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eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey

The folks at the local bike shop claim that a cycling jersey is the last purchase most new cyclists make. Apparently, when people decide to take up cycling they usually get a helmet at the same time they buy their new bike, then a few days later come back to buy padded cycling shorts. Some time later they come back to buy cycling shoes and finally a cycling jersey. I imagine one of the reasons they wait on buying the jersey is the cost. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality cycling jersey. The folks at eCyclingstore.com recently sent me a eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey for review purposes—this jersey is very inexpensive, yet it performs as well are jerseys that cost three times as much.

eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey

eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey

The eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey is made of a DryMax Polyester fabric. This “waffle style” fabric is extremely lightweight and very breathable. I’ve ridden with this jersey during the most humid days we’ve had this summer and it wicks moisture away from the skin as well as any of other jerseys I own.

The front of this jersey has a full-length zipper—you can zip it all the way up when you get cold or unzip it entirely for extra ventilation. It also has an elastic waist and cuffs to keep the jersey in place. One of the best things about this jersey are the three large storage pockets on the back. Some jerseys have such shallow pockets that I am scared to put my cell phone in them for fear of it falling out. The pockets on this jersey are large enough to hold my cell phone and enough carbohydrate gels and bars for a long ride.

eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey

Deep Pockets On The eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey

The eCycle Criterium Cycling Jersey is available in four different colors (White, Red, Blue, and Neon Yellow). This jersey comes in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL) and is true to advertized size. However, since not all manufacturers define sizes the same way, it is important that you consult the eCyclingstore sizing guide before placing your order. This jersey retails for $60, but it is currently on sale for only $25 (this has to be one of the best buys on cycling clothing you can find).

This jersey, along with hundreds of other styles, is available from the eCyclingstore.com Website. I spend a lot of time researching cycling products and eCyclingstore.com has the largest selection of cycling jerseys I have ever seen! They offer a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” that you won’t find at most other places (“If you are unhappy with any purchase from eCyclingstore.com, just let us know within 30 days of your purchase and we’ll refund, exchange, or credit your purchase.”). They also offer free shipping on orders over $50.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Bicycle Clothing, Product Reviews

 

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Lululemon Cycling Clothing For Women

Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago one of the marketing people from Lululemon Athletica, the premiere manufacturer of women’s sports clothing, asked if I would be willing to review a few of their new products. Obviously there was no way I could do the testing, so I asked Anna, a fellow cyclist and friend of mine, to try these products out and write a review.

I am an avid cyclist who one day found myself next to the one and only All Seasons Cyclist. That was three years ago and now every June I join him on his quest for miles on two wheels throughout the summer. I would say I’m an experienced and dedicated female rider and here’s a little about my riding history before I give this review. 15 years ago I began commuting to work and found I really loved riding a bike. After about a year of Chicago city riding I went on a long distance ride from Minneapolis to Chicago in five days, many of which were centuries. Since then I have ridden RAGBRAI, a ride across the state of Iowa, for the last nine years, and this year will be my tenth. I have also taught spin classes after becoming a regular groupie during the winter months. I am not as crazy/dedicated as All Seasons Cyclist, but I’m not retired either—I am a teacher, a job I chose partly to indulge my love of cycling! So, when he asked me if I would do a review for Lululemon Athletica I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I have seen some of their pieces and have thought they were very well styled towards the female athlete.

I was sent three pieces to test out. The Presta Jersey, the Presta Vest, and the Presta Padded Short. In all three the fabrics felt amazing, and the fit was true to size.

Lululemon Presta Women's Cycling Jersey

Lululemon Presta Women’s Cycling Jersey

The Presta Jersey ($78.00). Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways… First, you look fantastic in this jersey—no easy feat in spandex! It’s performance matches it’s looks as well, and I find you usually have to sacrifice one for the other. At $78.00 it’s something you might think about—so let me tell you, don’t over-think it. I went out on a very hot day (96 high) skeptical of wearing black, however it breathes very well with most of the back being a fine mesh (not see through) and has two back pockets about 6” deep. It has a generous length in back; you will never get sunburnt on your waist with this jersey. Also, it has the cutest reflection detail, though not much of it; a ruffle of reflective material is sewn on the back seam across the top at the yoke.

