With road riding season upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re eagerly assembling our gear for everything from Saturday centuries to weekday laps in the park. As much as one’s kit is a matter of function, it’s also an avenue of expression. We’ve combed this season’s offerings for three distinctly different jersey and shorts offerings. From heritage-inspired wool to modern minimalism all the way to a scientifically proven visibility enhancing color scheme, here are our picks for hitting the road this season.
Vintage-Inspired: Rapha’s Cima Collection
Balancing on-the-bike performance with impeccable styling, London-based Rapha is the favorite of sartorially inclined cyclists the world over. The brand has a knack for integrating technical design cues into garments that recall wool-clad era of cycling’s early days, all the while achieving a contemporary aesthetic. The newly launched Cima Collection is the brand’s latest kit offering and pays homage to the 50th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia’s climbing award for the first rider to reach the race’s highest point.
The special edition Cima Jersey ($160) draws on a ’60s vibe, but is still fully breathable and stays dry on long rides thanks to Sportwool construction. Three pockets across the back give plenty of room for long ride essentials while a zippered side pocket is perfect for storing valuables. Each of the 16 mountain peaks are subtly printed on the back of the jersey in a Cima-inspired, mid-century modern typeface.
Pair the Cima Jersey with a set of Rapha’s Classic Bib Shorts ($235) to complete the kit. With flat-locked seams throughout, a specially designed chamois and a cut-away mesh upper, these shorts are built to last. Subtle branding and a flat black Lyrca material maintain a vintage aesthetic.
Minimalist: Giro’s Ride Series
For those looking to keep a low-profile on the bike, look no further than California-based Giro’s Ride Series. Over the past few years, the brand has re-examined its creative direction with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. The result is a collection that pulls influences from lifestyle apparel and effectively blurs the line between performance riding gear and casual apparel. The Ride LT Jersey ($100) symbolizes the elegant simplicity we’ve come to love Giro’s apparel for. A full-zip opening leads to a bomber-style collar, making this a great piece for riding in warmer weather. Meanwhile the high-stretch poly-spandex blend material features a Polygiene coating so you can get away without washing this one for a few rides. Ample pocket space with a secured zipper compartment and casual styling make this the perfect jersey for long summer rides that end at the bar.
Opting for long-term comfort, Giro didn’t hold back with materials when it comes to the Ride Bib Short ($150). The best bike shorts are the one’s you never notice and the brand took this to heart—both in terms of function and also aesthetics. Fully blacked-out with just a few hints of branding, it doesn’t get much more minimal in the bike shorts game. And after a handful of long rides in these bibs even minor discomforts fail to come up.
Visibility: POC’s AVIP Collection
Health and safety are at the heart of everything Stockholm-based sports company POC makes. The brand’s goal is to keep athletes upright and out of harm’s way as much as possible with all of their innovations driven by physicians and scientists. The brand’s helmets are considered to be among the most advanced, and their road apparel doesn’t disappoint. The expansive AVIP Collection (Attention, Visibility, Interaction, Protection) is predicated on visibility without sacrificing performance. In designing the collection, the team at POC collaborated with a wide range of professionals to develop the most recognizable vertical color scheme road.
One look at the kit makes it clear that POC’s research paid off as it’s hard not to notice the AVIP Short Sleeve Jersey ($170). The color-blocking makes the kit visible in all types of light while a big hit of reflectivity on the rear panel works to amplify the effect in low-light. Aside from the visibility factor, the jersey features several performance features like carefully placed stretch panels seam-free glued hems to eliminate chafing. Breathable four-way stretch fabric is not only comfortable on hot rides, it also comes with added UV protection.
Though the bulk of the visibility is in the jersey, the accompanying Contour 3D Bib Shorts ($250) aren’t without special features. Hits of visibility on the side compliment a large reflective panel on the rear, which when accompanied by the jersey makes for an attention-grabbing effect. POC’s bibs draw on extensive ergonomic research resulting in the 3D molded chamois for comfort and an uninhibited riding experience. Meanwhile the warp-knitted fabric has both breathability and compression properties for healthy muscle function on the bike. For safety-minded cyclists looking for a high performance kit, the AVIP is the pinnacle of the intersection of design and scientific research.
Images by Cool Hunting