As one of the big three component manufacturers, sometimes Shimano’s line of soft goods is sometimes overshadowed by its extensive range of parts and accessories — this may be exacerbated by the fact the Japanese brand also owns major clothing brand Pearl Izumi.
However, Shimano makes a sizable range of cycling clothing, with its top-of-the-line S-Phyre gear originally designed in collaboration with the Jumbo Visma (at the time LottoNL-Jumbo) before the team changed apparel sponsors.
As with its groupsets, the Japanese brand makes clothing across the entire spectrum of prices and performance levels, and looks pretty good too. Read on for our picks of Shimano’s road clothing.
The S-Phyre kit was the clothing initially designed in collaboration with Jumbo Visma, and was intended to not only help the team perform better, but also keep them comfortable after six-plus hours on the bike. The S-Phyre Jersey sees a one-piece seamless design that hugs your body, wrinkle-free, and is devoid of seams to prevent pinching and binding. The pockets are anatomically placed to allow for easy access to food or layers.
The bibs are made from a knitted fabric designed to offer pleasant compression and support for your muscles, and to maximize breathability and moisture transfer. Shimano was so concerned with ventilation and comfort that it went as far as knitting the logos into the fabric rather than printing them on at the end of manufacturing. The real star of the show, however, is the Chamois Shimano has sewn into the S-Phyre bib shorts. The pad sees an articulating rear section with separate left and right wings, allowing each side to move independently with your body. The 3D contouring in the pad places more cushion on the sides to facilitate easier movement on the saddle while also reducing bulk.
Picking up on where Shimano left off with the S-Phyre kit, the S-Phyre Flash features an updated fit and materials to hug body contours for wrinkle-free fit. The front panel of the jersey is made from a lightweight, stretchy woven fabric, with a more rigid knitted material on the back, creating a balance of structuring and stretch. The rigid material at the back prevents the pockets from bouncing when they are fully loaded.
The Bibs are made from a woven lycra designed to provide the right amount of compression, to support your muscles as they fatigue, and to help prevent leg and knee warmers from creeping down over the course of a ride. The bibs are also tailored to fit and move with your body, and such don’t need a gripper on the lower cuff to hold everything in place. Inside, the four-layer S-Phyre Chamois provides plenty of shock absorption and breathability, and the back third of the pad is split to allow it to move with your sits bones.
Shimano S-Phyre Wind Jacket and Vest
Thermoregulating cold weather jackets and vest
Sizes available: XS | Waterproof: No | Windproof: Yes
37C Temp Regulation tech
Brushed interior Tall collar
As the temperature drops, having the right gear will be the difference between a good ride outside, and one that has you second-guessing heading out. Not all cold-weather rides need waterproofs, and wind jackets and vests will keep you warm, but also do a much better job managing heat and moisture than waterproofs, while still being able to shed a light drizzle.
Shimano’s Wind Jacket and Wind Vest are made from the same AW fabric, which is designed around Shimano’s 37C Temperature regulation technology. This textile designed to keep the temperature inside the jacked constant regardless of whether you’re flying down a frigid descent, or in the depths of a VO2 max interval. The interior is brushed for next to skin comfort, has a tall collar to prevent the cold from sneaking in over the top, and features three pockets on the exterior to hold all your bits.
Shimano S-Phyre Wind Bib Long Tights
Wind and waterproof tights for arctic riding
Sizes available: XS | Waterproof: Yes | Windproof: Yes
With or without chamois
Bib vest for extra warmth
When the mercury falls out of the thermometer’s bottom, the S-Phyre Wind Tights use a mix of waterproof and windproof fabrics in key locations to prevent chills and saturated clothing. The bib straps are further insulated and form a sort of interior vest to keep your core warm and feature a double zipper for easy nature breaks — for dudes that is, sorry ladies.
The interior of the bib tights is brushed for next to skin comfort; they are available with or without the S-Phyre Chamois sewn in — so you can bring your own bibs if you prefer.
Shimano S-Phyre Socks
Socks are socks, but these are special
Sizes available: S-XL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
When we first saw socks were included with the original S-Phyre shoes, we laughed at all of Shimano’s claims about strategically placed padding, compression, and support. And then we pulled them onto our feet, and it all made sense.
We can’t definitely say whether or not the engineered arch actually offers support and reduces fatigue, or if the mesh zones enhance ventilation, or even if the padding on the top of the foot really relieves any pressure or protects against impacts. What we can say is they are some of the most comfortable socks we’ve ever worn, and have spent our own money on quite a few subsequent pairs.
Shimano Evolve Jersey and bibs
World tour tech, without the price
Sizes available: XS-XXL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
Laser cut vents
Slotting in below the S-Phyre gear is the Evolve Jersey and bibs, which borrows quite a few design features from it’s more expensive brand mates.