Now, why I think the Presta Jersey looks fantastic—I have an athletic build rather than a lanky one and I don’t look great in everything even though I’m in shape. I have narrow shoulders and this jersey has great details. At the shoulders they have two sets of pleats that offer a subtle “blousiness” in the cap sleeve, just a hint, but I instantly had wider shoulders. Another flattering detail is that the front zipper is about 10” long—perfect to open up on a hot day but not long enough for the unsightly bulge where the zipper stops on jerseys that unzip to your belly button. Also, both “All Season” and I decided that it looked so good you could throw on a skirt wrap over your shorts and wear it out when not cycling! I give the Presta Jersey 5 out of 5 stars for both functionality and style! I wish I had one for everyday—I’d never wear anything else!

Lululemon Presta Women's Cycling Vest

Lululemon Presta Women’s Cycling Vest

Last week I wore the Presta Vest ($98.00). It’s summer, so I just wore it over my sports bra as a sleeveless jersey. This vest is available in three colors: Black, White, and Ray (a hi-vis yellow). I received the hi-vis yellow and I never felt so visible! I’ve never worn something so bright and I instantly felt safer around cars. It was pretty windy with a chilly breeze coming off Lake Michigan and the wind repelling features on the vest worked great. The front of the vest is made of what Lululemon calls E-glyde coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent). I’m pretty sure the water-repellent works. Although we went out on a rainy day, we never quite got more than a sprinkle. However, during some warm patches it did get a little “sticky”, leaving me to believe in it’s water repelling capabilities, but I just unzipped a little and with the mesh panels was still comfortable. As far as wearing it for rain I truly believe all the E-Glyde with DWR parts of the vest will keep you dry, but the back of the vest is mostly mesh save for a ruffled flap over your derriere that has a longer mesh underneath. So you will get wet, but I believe the idea is that your front and rear will be less wet.

The pockets are more to the side than on the back—I did lose an energy bar out of one, but then I used this thing called a zipper conveniently located right on the pocket! The vest also featured feminine details that make you feel like you have a bit of style and sophistication, instead of just feeling gross and sweaty after a long ride. It has the same ruffled reflective detail as the jersey (slightly different placement), and the ruffle on the back just makes you feel cute (but not too much). The vest has a full zipper, but no zipper bulges. I give the vest 5 out of 5 stars as well—you will be seen, no doubt about it, and great wind protection as well. If you are looking for something to keep you dry in full on rain then skip it, but otherwise a great vest alone or as a layer.

Now for the Presta Padded Short ($88.00). The length is nice, just above the knee—no grippy elastic, but they were long enough that I don’t think it matters. Again, as with the Presta Jersey and Vest, some flattering details, low waist in front and reflective ruffle detail on the thighs. The waist is also wide which is nice, preventing “roll-down” when bent over and it features two small mesh pockets in the back along the waist so if you want to leave the jersey at home there is a bit of storage.

I so wanted to love these shorts—high on looks, but no stars on functionality. If you need a padded seat, these fall short. It’s not that the pad is not thick, although it isn’t; it’s the way it’s made. I put them on and started down the street and turned around by the end of the block. I ride a road bike with a hard saddle—no gel covers or anything and I am conditioned to riding that way. The seams in this short are not hidden and are in the wrong place. There is an 1/8 inch rise from the short to the pad, which stops halfway under your rear where you make contact with the seat, cutting the sit bone contact point in half. I could also feel the seam along the inner thigh area as well. “But they’re so cute” my inside voice is saying. However, at the end of the day, cute isn’t what I reach for when need it to perform. If you ride a recumbent and want to look the part, then totally buy these shorts.

You can order Lululemon Athletica products from the company Website, or from retailers in eleven countries, including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. If you can’t find a retail outlet in your area, you can also find many of their products on Amazon.com.

 

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Lightweights Hi-Visibility Scotchlite Reflectors For Bicycle Wheels

I have a horrible confession to make: Every time I buy a new bike the first thing I do when I get home is remove the wheel reflectors (and in the process probably violate numerous State, Federal and Intergalactic laws). I have a few bikes that are never used on the roads and my Trek Madone is not allowed outside after dusk. However, on my bikes that I do ride at night I have installed something far better than standard wheel reflectors—Lightweights For Wheels.

