Contender's Fall Road Cycling Apparel Buyer's Guide

Contender's Fall Road Cycling Apparel Buyer's Guide

Written by Contender Bicycles, on March 03, 2021

There isn't much that beats riding through a canopy of fall season foliage on your road or gravel bike. More color in the trees also means that temperatures are dropping, and dropping temperatures means what you wear is essential. We're here to help.

Below is our Fall Road Apparel Buyer's Guide for men and women alike, ready to help you figure out how to ensure you stay comfortable on your next road ride. See our Fall MTB Apparel Guide HERE.

Rapha Classic Long Sleeve Jersey II

The Rapha Classic Long Sleeve Jersey II has rightfully earned the label 'Classic' for its use of Merino-based fabric, all-weather adaptability, and range of color choices. Light, soft, and plenty breathable when conditions necessitate, the Classic Long Sleeve is one of our favorites.

We dig the Merino wool-polyester blend material used here, as it isn't too bulky or constrictive. We also dig Rapha's Classic fit, which offers just the right amount of leeway for a base layer when transitioning into winter months. And of course, Rapha nails the details; three standard pockets joins an easily-accessible zipper pocket, and the sleeve hems feel seamless too. MEN'S CLASSIC LONG SLEEVE JERSEY II Rapha Pro Team Insulated Jacket

Finding fall cycling kit that maintains the fit and feel of the best summer road apparel can be difficult. Not so with Rapha's Pro Team Insulated Jacket. The fit is just right for harder efforts without the bulk that can slow you down. Particularly important is its breathability and fast-drying design that doesn't hold moisture. Add in the windproof front panel, and you have a performance-oriented jacket ready for whatever fall throws at you.

Fit is obviously dependent on your body type, and if you want a more relaxed fit, then sizing up is essential. We dig the double-ended front zipper, secure pockets, and the stretch fabric for the back. Some jackets can get too hot, even in the cold, and this feels great.

Rapha Pro Team Insulated Jacket
Rapha Pro Team Winter Tight


If bulk is the enemy, then Rapha's Pro Team Winter Tight is entirely the victor. We've put it through its paces - see our review HERE - and it's come out as one of the best companions to fall and winter riding out there. Despite its protection, the bib short is comfortable when pushing the pace or just trying to stay warm.

If you're looking for more room we recommend sizing up, like most Rapha Pro Team gear. The fit is excellent and comfort is about as good, but what'll surprise is its protection from rain and road spray while keeping you warm.

Assos Mille GT Winter Bib Tight

Assos of Switzerland has to know their bib tights as well as anyone, particularly coming from the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland. And while these are called the Assos Mille GT Winter Bib Tight, it is wholly comfortable in the variable temperatures of fall, thanks to breathable rear paneling, accommodating fit, and typical Assos material quality.

With the Mille GT Winter Bib Tight you'll find one of the most impressive chamois available anywhere, with a memory foam style support that might just be the best in the business. The microfleece inside is soft to the touch and makes it easy to get into, and easy to wear in those cooler temperatures where you might not be fully away anyways.

7mesh TK1 Women's Bib Tight

7mesh calls the TK1 Women's Bib Tight their ultimate women's riding bib tight and much of it comes down to comfort. It starts with a soft elastic bib strap and their integrated Elastic Interface chamois. That comfort also comes thanks to a light fleece liner and DWR outer that'll keep your legs warm in the wind or rain.

Like any 7mesh piece of kit, the finer details are nailed with the TK1 Women's Bib Tight. The seams are in the perfect place when on the bike, running up the shin and over the knee, creating a natural spot for joint articulation without bunching. We dig the two rear pockets, extra reflective details, overall supportive feel.

7mesh TK1 Women's Bib Tight
Left to right: Assos Mille GT Winter Bib Tight, 7mesh TK1 Women's Bib Tight, Rapha Pro Team Winter Tight


7mesh Callaghan Women's Jersey

Cycling apparel company 7mesh finds itself based in Squamish, BC, perfect proving grounds for cool temperatures and wet weather. And while merino wool isn't for everyone, the 7mesh Callaghan Women's Merino Jersey feels as soft as anything else out there, with matching attention to detail and usability well into winter.

It doesn't rain as much in Utah as in Squamish, but we're happy to share that this jersey's blend of polyester and merino pulls the best out of both materials. It stays warm when damp, but breathes well in 50 to 60 degree F temperatures. We particularly like the quality stitching, deep rear pockets, and sleeves that are long enough to actually go underneath your gloves.

7mesh Callaghan Women's Jersey

Rapha Explore Down Jacket

Lightweight, packable, and built for the most adventurous riders, the Rapha Explore Down Jacket is the cycling-adjacent down jacket we've been looking for. An internal waistband, elastic cuffs, and a two-way zipper make this a great option for your week-long trip.

Rapha Explore Down Jacket
Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite Glove, Rapha Pro Team Gloves


The Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite Glove is a cool weather mainstay in these parts. P60g Primaloft Gold with Crosscore technology sounds like marketing speak but it insulates your hand from the cold without insulating your hands from being able to easily shift gears or hit the brakes. We dig the synthetic leather palm and its touch screen compatibility, a must for any cold-weather glove.

Rapha's latest version of the Pro Team Glove is the more performance-oriented option of the two gloves. This Rapha glove in general is less bulky than the Amfib Lite, but no less warm, going down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit without much issue. We dig the reflective Pro Team detailing, the tight stitching - a must on a cool-weather glove - and suede on the first two fingers that makes gripping the shifter and brakes easy.

Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite Glove, Rapha Pro Team Gloves

Left to right: Rapha Pro Team Gloves, Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite Gloves

Giro Seasonal Wool, Giro Winter, Pearl Izumi Merino

For as much focus as we place on bibs and jackets, it is the humble sock that does just about as much heavy lifting as the rest. A good sock for cool weather has to still be relatively to fit in your shoes, but insulated enough that it maintains blood circulation when it gets cold and windy. And despite all that, it still needs to wick away moisture like the best summer-specific socks; you ARE sweating after all.

All three of these socks - the Giro Seasonal Wool, Giro Winter Merino Wool, and Pearl Izumi Merino - perform these directives admirably. The icing on the cake? They're great for when you're not on the bike too.

Giro Seasonal Wool, Giro Winter, Pearl Izumi Merino
Left to right: Giro Seasonal Wool Sock, Pearl Izumi Merino Sock, Giro Winter Merino Sock


Have any questions about fall road apparel, or cycling apparel in general? Give us a call during business hours or send us an email any time to

Photos by Carlos Interone.


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