Giro Wind Guard ¼ Zip Jersey
Fabric and Features:
- Polartec ® Knit Grid Fleece: 84% Polyester / 16% Spandex 135 g/m 2
- Wind Guard Overlay: 94% Nylon / 6% Spandex 102 g/m 2,
- ¼ Zip Front
- Protective Wind Panels
Size Tested: Large
Rider: 5’8”, 160 lbs
Test Locations: Park City, UT; Moab, UT
Duration of Test: 2 Months
I’m always on the lookout for layers that let me ride comfortably in cold weather, which can be a challenge because of the high-output nature of biking.
Even in low temperatures, it’s easy to work up a good sweat if your layers don’t breathe, and then you’re wet, cold, and the ride becomes a lot less fun.
But it isn’t easy to find layers that provide warmth yet still breathe well. The Giro Wind Guard ¼ Zip Jersey offers a new take on riding clothing that aims to do exactly that, while not looking out of place off the bike.
At the start of any ride there is always a conflict between wanting to wear enough to feel warm and comfortable while standing still, and knowing that if you overdress, you will immediately have to shed a layer when you start moving.
The Wind Guard Jersey is so comfortable that I would often leave it on at the start of rides, but fortunately, this pullover has an impressive ability to handle excess body heat which kept me from regretting the decision to wear it.
The inside of the Wind Guard ¼ Zip is a very soft fleece with a stretchy backing that makes the cut comfortable and completely bind-free. The fabric is made by Polartec, and it reminded me a lot of Patagonia’s R1 fabric.
Giro adds windproof panels atop the fleece on the chest and shoulders of the pullover, and these panels help drive the versatility of the piece. When riding on cold mornings, I found the panels to add a lot of warmth by stopping wind from moving through the garment.
In turn, the plain fleece-backed material on the back of the pullover lets plenty of heat escape. So together, the fleece and windproof panels do a great job of both managing body heat and keeping cold air out.
The collar of the Wind Guard ¼ Zip Jersey is low, and strikes a good balance between keeping wind from getting in and letting heat out.
Additionally, the arms have thumbholes that let you pull the sleeves over your knuckles if your gloves are too thin for the weather.
I run pretty hot, and found that I was happy wearing this layer with just a wicking t-shirt underneath in temps between 35 and 55 degrees F.
Riding in the fall or spring, I’d reach for this pullover unless I knew that I was going to do a ride with a long, hot climb followed by a cold descent, or a ride in the rain. Then I’d grab a packable windbreaker or a rain jacket.
The design and construction of the Wind Guard ¼ Zip are great, but the fit was a bit bit too boxy on me. I’m 5’8” and not super skinny, but definitely not large either. I usually wear Medium-sized clothing, but the sleeve length and shoulder width in a size Large in the Wind Guard were ideal for a close but not tight fit on me. I typically try to size to my shoulders and arm length, and so I went with the Large for this test.
The waist and torso area on the Wind Guard ¼ Zip are not tapered at all, so it hangs a bit loose around my waist. I could have stepped down to a Medium to alleviate this, but then it would have been tighter than I would have liked on my arms and shoulders.
This issue is pretty minor, but it did make figuring out sizing a bit challenging. If you are on the skinny side of things or like your clothing to fit snuggly, I’d suggest you order your usual size. If you like slightly looser fitting clothing I’d recommend sizing up. In either case though, you’d be best served by trying on both your regular size and the next largest size
Also, FYI: the description of the Wind Guard ¼ Zip on Giro’s website mentions a stow pocket on the sleeve, but my pullover didn’t have one. After contacting Giro, it turns out that the Wind Guard is not actually supposed to have this pocket, it’s simply an error on their website.
Not only did I ride regularly in the Giro Wind Guard 1/4 Zip Jersey, I also wore it when I wasn’t riding because I like the look and the fit. It is a comfortable piece of gear that is remarkably warm for how breathable it is, and it makes riding in the early spring or late fall much more fun. You’ll have to see whether the fit works for you, but if you pick one up, you might find that it becomes a staple in your riding wardrobe.