are easy to operate to regulate temperature or access a jersey pocket. But I wish the toggle on the zipper was a little easier to find and grasp when wearing gloves. Three deep and narrow pockets on the back keep nutrition, a phone, and a tire plug tool safe from ejection, while a fourth zippered pocket keeping items even safer.
MAAP cold-weather accessories
The MAAP Knitted Oversocks ($35) are effective at keeping your feet warm when temperatures are above 40 degrees. They effectively block wind and seem to be just breathable enough to prevent my feet from sweating sweat even when wearing winter wool socks. They are easy to slip on and off over my shoes.
The openings in the bottom for a cleat and heel pad ensure easy clipping in and out, and no-slip walking. After about a month of use, a small tear appeared in the bottom of one of the oversocks.
The neoprene MAAP Deep Winter Neo Overshoes ($110) offer foot protection in temperatures close to and below freezing. The neoprene is very effective at keeping out moisture and road splash. They are easy to slip onand are kept in place with a Velcro strap between the cleat and heel pad. The booties have reinforced material on the toe and the heel.
The MAAP Deep Winter Thermal gloves ($80) are made from neoprene and are best when temperatures are above freezing. The palms have some texture to them but the surface is slippery, and sometimes it’s hard to grab a bottle without feeling like you’re about to drop it.
They are touch-screen responsive, but it can take effort to get an iPhone to work. These gloves are effective at keeping moisture from penetrating and are most effective when used with an insulating layer. A pull-tab or extra bit material at the underside of the glove cuff at the wrist would be a welcome improvement to make pulling these gloves on while riding even easier to manage.
The MAAP Glove liners ($60) are excellent for keeping your hands warm in cool temperatures, and also serve well when paired with gloves for colder temperatures. The design is thin you can slip them on easily. The cuff rises to the wrist bone. The printed gripper strips on the bottom of the fingers and on the palm ensure that grabbing cold bar tape, a bottle, or even a phone is not a scary experience.