Ah, shoulder seasons. Here in Spokane, they seem to account for a disproportionate number of my rides, both on and off road. Most everyone has excellent summer kit but we often tend to give fall and spring kit (dare I say it!) the cold shoulder. You can avoid cold legs, arms, torso and shoulders with some good shoulder season kit: enter the Hincapie Fission series.
Fission Jersey Features:
- Soft, supple QuadroHot fabric insulates from the cold
- Brushed inner layer of fast-drying hollow-core fibers wicks moisture away from the skin
- Hincapie Gel-Gripper™ elastic hem keeps jersey in place
- Reflective strips on sleeves for enhanced visibility
- Three rear pockets
- MSRP: $100
Fission Knickers Features:
- Winter weight, fleeced-lined BodE Thermal Heat™ stretch knit fabric provides excellent moisture wicking and unsurpassed insulation
- Soft, supple BodE Thermal Loft™ elastic knit insulates and wicks moisture away from the body
- 3/4 length leg is just right for mild to cool conditions
- Anatomical, 4-way stretch Hincapie Team Chamois
- Sublimated side leg and back panels
- Hincapie Gel-Gripper™ elastic leg openings
- Inseam: 21”
- MSRP: $120
Cold? Yeah, whatever.
I first received this kit in late October for testing. Spokane had a cold Fall and afternoon temperatures quickly leveled off below 50’F. I begin with this for a reason – you’ve got to know what temperature range this kit is suitable for, and for my money it’s spot-on for temperatures between 45′ and 60′. This is somewhat subjective, of course, and you can alter this by adding base layers beneath the jersey. It’s a good range, though – you may be a little chilly near 45′, and you’ll likely be a little warm near 60′. Warmer or colder souls will know how their own body alters the limits of a particular piece of clothing, too.
With that acknowledged, the kit is really quite versatile. I’ll begin with the jersey. It’s constructed of Hincapie’s QuadroHot fabric with a brushed inner face and a gridded exterior. This combination is often seen on pieces that are trying to balance heat retention with wicking potential, and it works because it’s mechanical – the shallow ‘lines’ of the grid permit easy moisture exchange while the majority of the fabric is lofted to retain heat. The outer surface of the fabric is wonderfully smooth to the touch, which definitely makes you think it’s aerodynamic. In the mean time, the knickers are constructed of Hincapie’s winter-weight poly/lycra fabric (260 gsm) with a lighter panel (236 gsm) on the outside of the thighs to be more aero. It’s a great fabric, nice and thick and very soft to the skin. Predictably, Hincapie’s four-way stretch technology allows unimpeded movement. It does a good job of making you feel a little less like you’re drowning in thick lycra and evokes something of the feel of summer kit.
Fit is good throughout the bib. I’m 5’11” and 185lbs this time of year and my only complaint is that the suspenders on these Large knickers were probably a touch short for me. The jersey I wore was also a Large and it fit very well indeed. It’s roomy enough in the shoulders for a guy like me but stays trim around the sides and midsection. Take note that the sleeves are actually fairly baggy – you’ll have extra fabric flapping around, especially on the forearms. The jersey is not intended to be strictly aero, but it’s definitely comfortable for it. The jersey features the classic three-pocket design with three good, deep pockets that can happily accommodate a light jacket or what have you. The zipper is one of the best I’ve used – it tracks exceptionally easily and comes to a stop at a comfortable neckline that is neither too tight nor too loose. A zipper garage would have been a nice touch, but I didn’t actually miss it much – the neck is comfortable. However, I did think the big clunky Hincapie zipper pull was a bit unnecessary – you’ll hear it jingling happily along over all of the bumps. I may replace it with a lighter fabric pull tab once the test period is over, but at least it’s easy to pull with gloves.
The gel grippers on both the jersey and knickers do their job well. The ones on the knickers are very important, of course, since they’re holding onto the fairly uneven terrain of a cyclist’s calves. I was happy with how mine held in place, which is largely a function of how generous Hincapie was with the gel. It’s a big old sticky band of the stuff.
The chamois choice is excellent. The knickers have Hincapie’s team chammy which is treated with anti-odor technology and feels good over the saddle. I personally felt that the chammy could have been a bit firmer to provide more support on long rides. This is subjective, of course, but I often felt like the chamois had begun to pack down and become uncomfortable after the first hour had passed. However, I also know that I generally prefer firmer chamois. Your mileage will vary.
- Excellent fit throughout
- Great zipper on the jersey
- Gel grippers on both jersey and knickers do very well
- Classic pocket design works well
- Four-way stretch in the knickers is very good
- Dual-weight knicker fabric is a nice touch
- Jersey fabric handles the heat/moisture dichotomy nicely
- Zipper pull seems unnecessarily large; it jingles as you ride uneven terrain
- I would prefer a firmer chamois pad for long rides
- Some will be put off by the loose fabric on the arms and forearms especially
The Bottom Line: Hincapie Fission Jersey/Knickers
Shoulder season will still rule Spokane for some time to come, and if that’s the case where you live then something like the Fission kit might be a great investment. It’s a very comfortable, rather elegant kit that helps with some of the grumbles that often come with shoulder season riding.