We met the wonderfully talented and energetic Tara, who heads up the Rivelo team, back in November. Over a pint in one of Surbiton’s most welcoming hostelries we heard all about this new British brand’s origins, aims and design direction and cast our eyes over the new Rivelo winter cycling jackets.
Fast-forward one action-packed Christmas period spent travelling 1000 miles around the country, Northern floods, a house purchase and subsequent move… A couple of months later and we are finally ready to commit to paper our thoughts on the Rivelo kit.
We have put the Rivelo winter cycling jackets through their paces several times over the past two months: they have been dealt a fair array of weather (most of it wet). It has been with us on our final commutes from our old flat, and it’s now being worn on recces of our new cycling ‘hood’ in Ashford (Surrey, not Kent). The bib tights even managed an outing on the turbo trainer, though it’s safe to say indoor training does not require thermoroubaix protection for the legs.
So with all that in mind, it’s high time we shared our thoughts on Rivelo’s latest offering.
Matt: the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket
I’ve been riding in the Rivelo Garsdale Jacket for a good few weeks in a range of conditions and with a combination of bibs and jerseys from other manufacturers. It has quickly become a staple in my cycling wardrobe: when the temperature drops or if it threatens rain, it’s off the hanger and on my back.
At its heart the Rivelo Garsdale cycling jacket is a warm yet breathable, waterproof and windproof winter jacket that should keep you in the saddle no matter what the British weather throws at you.
It is constructed from Schoeller C-Change softshell fabric that delivers a garment that helps keep your core at a comfortable temperature whatever the barometer says. It maintains a good level of air circulation without draughts.
It repels water magnificently, to 10,000mm (I do like to keep those of you waterproof fetishists happy); beading rain simply runs off the jacket – or flies off, depending on how quickly you are riding.
It is also oil and dirt repellent, features that have been thoroughly tested over the weeks we have been riding the Rivelo kit. There has been little that hasn’t just wiped off rather than submitting the Garsdale to another wash cycle.
What if cycling jackets could look good off the bike… but not in that “urban cycling” kind of way?
What if cycling wear had edgier design that didn’t compromise its performance?
Well, it can: the Rivelo Garsdale jacket delivers both of those things.
Leaving performance out the equation for a second, on a purely aesthetic level the Garsdale is a thing of beauty. On the body the fit is exemplary. The detailing, especially in the arms, is superb. The asymmetric finish to the cuffs is an especially neat touch and one that I feel I wouldn’t want to be without on any future jacket – it allows a glove to fit perfectly underneath.
The race fit of the Garsdale jacket is just right for me: not too roomy, but not overly restrictive. I have been wearing a medium: at 6ft and 165lbs, I have a full range of movement across the chest and arms.
There are two small changes I would make to the jacket: one, the front of the jacket could stand to be an inch longer. That would (for me) make it nigh on perfect and would increase its off-bike wearability, although when we are discussing performance cycling apparel, it’s something of a moot point. And two, I would prefer the neck to be a little higher; for a winter jacket, it doesn’t offer a great deal of protection around the neck and an extra half inch would be nice.
The Garsdale features under arm venting, which maintains a good level of airflow around the jacket. The seams are fully taped increasing its water resistant capabilities. The arms feature a double cuff system, an elasticated inner cuff, to prevent drafts and water ingress and then a second asymmetric cuff that extends over the wrists.
The back of the jacket houses three deep pockets, one of which has a zipped outer area. There is a beaded reflective vertical stripe to improve visibility from the rear. There is also a front chest zip pocket that provides easy-access storage for keys and cards etc.
All the zips are high quality and thus far have proved snag free. They hold up well in bad weather conditions, too.
Would I buy it?
Without a doubt.
This is quality performance bike wear with an edge. Its points of difference may seem subtle to some, but when you wear this out on actual rides they become glaringly obvious.
Those minor niggles you might have about your other jackets have all been dealt with here. It is cycling apparel that just works and, more to the point, looks damn good doing it. It is well crafted, well designed and the Rivelo winter cycling jackets are really well priced right now – the Garsdale jacket is currently available for £99 at Sport Pursuit.
Victoria: Rivelo Larkstone Women’s Jacket
I’ve been testing the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket, a sleek wind and rain-resistant layer.
Made from British Porelle Dry membrane fabric, this jacket is high performance. Its fully taped seams contribute to the garment’s 15,000mm waterproof rating – and as any British cyclist knows, this winter has made waterproofing oneself vital.
Despite its highly technical credentials, the Larkstone jacket folds down to a super compact state which could, at a push, be stored in a back pocket if the weather took a turn for the better.
I may be serious about cycling, but I’m also serious about wanting to look like myself: I don’t want to sacrifice style for performance.
And this jacket doesn’t force you to make that choice: it is such a flattering piece of kit. The cut of Rivelo cycle clothing is true to standard British High Street sizing, unlike continental brands such as Castelli which are notoriously small. Rivelo’s size Medium fits my 5’8”, size 12 build very well. It is clearly designed by someone who understands women’s bodies, and it’s a pleasure to zip this jacket up: it feels really surprisingly elegant for a piece of sportswear.
I love this lustrous shade of navy blue and the red accents are a lovely, classic match. It’s an understated jacket which, while feminine in cut, is not girly or twee in design.
Tara has really managed to combine aesthetics with high performance in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket.
There are some clever design features in the Rivelo Women’s Larkstone Jacket. There are no unwelcome breast pockets, which are just awkward on a women’s jacket. I don’t want to fumble about with my boobs to reach my credit card. Instead, there is a neat front pocket by the hipbone to hold a credit card, change, or keys.
My problem with a lot of rain jackets is that their hard shell construction means they are rather baggy to allow movement. This is a rain jacket, but the fabric stretches. Protection from the elements without sacrificing either silhouette or aerodynamics? Perfect.
The sleeves are brilliant. They are long, well fitted without being restrictive, and have a lovely stretchy, soft inner cuff which stops draughts and moisture at the wrist.
I’ve mentioned the top notch fit: the sleek look is helped along by the impeccable flat, fully taped seams which serve the fairly integral function of waterproofing as well as contributing to a streamlined profile.
The jacket only has one back pocket. This puzzled me a bit at first: I’d normally expect at least two, and maybe three. However, it’s actually another nifty feature: the back vent, which is positioned directly above the pocket, allows easy access to your jersey pockets. So, if you take off your jacket, there’s no need to empty all your pockets. Clever! What’s more, the rear pocket has a reflective strip which is convenient positioning: it wasn’t obscured by my rucksack.
Now, this is a rain jacket, so of course, it will make you sweat when you’re working hard. There’s no escaping the fact that keeping water out will also keep some moisture in. For that reason, I wouldn’t wear it without a wicking, long sleeved layer underneath because otherwise there is a slightly clammy feeling. (Particularly as I’m an especially sweaty sort). It certainly doesn’t make me feel like a boil in the bag kipper, though, unlike some other lightweight waterproofs I’ve tried. And the areas that typically do come into contact with bare skin have been considered: the neck has been lined with soft fleece for comfort while the double layered cuffs are soft and warm, not cold and damp.
Would I buy it?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a smart, well cut jacket which performs brilliantly in wet, windy weather. It’s been particularly good this winter, which has been particularly wet and windy… What’s more, I love the colour. I’ll happily carry it around in my rucksack in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, too – I’m impressed by how lightweight it is.
I’d recommend snapping up one of the Rivelo winter cycling jackets while they’re on offer at £59.99 – I seriously don’t think you’ll find a better jacket for the price, and even at the full RRP of £130 I think it represents great value for money. The Larkstone women’s jacket has won me over.
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