Iain Treloar tests some underappreciated, but essential, items of the cycling wardrobe.
This week has been a pretty unexceptional one in my bike-riding calendar, except in one important respect—it marked the first time that I needed to pull out the arm and knee warmers since November last year.
For as long as I’ve been riding, that’s been a sad milestone—I don’t mind cold weather, but I’ve always hated wearing warmers. The reason for this is that, without exception, they’ve slid down the arms or up the legs, bunched up and left irritating gaps for the wind to pierce.
After trying options from budget (Peloton 1) all the way up to top end (Rapha), and plenty in between, I’d written it off as a lost cause. And then, 12 months back, the local representative of Swiss custom-wear brand Cuore sent down a set of their warmers, and I was finally content. For the past year, whenever the weather’s turned, I’ve used nothing else.
They’re not a sexy item; the arm warmers look like black arm warmers, and the knee and leg warmers look like (nicely cut) black knee and leg warmers. There’s little visual flourish, with just a slightly reflective logo transfer breaking up the inky expanse. But the true magic of the Cuore warmers is the grip-tape, a 4cm band circling the top of the arm warmers and leg warmers, and both ends of the knee warmers. They require a little bit of fiddling to get them to sit correctly, as the band is lined with a silicone-esque material that stops them from sliding. They’re equally grippy on shaved or hairy legs (without being painful), and once they’re in place, they stay there. This is something that shouldn’t be unusual, but is—the number of knee-warmers I’ve used that stay in place is just one, these. You can’t quantify gains from perfect clothing, but when something does its job as it should, it makes for a vastly more enjoyable time on the bike.
In a year of use—near-daily for more than half of that—durability has been pretty good. The stitching of one arm warmer has started to come undone, and I’ve lost some weight so they’re a bit looser than their previous flawless fit. The logo transfers also deteriorate a little over time and have started to lift at the edges, but that’s really a minor gripe. The big story of these warmers is the small but vital way that they’ve improved the comfort of my cool-weather riding. Cuore’s warmers are hands down the best I’ve used, cheaper than most and unreservedly recommended.
Arm warmers: $39.95
Knee warmers: $39.95
Leg warmers: $49.95
More info or to buy: www.cuore.ch/shop/au/
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