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Friday
Jun222012

Retro style jerseys

A couple of weeks ago I received and email from Solo Cycling Clothing, a company from New Zealand that in April this year opened up a new branch in the US. They offered to send me a jersey to try out and review it here.

I am quite picky when it comes to reviewing products and I often turn down such offers; however, this one caught my attention because these jerseys were retro style, designed after those worn by pro riders from the 1950s through the 1970s.

This was my era, the period when I raced, when shorts only came in black, and jerseys were simple, tasteful designs, with a team name and that was it.

Paul Mason the founder of Solo said the company was born out dissatisfaction with the style of contemporary cycle clothing. He states,

“While I had a deep respect for modern pro-cyclists, I didn’t particularly admire the ‘moving billboard’ look of modern team kit.

What I did love was the clothing worn by the pro-riders of the 1950's - 1970's. These were simple and powerful designs which demonstrated that less is more.

Talking with my friends and cycling acquaintances made me realize there were other cyclists who felt the same.”

In certain cycling circles today it is frowned on to wear the modern team kit. My feelings are if a guy, or girl for that matter, is 20 or 30 something and looks like a pro, they can carry it off.

But if the cyclist has a middle age spread, and let’s face it many of us do, to be decked out in full team regalia with matching tops and bottoms is not always a pretty sight. Especially when sporting hairy legs, and a helmet with a sun-vizor.

My jersey arrived last week, it was a blue and black St. Neith design. (Picture left.)

Unfortunately I had ordered a Medium size, when I should have gone for the Large.

Not only was it too tight, it was too short and I had to struggle to reach the back pockets.

However, all was not lost; my wife who is now my regular riding partner found that it fitted her perfectly.

We did a longish ride of 40 plus miles last Sunday, and one of the first things my wife remarked on was the fact that the jersey didn’t ride up like her other jersey did. This was due to a rubber gripper strip that is sewn inside the bottom edge of the jersey. (Picture below.)

I’m sure this strip will also support the jersey when the pockets are fully loaded. I prefer to carry all I need on a long ride in my jersey pockets rather than have miscellaneous bags attached to my bike.

These jerseys, although retro in style, are made with the modern materials that wick sweat, keep you cool, and are easy to wash after a ride. An extremely well made product, and the price reflects this.

A nice retro touch is the knitted collar and sleeve cuffs. An extra zippered pocket on the right side rear is handy for money, keys and other stuff you don’t want to drop while pulling some other item from your pockets.

The jerseys are not replica jerseys, and do not represent actual teams of yester-year; but rather are unique designs inspired by retro jerseys. My wife loves the one Solo sent me, and will keep it. I am impressed enough that I will buy another in my size.

The US company's website is http://www.solocycleclothing.com/

The New Zealand company is http://www.solocc.com/

 

                       

Reader Comments (5)

Nice jerseys BUT expensive. Guess you get what you pay for. Like you said Dave In OUR dark days any shade of Black you want was the only thing we wore. My mom did hand knit me a sweater in the Midland C&AC club dark blue and light blue colours, That I wore most times, or a woolie when cold. The club in the mid 50s did have a jersey and I still have one, almost still fits! I do agree that I do not like to look like a billboard when riding, but I do have several Mercian Jerseys,One is vintage in wool and also two PDM Concorde jerseys that I wear when riding the Plastic.

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

Grumpy grump i have a very old mercian short sleeved jersey. Its xtra small and amazingly i still fit in it.
Its the red and blue one with campagnolo written on it.
Very long and now just a bit tight but boy its very small.
It still has the dreaded words , hand wash only in it.

I wear it odd times but if its hot it quickly becomes wet through in sweat.
How you lot raced in them god only knows

Darren h

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarren h

I have three of the four jerseys pictured here, plus two others. I think these are the most beautiful jerseys available, I've received many comments from other riders! They can really only be paired with black shorts, any other color would be a distraction. Super well made, the colors don't fade, and Paul at Solo is a great help. These are pretty much the only jerseys I wear anymore.

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTimJ

Darren H. Just remember that we raced them in ENGLAND in the cold and wet You are right they get VERY heavy with water on them, Finish the race strip off and put clean? dry woolies on, Had a compartment in the bike bag for wet stuff. The one I have now is the one you have and I only wear it in the cooler months I also have it in long sleve one even has Campagnolo on it. I have a 1950 Mercian and 2005 Mercian.

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

I have never come across a long sleeved Mercian top. I tend to use retro tops for most of my riding.
I have a few santini jerseys. Salvarini, St Raphael etc etc
I still use my KAS yellow jersey that I often wear. I have a long sleeved Raleigh one simply because I worked there.
I dont think I could bring myself to wear a modern team jersey and dont get me started on riders who wear a yellow jersey or rainbow jersey.
Incidentally the point Dave makes about having everything in his jersey pockets.
I still put my stuff in the second bidon on my seat tube. Another old tip.

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarren H

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