Rapha: Coordinating Style, Premium Comfort1 of 7
he Rapha Brevet Reflective Gilet ($125), with its three extra-large pockets and a zipper that is slightly off-set to maximize wind-blocking, offered a lightweight and protective outer layer when temps didn't call for a jacket.
The comfort provided by the Rapha Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey ($190), was worth noting: extra-long sleeves that stayed put and did not gap behind gloves while our tester rode on the brake hoods. This was a favorite top for temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On rainy days, our intrepid tester reached for the Rapha Classic Rain Jacket ($190, not pictured), which offered superior protection from rain through multiple layers, taped seams and plush fabric neck and wrist cuffs.
Initial skepticism about the utility of the external side pockets on the Rapha Cargo Bibshorts ($270) was quickly dismissed; easy access to in-ride snacks or a phone for photos is a brilliant feature. Plus, the chamois in these shorts was just so comfortable our tester forgot it was even there.
We really liked the attention to detail in the Rapha Brevet collection: socks, baselayer, short- and long-sleeve jerseys and gilet all have coordinating and matching colors with similar striping patterns.
Pearl Izumi: Stunning Appearance, Sure Fit2 of 7
We really love the colorway of the Pearl Izumi Women's ELITE Pursuit Thermal Graphic Jersey ($140). Of course, the thermal fleece lining to keep you warm and dry when temps are cool is a huge plus. Pearl Izumi apparel is true-to-size, so you'll have confidence when selecting the best fitting option.
Warm knees are healthy knees: keep them covered on cool days with Pearl Izumi Sugar Thermal 3/4 Tights ($80). An edge-free chamois, yoga waistband and multi-panel design offer comfort features that will have you reaching for these knickers every time you want to ride.
Castelli: Italian Pro Fit and Feel3 of 7
ith the Castelli Perfetto Long Sleeve Jersey ($199), we could precisely regulate cooling for maximum comfort on long rides. A zippered vent on each side panel and a full-length front zipper provided precision comfort. We kept the vents fully-zipped for protection from cool air at the start of our rides, and after a few miles, we opened them to allow for excellent breathability and air circulation. On even cooler days, we opted for the Castelli Transparente 4 Long Sleeve Jersey ($169, not pictured), which provided superior warmth thanks in part to a collar that was protective and very comfortable, front panels that blocked the chill and side and back panels that allowed for excellent wicking and just enough breathability.
The Castelli Sorpasso 2 Bib Knicker ($149) made us feel like pros. The legs extended a few inches below our tester's knees and featured a compressive fit and straps that were forgotten as soon as they were pulled up.
Castelli apparel features Gore Windstopper technology, which is excellent in nearly all challenging weather conditions. Also, it's worth noting that Castelli apparel runs slightly small, so opt up if you're between sizes.
Bontrager: Dependability in Cool Conditions4 of 7
The Bontrager Velocis Thermal inForm Bib Cycling Short ($159) offers a breathable mesh panel that sits between the shoulders and allows for efficient thermo-regulation. The thermal panels in the short legs keep the chill out to help you reach optimal performance. Like all Bontrager apparel, expect fit to be true to size.
One of the best ways to regulate body temperature while cycling is wearing a base layer. The Bontrager B2 Short Sleeve Base Layer ($69) will keep you dry, add a layer of insulation and is long enough to stay comfortably tucked into shorts.
The flattering and fitted cut of the Bontrager Vella Women's Long Sleeve Thermal Cycling Jersey ($89) won't ripple in the wind, is available in three simple, solid-color options and offers a half-length zipper for temperature regulation.
Craft: Unpretentious Comfort5 of 7
The Craft Route Long Sleeve Jersey ($99) did a notable job at blocking wind while also keeping our tester from overheating on climbs. We especially liked the not-quite-skin-tight fit that provided great range of motion with no restriction when climbing or reaching for a snack in one of the three deep rear pockets.
With little experience cycling in anything but bib shorts, our tester was really impressed by the Craft Ideal Wind Tights ($99). The yoga waistband kept these tights from dropping while the chamois provided comfort found in more-expensive models. The roomy fit and superior comfort of the fabric panels at the knees made these tights an excellent choice for rides in blustery weather.
Maloja: Surprising Comfort and Style6 of 7
This under-the-radar brand is up to the task when it comes to outfitting cyclists for the unpredictable fall weather. But it doesn't just ensure you stay warm—or cool—while in the saddle; it keeps you looking good pushing the pedals as well. Our favorite fall-weather pieces in the Maloja collection are the Betta 1/2 ($70) and the Motta Long Sleeve ($139). The long sleeve is a multi-purpose jacket with a secure back zipper pocket. It's perfect for throwing on for days with a little bite to the temperature thanks to its slightly thicker fleece material.
The Betta 1/2 is a standard short sleeve cycling jersey but with three back pockets that are large and deep, allowing you to bring along a little extra fuel to keep you going through the long miles. Plus, the gripping features on the hem ensure the top doesn't ride up, exposing your back to chillier temps and winds or open it up to the potential for sunburn on brighter rides.