Lightweights Hi-Visibility Scotchlite Reflectors For Cyclists

Lightweights Are Barely Visible In Daylight

Lightweights For Wheels are small reflective strips that are applied to your spokes one at a time and the installation process takes about 15 minutes per wheel. The self-adhesive strips will go on much easier in warm weather and make sure you clean the spokes with alcohol before attempting to apply them to remove any road grime. These strips are made of 3M Scotchlite™ and in my experience 3M makes that best reflective material you can buy.

Once Lightweights For Wheels are installed on your spokes you probably won’t even notice them in the daylight—the reflective material matches most silver spokes perfectly. However, once the sun goes down your wheels will be visible from all directions, and when the bike is moving these tiny reflectors really stand out! I need to point out that light needs to be directly aimed at these reflectors for greatest benefit (like the headlights from a car). If you want to test these strips out just take your bike into a dark garage and hold a flashlight at eye level and aim it at your bike (get ready to be impressed).

Lightweights reflective tape for bicycles and cyclists

Lightweights Really Pop When Light Shines On Them

One of the great things about Lightweights For Wheels is that they only add 2 grams of weight per tire, as opposed to the 16 to 32 grams that you would have with standard bike reflectors. In addition, these reflectors will never fall off and they are brighter than the reflectors that come with most bikes. You will also appreciate the fact that these reflectors are perfectly balanced (unlike the lopsided weight from a standard wheel reflector).

A package of Lightweights For Wheels retails for $15 and should be available at your local bike shop. Each package has 75 reflective rectangles for spokes, along with nine circles and two ovals that you can use on other places on your bike, helmet or seat bag.

Note: The white ring on the tire in the photo above is from the reflective strip that is built into my Continental Touring Plus Road Bike Tire.

 

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Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove For Cyclists

I ride all year long and in all weather conditions, so over the years I have acquired a lot of cycling wear. Without any hesitation at all I would tell anyone that Pearl Izumi is my favorite manufacturer of cycling clothing—they are known for their high quality products. However, even a great company can sometimes let a product go to market that doesn’t live up their normally high standards. One such product is the Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove.

Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove

Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove

The Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove has many great features. The first thing that drew my attention to this full-fingered glove was the Hi-Vis Screaming Yellow color (it is also available in solid black). Since I often ride in low-light situations I always appreciate gloves that allow motorists to see my hand signals, and very few gloves are as effective at this as the Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove. This glove also has reflective elements for additional low-light visibility. The fabric on this glove provides great insulation, odor-resistance, and moisture transfer. You will also find a soft fleece wiping surface on thumb and the silicone grips on the palms are the best I’ve seen in any cycling glove.

These are thermal gloves and they do an excellent job at keeping your hands warm, even though the gloves are very lightweight. These gloves are designed for cool weather, not the heart of winter. No glove can possibly work at all temperatures, but I think these gloves are very well suited for days when the temperature is in the 40’s.

Unfortunately, one fatal flaw makes this glove a product that I could not recommend to any cyclist—there is absolutely no padding on the palms (zip, zero, nada). Normally I wear cycling products out on at least five rides before I write a product review for them. However, these gloves were so painful that after one ride I knew I would never wear them again. I took these gloves out for a 50-mile ride, but had to turn around and head home after just ten miles because my hands were so numb because of the lack of padding in the palms.

The Pearl Izumi Thermal Glove retails for $25 and is available at most bike shops. If your local bike shop does not carry this glove you can easily order it from online retailers. I believe the glove is true to size, and while I cannot recommend it for cycling, I think any runner would love them!

 

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Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I knew where he could find a hi-vis yellow bicycle helmet. I told him that I had searched every supplier I could think of in the United States and had turned up empty. My friend was a bit more persistent than I was and he finally found the Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet. The problem was that Hardnutz is located in the UK and he had a difficult time finding anyone who would ship to the US. However, he finally found Ski-WebUSA.com (located in Minnesota) and they were able to ship the helmet to him (I bought one as well).

Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet

Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet

The Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet is a well-designed bicycle helmet with a bright, hi-vis yellow outer shell. To help motorists see you at night this helmet also has 13 large reflective 3M Scotchlite panels. To keep you cool in warm weather the helmet has 21 air vents (and they work well). The chin strap is sturdy and very easy to adjust. At only 251g, this helmet very lightweight and once it was on my head I couldn’t tell the difference between it and the Trek Circuit Helmet I normally use.

