BikeRadar verdict: "Impressive performance and versatile pieces are a welcome addition to the wardrobe"
Highs: Aggressive cut without restricting movement, fleece lined fabric performs in a wide range of conditions Lows: No water repellency on shorts, poor pocket design Buy if: You're after a high-end, multi-season kit
BikeRadar score: 3.5/5 stars.
WorldTour team Katusha-Alpecin has been producing and racing in its own branded Katusha Sports team apparel for three seasons now.
Alongside the professional team's replica kit, Katusha Sports offers an extensive range of men's and women's performance kit, as well as a line of commuter-specific and off-bike training gear.
The Katusha Spots performance kit includes climbing-specific lightweight pieces and aero-focused race jerseys, as well as bib tights and winter jackets with everything designed and produced in-house within Europe.
I tried out the company's Warm long sleeve jersey and Warm bib shorts.
Katusha Sports Warm long sleeve jersey
The sangre (blood red), light blue, white and light red block design Katusha Sports sent balances non-team issue kit with retaining the identity of the Swiss-registered Katusha-Alpecin team.
I think the block colour aesthetics work well, and although the three rear cargo pockets in light blue improves rear visibility slightly, the area is in direct line of rear-wheel spray and I've noticed a few stains appearing.
The only other let-down is the pocket construction. Its low position means a smartphone in a protective wallet isn't completely concealed and results in paranoid checking of your pocket while riding to ensure no cargo has jumped out over rough sections of road.
Tighter pockets made from less material would have felt more secure — the fabric has plenty of stretch so this wouldn't have restricted the storage space.
Despite this, nothing has been lost from the pockets yet, but I will update the article should this happen.
The elasticity of the material is a positive to the rest of the jersey, with the aggressive fit preventing any wind flap without ever feeling restrictive. The material should also offer a comfortable fit for a variety of body shapes.
The thermal properties and brushed-fleece lining offer ample insulation in cooler temperatures when worn with other colder weather garments. Meanwhile, the low collar adds versatility to the jersey, making it perfect for all seasons and temperatures up to around 15 degrees Celsius.
The full-length zipper and subtle touches of reflective piping are perhaps expected on a cold-weather garment but still appreciated.
The jersey is priced at €170.
Katusha Sports Warm bib shorts
Flatlock stitching, secure but not restrictive bib straps, a considered panel design that offers a level of compression and a high-end comfortable chamois are the minimum design features one expects in this price bracket, and the Katusha Sports Warm shorts tick all these boxes.
The plain black design is available with blue or sangre red leg cuffs and, other than a small K on the rear and some internal design finishes, branding is kept to a minimum, which many will appreciate.
Like the jersey, a light brushed-fleece lining on the bib shorts creates a versatile piece that can be worn in a range of temperatures. Paired with knee or leg warmers, the shorts have enough insulation to keep your thighs and rear warm, while on their own in milder conditions they aren't so thick that you overheat or feel clammy.
The bib shorts follow the pro-trend of slightly longer length, also ensuring the entire quadriceps are kept warm. Rubber grippers on the inside of the leg cuff will need encouraging up your leg when getting dressed but serve their intended purpose when in position.
I would have liked a little branding on the shorts, such as the letter K as seen on the jersey, but I accept there is a demand for plain black shorts.
At €170 each, the jersey and bib shorts are at the upper-end of the price range for cycling kit, placing them alongside other professional-standard kits from brands who also provide apparel to racers at the top of the sport.
However, Katusha Sports' Warm jersey and bib live up to the level of performance expectation and I look forward to trying more from the brand soon.