Perhaps if we weren’t Swiss, things might look different.

Perhaps winter wouldn’t be such a fascination for us.

Perhaps we wouldn’t invest as much effort into making the most of the season.

We love the crispness in the air and the glistening of the frost on the valley floor, the way it subsides during the course of the morning, leaving dewy drops on certain branches. In some places the frost remains for the whole day, especially in the shady parts, but those roads don’t feature in our routes at this time. Like London or New York’s most experienced taxi drivers, our internal GPS navigates us toward the smoothest, sunniest, and safest tarmac. The bits that catch the sun, the bits where we can still pick up speed and train. We love the long shadows that are cast by the sun that never truly rises; they illustrate our progression in this season––the one period of the year in which we, as athletes, can truly make a difference to our performance. When we ride, we know that as athletes we’re in a phase of building our engines with every pedal stroke, every long ride completed. The roads that we know so well look different without the vegetation. We look through the trees, rather than at them, and it unlocks a new perspective of the landscape.

In a winter cycling context, most of all, we feel a certain pride; it’s only the serious who go out in this weather. The adverse conditions found in this season can be perceived as a barrier of entry for the majority and it makes us feel we’re part of a certain club, with all the perks and glory that goes with this season.

This mindset overflows into our Advanced Creative Design Centre, where our prototypes are sketched, realised, revised and refined, and where we do not follow any preset rules for winter apparel. On every ride through the foothills of the Swiss Alps and along the shore of Lake Lugano, we’re driven by a necessity that has remained virtually unchanged since we began, 44 years ago. We’re guided by a need for equipment that not only works in this severe environment but also supports performance.

The EQUIPE RS 3/3 Capsule Collection is the closest we’ve got to satisfying our own demands, so far.

Here’s what you need to know;

  1. Innovation, evolved: The 3-part upper body system of the EQUIPE RS 3/3 taps into our acclaimed Bonka technology and evolves it, keeping the design fundamentals the same: reduction, breathability, performance. The decades spent researching physiology and exertion effects, as well as analysing weather conditions, climates and altitudes, are all deeply embedded in the new capsule. During these years of development, we have determined the parameters that allow a rider to most efficiently unleash watts without suffering through excessive sweating, unwanted cooling, or added bulk. Every panel you see on the 3/3 Capsule is strategically beneficial to your ride, and fabric choice is critical.

Winter has three climates to consider: For those who lump-define winter into just one season, you have not yet ridden enough. Experience has taught us to define it as Winter, Winter Ultraz, and Winter Wet. Each one asks for a different approach to best counter the conditions, but they all centre around the johDah––one part of the three-piece system. Wear it alone during most winter conditions, or pair it with your Thermobooster Mid Layer for added (ULTRAZ) insulation for the coldest, harshest days. For extra coverage in wet or extra-demanding weather, deploy your Alleycat Clima Capsule over the top.

Breathability is key: For the 3/3 Capsule we’ve utilized an entirely new proprietary fabric called SPHERE. Every single item in the capsule benefits from this advanced fabric, with body-mapped constructions using varying thicknesses and weights to create the optimal blend of flexible, low-bulk, heat-trapping warmth from head to toe.

Scandinavia, approved: Scandinavians are known for their fortitude, which is why we requested Edvald Boasson-Hagen’s participation in this project. He’s a powerful rider who has no choice but to train in these conditions. WorldTour riders won’t last long if they are confined indoors, so Edvald layers up and feels better for it. Come spring, he’ll have the distance in his legs to compete. His legs will recognise the familiar burn of hours spent turning circles, and his cardiovascular system will respond exactly as it should.

Layers, and how to use them: You set off and it’s 2–3 degrees Celsius. Your breath appears in front of you, briefly, but you cut through it, knowing exactly where you’re going, how long it should take and why you’re doing it. As the intensity of your effort increases, your body temperature has worked up and you remove the Mid Layer, rolling it and stowing it in the Thermobooster pocket. From here, you continue not just because you have to, but because you’re loving the silence of the roads. On a wetter day, when the frost is visible on your front porch and the mist hangs low, you add the Alleycat before leaving the house—your top layer, a shell to increase your visibility and trap the warmth that your body will create. It helps in these conditions. After a while, that too goes in a back pocket and you start to climb. The johDah’s internal chest protector is a big asset. You want to open the jacket as you climb — that’s normal — but do you risk over-cooling? Not with this one. This inner layer prevents your core from getting blasted by the cold air. You sweat less. You close it at the top. It’s time to go home and sit by the fire.

Winter with its harsh beauty is a tough season to tame. The EQUIPE RS 3/3 system is our way of equipping you—and us—with the necessary tools and one less excuse not to head out. Layer up and accept your invitation to the elite club of those who outride winter.