More: Fall Gear Review for Road Cyclists (Part II)
Assos SS Mille Evo7 Jersey$158 1 of 9
The new trend toward aero jerseys with a second-skin fit are cool if you're a 130-pound climber. For everyone else, they might not be so flattering. The SS Mille Evo7 from the Swiss company Assos is designed for more athletic builds while still providing a tailored fit that doesn't feel baggy.
As with all clothing from Assos, the real star is the quality of the materials and the construction. Using the same technology and polyester/nylon blends found in their more expensive jerseys, the SS Mille Evo7 uses a simpler construction and design to keep the price somewhat reasonable. And if $158 doesn't sound like a deal to you, keep in mind that you'll get at least twice the mileage out of this jersey than less pricey options.
Assos Mille Evo7 Sock$36 (2 Pairs) 2 of 9
Assos socks have always been my favorite because they last forever. While other socks can start feeling old and stretched after the first use, these feel exactly the same after you've put them through the wash several times over. We like the idea of the two-pack, which is cool for those days when you want to switch it up by mix-matching the colors.
POC Raceday Climber Jersey/Contour Aerofoil Bib Shorts$150/$350 3 of 9
If you're looking for the perfect kit for a big race this fall, you aren't going to find a better combo than this one from POC. The Climber jersey, named for its breathability during hard efforts, is super light at only 110 grams. The 3D fabric used on the bottom and arms keeps the jersey in place and hugs the body for plenty of aerodynamic advantage. Though the fit is a race-day cut, the materials keep it from feeling restrictive--making it one of those rare examples of a tight-fitting jersey that's still really comfortable to wear.
The Contour Aerofoil bibs continue this line of thinking, combining the best aspects of POC's AVIP and Raceday lines to create a pair of shorts that's comfortable and fast. The dimpled, textured fabric on the legs reduces drag to improve aerodynamics, and the high-elastane provides gentle compression that increases comfort during long efforts. The chamois pad uses a silicone insert and 3D molding technology under the sit bones to improve durability and keep the pad from feeling bulky. While you might not notice a huge difference for rides under 50 miles or so, you will appreciate this level of detail when you start to get up near the 100-mile mark. While you can find other shorts that are good for all-day efforts, you won't find many that are this comfortable, light and suitable for the most serious of racers. If the high price point isn't a concern, you won't be disappointed.
Sugoi Hotshot Jersey$110 4 of 9
Fall can be a tricky time of year for cyclists. With temperatures ranging from hot to cold and somewhere in between, you'll need to have plenty of options to keep comfortable on the bike. The Hotshot Pro jersey from Sugoi manages to bridge the gap between jersey and winter jacket seamlessly. The fleece lining will keep you warm on its own in milder temps, and if worn with a base layer, you'd probably be okay down into the 40s.
The aesthetics and cut of the Hotshot was a bit of a bonus for us too, as we weren't expecting it to be as high-quality or stylish as it turned out to be. For the price, it's an excellent buy that's one of those versatile pieces for fall that you probably shouldn't be without.
Endura FS260-Pro SL Jersey/Bib Short$120/$180 5 of 9
Endura is a Scottish company more widely known in Europe, but it has recently started to make a splash in the U.S. market. What we like best about this kit is that it has tremendous value for a true racing kit. In fact, it's the exact same jersey and short that the Movistar pro cycling team uses but with an updated, more consumer-friendly styling.
At just 85 grams, the jersey is one of the lightest you'll find. It does have a race fit that works better for slimmer builds because of the way the material hugs the body. The longish sleeves and collar will give you some aerodynamic benefits, and the minimalist design of the rest of the jersey ensures it is as light and breathable as possible.
The bibs of this kit seem simple too, but they are a knockout once you're on the bike. Endura has chosen to offer several different chamois insert sizes to accommodate varying sit-bone widths, and the result turns out to make a huge difference. The pad is thicker in exactly the spots you want it to be and less bulky where you don't need it. For under $200, this is the smartest, most comfortable pair of bibs we've tried in years.
Endura FS260 Pro Adrenaline Rain Cape$99 6 of 9
Fall weather can be unpredictable, which requires preparation for any scenario—especially during a race. The Pro Adrenaline Rain Cape is a perfect companion to the Endura FS-260 SL kit on race day because it's see-through, so you can still see your race number. It comes with a pouch that allows you to pack the jacket to the size of a fist, which is handy for carrying in a jersey pocket.
Though rain capes are notorious for being hot, the Pro Adrenaline breathes well, and we found it to work in temperatures up to the high 70s. You can also use it for wind protection, which is a plus for those chilly descents.
Skins A200 Thermal$109 7 of 9
For those chillier morning and evening rides when you need a mid-weight base layer, the A200 Thermal from Skins will do the trick. The Warp Knit fabric manages to walk the fine line of keeping moisture away from the skin to keep from overheating while still managing to keep you warm in cold temps.
As a stand-alone piece, you can pair it with the A200 Thermal tights for milder temps in the 50s. The compression aspects of the A200 line also help to increase circulation and get more oxygen to the muscles, which will help flush lactate and help you feel fresher as the ride increases in distance. For a well-made mid-weight layer, you can use in the fall or colder winter months, it's a good, versatile buy for the money.
Canari Echelon Women's Tights8 of 9
When it's too cold for leg warmers, these Echelon tights from Canari are plenty to keep you nice and toasty. The soft mesh paneling behind the knee makes the pedaling motion less restrictive, and the side compression panels increase comfort by improving circulation.
The loud highlights on the side and rear leg are a nice touch that increases visibility during early morning and evening rides. The heavy weight of the Lycra is durable and should keep you warm into 40-degree temperatures.