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/