This helmet is only available in one size (54-62cms). I am of average height and weight and this helmet fit me well, but if you cannot wear a normal cycling helmet you probably won’t be able to wear this one either. The fit is adjusted by a “dial-fit adjuster” on the back of the helmet. The helmet also has a removable visor.

As an added bonus, this helmet includes a rain proof carry bag that can be used as a helmet protector or a reflective backpack (the reflective strip is fairly large).

If you live in an area where motorists are more likely to pay attention to hi-vis orange than hi-vis yellow, you are in luck—SkiwebUSA.com also sells the Hardnutz Hi-Vis Orange Bicycle Helmet with the same specifications as the hi-vis yellow. I live just south of the Wisconsin border and I know for a fact that most people on the other side of the “Cheddar Curtain” have a great deal of reverence for Blaze Orange, especially during hunting season (they are also known to venerate anything that has a Green Bay Packers logo on it).

The Hardnutz Hi-Vis Yellow Bicycle Helmet retails for $85 including postage. I’ve ridden in this helmet long enough to tell you it is comfortable and well-made. I am also an advocate of hi-vis yellow cycling clothing. I highly recommend this product for all cyclists.

 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

If someone told me that I had to choose one brand of cycling clothing to wear for the rest of my life I would not hesitate for a moment to select Pearl Izumi. While no company can make perfect products every time (except Apple), Pearl Izumi comes very close. However, I don’t believe the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket lives up to their usual high standards.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket

The Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket has many great features, including a fabric that offers decent wind protection and water resistance. The convertible part of this jacket is the sleeves—they are held in place by two zippers and several pieces of Velcro. There is a great vent panel on the back of this jacket that provides excellent ventilation. The two zippered hand pockets and one Napoleon (chest) pocket are well-made and roomy. I was also happy with the amount of reflective piping found on this jacket. Both the shell and lining of this jacket are made of 100 percent polyester. Finally, there is an elastic draw cord around waist that can be adjusted with just one hand as you ride (to increase or decrease air movement inside the jacket). This jacket is designed early fall or late spring riding (temps in the upper 40’s or above).

This jacket is available is sizes Small through XX-Large and several colors, including Screaming Yellow, White, Black, True Blue, True Red, Black Plaid and Coffee. The Screaming Yellow jacket is a Hi-Viz Yellow and if you buy this jacket I would recommend this color. Unless you are trying to get hit by a car I would avoid the Black jacket at all costs. I found the jacket to be true to size.

Inferior Zippers On The Pocket

Inferior Zippers On The Pocket

My only problem with this jacket are the zippers. The main zipper on the front of the jacket is fine, but the zippers on the pockets and sleeves are horrible. It took me over five minutes to get the sleeves back on because the zipper just didn’t want to close. I found the zippers on the pockets to be very difficult to use while riding. The zippers are so tight I had to stop my bike and hold the fabric around the pocket just to close it. The inferior zippers make this jacket something I could not recommend.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket retails for around $100. I bought mine from Amazon.com for $70, then immediately took advantage of their return policy by sending this jacket back for a full refund. It’s really too bad, the jacket has so many great qualities—but that doesn’t mean much if the zippers don’t work!

 

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DeFeet Aireator Cycling Socks

Summer cycling socks are probably something you don’t think about much. I doubt if most cyclists could even tell you what brand of sock they wear. While you might not get excited talking about socks, your feet will thank you if you wear quality socks instead of the ones you purchased from the close-out table at the bike shop.

DeFeet Aireator Cycling Socks

DeFeet Aireator Hi-Viz Yellow Cycling Socks

DeFeet, a North Carolina based company, has been making quality socks for nearly 20 years. Their Aireator socks are so extremely breathable that they are the only ones I wear during the summer months. Even on long rides in hot and humid weather I have never felt like the Aireator socks were damp. These socks are made of 60% nylon, 39% CoolMax EcoMade yarn, and 1% lycra.

While DeFeet makes cycling socks in all sorts of colors and patterns, I prefer the hi-viz yellow because they increase my visibility to cars coming up from behind me. There is something about the movement of socks as you pedal that makes them stand out better than anything else during daytime rides. I’ve even had motorists pull up next to me at stop signs and say they saw me over half a mile away just because of the socks!

DeFeet Aireator socks retail for around $10 a pair. In the past few years I have purchased about a dozen pair of these socks from Performance Bicycle, but they are not always available, so if you can find them buy several pairs while you can.

 

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