A handy guide to layering

A handy guide to layering

by Stephen Turner on Feb 08, 2023

The UK is a funny old place. A lot of us here at Lusso ride out through the peaks and valleys of the North West. From Rivington, across the bracken strewn moors to the North Pennines and West Yorkshire. 

At the top of every climb, you can look out into the next valley to be conquered - and in each valley there can be a completely different weather system rolling through. Rain, fog, wind, sun. Four seasons in one day.

In this guide, we’ll explore the core elements of a great layering system so you can be ready for the coming months as we transition from Winter into Spring.

No knees below 10 degrees.

We’ll admit, we’ve heard variations on this. But 10 degrees is a good starting point for when you should start using longs or 3/4s. Cold knees are not only uncomfortable but as your knee is a leading edge the wind chill can cause longer term issues with all the tendons and ligaments in this pivotal (heh) joint.

The solution? Bib-tights. They come in a bunch of different varieties depending on what your goals and preferences are. They’re also typically made of more insulating and weather resistant material to keep you protected from the worst of it. Men's here, Women's here.

A good base layer goes a long way

Speaking to some of the crew in the office, base layers are one of the areas that we neglected the most as younger riders and now wouldn’t go without. A warm baselayer doesn’t have to be a thick woolen jumper of a thing. Today's technical fabrics do an incredible job of creating warm pockets of air between the base and your skin, keeping you warm, but they also wick moisture away from your body, keeping you dry. The dryer you are, the warmer you are. Take a look at the perform long sleeve base layer to start.

Your Jersey can be an outer layer or an insulating mid layer.

There was a time where a winter jersey was a heavy wool long sleeve version of a summer jersey. After 10 minutes of rain it would sag and weigh a tonne, leaving you soaked to the bone and in a bit of a sorry state. Fortunately, with contemporary fabrics even if you do get your winter jersey wet it will dry out in the time it takes to have a brew at your favourite cafe.

Our winter jerseys are lined with a roubaix layer. You may have heard this term bounded around and it simply means fleece lined. As with the base layers this creates a warm boundary between fabrics. Our Perform Long Sleeve Jersey+ is a great example of this and a really great piece to have in your collection as it will serve as a mid layer below about 10 degrees and an outer layer above.

A good Jacket can literally save your life

Although we hope it doesn’t have to! Jackets serve a number of purposes - there are super lightweight waterproof jackets that sacrifice some breathability for portability and waterproofing, and there are full winter jackets that are a bit heavier but offer warmth, waterproofing, and wind resistance to keep you comfortable in the most extreme conditions. You can balance the weight of your jacket against the weight of your jersey to meet most conditions. For example, our Perform Long Sleeve Jersey+ is a really warm jersey so you might want to stash a Primary Packable jacket in a pocket in Spring to keep dry in a passing shower - or if you’re going out in deep winter you might rather layer the Paragon Deep Winter Jacket over Long Sleeve Jersey+ to see you down to minus figures. We’d always advise checking forecasts regularly and having options for a worst case scenario if you’re heading on a long one!

Some jackets are super flexible - like the Perform winter jacket which we’ve worn in November winter sun over just a base layer. 

Don’t forget your end bits!

There’s got to be a better catch all word for head, hands, and feet. If you can think of something better than end bits please let us know - but for now it serves a purpose!

There’s an age old adage about losing the most heat from your head and it’s true. A warm layer the covers your noggin (and ears!) will go a long way. A skull cap is great in winter. It’s not uncommon to get cold hands and feet whilst cycling as they’re relatively exposed. The Perform Winter gloves have a really clever waterproof and breathable membrane that means if you do get warm and get clammy hands, they’ll dry out really quickly. If gloves get sodden they get cold really quickly - no such issues with well chosen, amazing quality fabrics.

Finally, let’s talk toes. Good quality socks make such a difference. We really love merino wool as even if it gets a little damp either from sweat or precipitation it keeps its insulating properties. Paired with overshoes to keep the worst out, your tootsies will stay cosy no matter what.

Things to remember

Your idea of warm and cosy may be different to everyone else's, and that’s okay! It’s worth having a few core pieces that you can swap and change depending on what’s going on outside and you’ll soon learn what to layer and when to layer it. Your cycling wardrobe should be adaptable and full of pieces that you can mix and match to suit most weather systems. Sure, one day you might own a full outfit for every season (or every day of the week in every season, you know who you are!) but start with good quality kit and it will last for years to come.