Based on a more relaxed ‘performance fit,’ the fabric used in the jersey has quite a bit of stretch built to hug the contours of your body without binding or bunching. The Evolve top is designed for riding in the heat, featuring laser-cut vents on the front and back panels, as well as under the arms, to literally dump heat as your ride. Furthering the heat management are mesh panels sewn on the inside of the underarm and back. The thinking is that these function as a built-in base layer and will efficiently wick moisture from your skin and start the evaporative process. Three large pockets on the rear have room for a smorgasbord of snacks, layers, and spares, and the jersey is rated to UPF50+ sun protection.
Designed with Shimano’s Evolve chamois, the Evolve shorts are ideal for long days spent in the saddle, especially when the pavement becomes broken or even disappears. The pad features a bit more padding than the S-Phyre version to quell vibrations and keep your derriere happy in the saddle. The lower part of the shorts is made of a supportive fabric that holds its shape and provides the right amount of compression. Shimano has included a sneaky pocket on the leg to keep snacks to hand, and the outside hem is reflective to maximize low light visibility. The lay-flat bib straps are essentially a wide lycra brace that doesn’t irritate your skin and sees an open mesh back for plenty of breathability.
Shimano Evolve Wind Jacket
Cold weather jacket with extra insulation
Sizes available: XS-XXL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: Yes
Relaxed fit allows for layers
Doesn’t scream bike dork
Like the Evolve Jersey, the Wind Jacket leans heavily on trickle-down technology from the S-Phyre range. The bulk of the jacket is made from the brand’s AW fabric providing protection from the wind and cold, and benefits from the 37C Temperature regulation technology; the fabric is air permeable and sees laser-cut vents on the back and underarms for heat management. While the jacket is DWR treated, it is not waterproof and is only designed to combat biting winds.
What’s really unique about the Evolve jacket is that it comes with a packable insulated dicky, which Shimano calls a ‘Thermal Plus Windshield. It’s essentially a puffy quilt that can be stuffed down the front of the jacket for extra insulation — like the newspaper trick we’ve seen world tour pros use over the years. The cut errs more on the club fit side of things, which means it will fit the vast majority of riders better and allows for more layers underneath.
Shimano Climbers Jersey
Lightweight budget friendly jersey
Sizes available: XS-XXL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
Micro perforated fabric
While it may be called a climbers jersey, the Shimano version is not quite the same as the translucent tops from Castelli and Rapha — nor does it have as heavy a price tag. Instead, it’s a top made of lightweight perforated fabric that breathes and transfers moisture with the best of them.
With a slightly more relaxed fit, your riding buddies won’t notice your Iso pounds; the material is hyper-efficient at wicking moisture off your body and doesn’t cling to your skin as the sweat begins to pour. On the back are three decent sized pockets, including a sweatproof pocket for your valuables. Better still, it’s priced under a hundred bucks.
Shimano Breakaway bibshorts
Ultra durable bibs that don’t break the bank
Sizes available: XS-XXXL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
Performance 8 chamois
Priced at about a hundred bucks, Shimano’s Breakaway bibs feature the brand’s Performance 8 all-round chamois, which offers a medium level of padding and support. Every design choice Shimano has made with the Breakaway bibs is based around longevity and durability; the shorts are made from durable lycra that maintains its shape, so you won’t have the saggy butt or see-through bibs after plenty of use. At the bottom of the 11in inseam shops, there is a wide gripper to hold everything in place, and the shorts feature retrieve elements throughout to enhance visibility.
The bib straps are made from lightweight open mesh to promote airflow and moisture management without rubbing or pinching.
Shimano Transit Pavement Jersey
Gravel kit that doesn’t scream bike dork
Sizes available: S-XXL | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
Soft touch fabric
One of the side effects we love about the explosion of gravel cycling is that more casual gravel bike clothing are beginning to permeate through the ranks. One such piece is the Transit Pavement Jersey.
Made with a lightweight poly blend that’s soft on the skin, the fabric excels when it comes to moisture management and UV protection. Better still, it resists odour better than a gas station air freshener; and the casual fit means when you walk into a gas station for some fuel, or your Apres ride spot for a beer and some nachos, it doesn’t scream bike dork. The jersey features a small rear pocket as well as a zippered breast pocket for snacks and spares. The jersey also features reflective detailing on the rear of the jersey to help you be seen in less than ideal lighting.
Shimano Transit Shorts
Techy baggies for gravel adventures
Sizes available: 32-38in waist | Waterproof: No | Windproof: No
Hip pockets on both sides
Belt loops Reflective
Mountain bikers have been wearing baggies for years. Essentially a set of shorts you pull on over the top of your bibs, beyond just looks, they create a slip plane which when you eventually crash reduces a bit of abrasion.
Baggies are beginning to catch on in the gravel sphere, and the Transit Pat shorts are ideal for long miles on knobby tires. They feature a cycling-specific cut so they won’t bunch or bind, and utilize stretch fabrics for max range of moment. Deep side pockets made for easy access to your phone, tools or keys, and tech fabrics prevent them from being overcome by sweat. The Transit Pants also feature reflective piping on the back pockets, something most mountain bike shorts don’t have.