If you're going to take on a 200 mile ride through the Welsh Marches, you're going to need the best clothing you can get. In fact, however far you plan to ride you'll want quality kit that helps you to cycle in comfort.
Fortunately, Sam and Stefan were ready for their Road vs Gravel Challenge (opens in new tab) ride with clothing from three great cycling brands: Sportful, HJC and Sidi. Here's a rundown of the kit they were using.
Sportful bib shorts and jerseys
Based in the Italian Dolomites, Sportful has been making top notch cycling kit since 1972. It's made cycling clothing for a long list of champions, from the Mapei team in the 1990s through to Peter Sagan, who's been clothed by Sportful from his time at Tinkoff right through to the present day at TotalEnergies.
Sportful also makes cross-country and touring ski clothing, so its technology won't just keep you cool on hot rides, it's got the best tech for cold and wet rides too.
Sam wears: Sportful Bodyfit Pro Ltd bibshorts and Bomber jersey
The Sportful Bodyfit Pro Ltd bib shorts are pro-level shorts race cut for performance, with compressive, but comfortable, lightweight AeroFlow fabric, flatlocked seams, seamless leg grippers and a TC Pro vented seat pad.
The Sportful Bomber jersey too is a pro-level piece designed for light weight and with hemless sleeve ends, but with enough structure at the rear to hold your pocket contents in place. It comes in a range of solid block colours to match whatever else you wear.
Stefan wears: Sportful Supergiara bibshorts and jersey and Hotpack Norain jacket
The Sportful Supergiara range is designed for gravel riders. The Supergiara bib shorts include a pad specifically engineered for gravel rides, with a comfortable, compressive fit. The DMS pad is also gravel-specific and positioned for the slightly more upright ride position of a gravel bike. To help gravel riders stash their extra kit, there are two rear pockets and a mesh thigh pocket.
There are another six pockets in the rear of the Supergiara jersey. It's aero, stretchy and breathable and has plenty of reflectives in case your ride takes you beyond dusk.
You need to be prepared for anything if you're riding gravel and the Hotpack No Rain jacket is super-compact and folds into its own stuff sack. But when you need it, the three layer fabric, with its lightweight membrane will protect you without windflap, thanks to its close fit.
HJC helmets come from South Korea and the brand has over 50 years in the helmet business. It started out making motorcycle helmets, so it understands protection. It's even got its own wind tunnel, so its helmets are tested for aerodynamics and ventilation. Both the AG2R Citroen and Israel-Premier Tech pro cycling teams wear its helmets.
Sam wears: HJC Ibex 2.0 helmet
The Ibex 2.0 helmet is HJC's lightweight vented helmet, with a weight of around 200 grams. It's designed for hot weather and incorporates Venturi vents to help remove heat more rapidly. It uses HJC's Selfit fit adjustment system that works without a dial and adjusts automatically as you change your head position during a ride.
Stefan wears: HJC Valeco helmet
HJC's Valeco helmet is aero tuned like the Ibex 2.0 and weighs around 220 grams. It incorporates 12 large longitudinal vents for comfortable hot weather riding.
Sidi cycling shoes have been an icon for over 60 years with its shoes handmade in its Italian factory. It's always been an innovator in cycling footwear; the TecnoPush system was the original dial cycling shoe closure.
Sidi shoes are the choice of many pro cyclists including Chris Froome, Egan Bernal and Dylan van Baarle and every major race in cycling has been won by athletes wearing its shoes.
Sam wears: Sidi Wire 2 Carbon road shoes
The Sidi Wire 2 shoes are designed for low weight while still offering great support thanks to the adjustable heel retention cup. They use Sidi's Soft Instep closure system, with a broad strap over the forefoot, that's adjustable from both sides for even pressure distribution and they close with two of Sidi's Tecno-3 Push dials. There's a Vent Carbon sole to help keep your feet planted, but still provide a small amount of flex to increase all-day comfort.
Stefan wears: Sidi MTB Speed shoes
The Sidi MTB Speed shoes provide a grippy sole lug pattern and you can even fit spikes if you need more traction. They use a streamlined single Tecno-3 Push dial closure and there's a reinforced heel cup for increased power transfer with less heel slip.
Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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