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
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
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.