Pacto, a Portuguese brand founded in 2009, is relatively new to the North American market. The cycling apparel brand was created by former professional cyclists Pedro Cardoso and Afonso Azevedo. After a 15 year career in the peloton, Cardoso decided to take what he knew about the demands and requirements of cycling gear and develop a line of clothing in his home country of Portugal.
In Canada, 21 Stages Cycling distributes Pacto, and also manages the brand’s custom program for Canadian customers. I was curious to explore Pacto’s winter and spring range, so I grabbed a willing men’s kit tester (Oskar Russwurm, local Toronto West-end bike guy) and we got riding.
Overall, we were both impressed with the quality of the gear. In person, the kit looks clean and smooth, and the fabric feels strong.
Using the Pacto online ‘Size Chart’, which is specific to items, we had a bit of trouble figuring out fit. The product measurements are listed but not the body measurements, so, after a bit of confusion, we just went with our standard sizing. We found the kit fit a bit on the small size—if you generally sit between sizes you should definitely size up.
Pacto Mens Black Long Sleeve Water Resistant Sweater
The Pacto Mens Black Long Sleeve Water Resistant Sweater is a deep black colour with a clean silhouette. Part of Pacto’s winter range, it was developed for cyclists who ride on cold and possibly rainy days.
Though it has a tight cut, Oskar says that the jacket easily fit a base layer underneath and felt good to move in. “The jacket is very warm,” he says, as a person who can get a bit chilly if not dressed properly. Pacto says the Long Sleeve Water Resistant Sweater is suitable for temperatures from 5-18 degrees celsius, but Oskar says he would wear the jacket down to zero degrees—”beyond that I’d need something fluffier,” he says, noting that it works especially well for dark and unpredictable spring weather. “For Canadians it’s a 0-10 degrees jacket.”
The jacket’s water repellent fabric has an ISO 4 water resistance rating on a scale of 1 to 5 and the three rear pockets have a hi-vis band above them.
Pacto Mens Black Long Sleeve Water Resistant Sweater $175 at 21 Stages Cycling
Pacto Womens Black-Pink Laser Winter Bib Tights
The Pacto Womens Black-Pink Laser Winter Bib Tights kept me warm on every ride I wore them. The fleecy interior fabric is warm and soft. I couldn’t tell if the upper fabric is intentionally slightly lighter when stretched or if it was because I had selected a slightly-too-small size. Either way I didn’t mind the two-toned look of the bibs tights, whose black design is enhanced with four hi-vis strips on the upper and lower portion of the rear pant legs.
The women’s specific shammy felt pretty good. Though it’s not the thickest, I liked the level of resistance in the padding and it gave me no discomfort, even on a full day ride. The other women’s specific feature on the bibs, the word “Woman” on the leg, was a little unexpected. Someone bundled up completely in winter gear might like to remind the rider they just dropped that they’re a woman, but I personally don’t love a constant reminder of my gender identity just below my butt (that might just be me).
Pacto Womens Black-Pink Laser Winter Bib Tights $146 at 21 Stages Cycling
Pacto Mens Green Carbon Long Sleeve Jersey
I was convinced this men’s jersey would not fit me and my hips, so I was very pleasantly surprised when the Pacto Mens Green Carbon Long Sleeve Jersey not only zipped up, but felt great as well. Men’s sizing for this item is relatively standard, though if you’re on the larger end of a size I would say size up. As a women’s size S, I went with the XXS jersey and it fit very snugly.
The colour of this Carbon Long Sleeve Jersey is one of my favourite aspects of it—the forest green feels very current. The top also comes in other colours: Blue, grey, neon green, army green and black.
Fabric-wise, the jersey is built with 250 g/m² thermal fabric and a micro-carbon fibre fabric to allow for freedom of movement. It fits best when in a cycling position, which makes sense because its “J-Stability System” was designed with the position of a cyclist in mind.
Small details of the design of this jersey were what sold me on the quality of the product. Its thick and warm collar, zippered side pocket, hi-vis detailing, protective zipper flaps and tight, comfortable wrist cuffs are all great little touches. The slightly concave cut of the bottom also felt great, especially when I had a belly full of pizza post-ride.
Pacto Mens Green Carbon Long Sleeve Jersey $174, on sale for $143 at 21 Stages Cycling
Pacto Mens Black Waterproof Winter Shoe Covers
The Pacto Mens Black Waterproof Winter Shoe Covers are another item listed under men’s that I had no problem fitting into, even with my size 37.5 feet. The black shoe covers have a shiny, wet look, with clean white “Pacto” branding on the side.
Once on, the covers don’t move at all, held in place by stretchy but firm fabric and a tight upper closure. They’re very waterproof—sealed stitching and a waterproof zipper really keep any splashes at bay—but I wouldn’t wear them for deep winter riding in Canada, as the fabric isn’t amazing at for warmth.
Pacto Mens Black Waterproof Winter Shoe Covers, $65 at 21 Stages Cycling
Pacto Mens Black Winter Bib Tights
Like the water resistant sweater, the Pacto Mens Black Winter Bib Tights are highly water repellent and will keep riders toasty for four to five hours in cold conditions. “The tights are very warm,” says Oskar. They’re also tight—like, really tight. Oskar, a solid size small in most kit, found that the size small bib tights felt good but almost constricted his movement the first time he wore them—a medium would’ve likely been a better choice.
“The shammy is really good,” he says. A positive shammy review means a decent amount coming from Oskar—through many long rides I’ve listened to his strong opinions on inadequate shammies.
The thick back portion of the bib straps have the same “Winter” design that can be found subtly printed on the matching top. Oskar compared the straps to Castelli‘s—narrow but long enough to be comfortable.
Pacto Mens Black Winter Bib Tights, $199 at 21 Stages Cycling