One of the owners of the local bike shop has told me on several occasions that a bike jersey is usually the last purchase most people make when they take up cycling. After riding thousands of miles every year on both the road and off-road trails I have come to the same conclusion. I find it amazing that some people will spend $5,000 on a new bike and then go out for a ride wearing a T-shirt! Wearing a cycling jersey won’t make you go faster, but a quality jersey will increase your comfort and enjoyment as you ride. A few weeks ago the folks at Road Holland sent me one of their Hilversum cycling jerseys to review and here is the bottom line: The Road Holland Hilversum jersey is the most comfortable, well-designed and stylish jersey I have ever had the privilege to wear!
When I started cycling I bought a lot of cheap Performance Bicycle and Bike Nashbar branded jerseys, and then last year I moved up to the Pearl Izumi Attack jersey. As much as I like the Pearl Izumi Attack jersey I have to tell you it doesn’t even fit in the same class as the Road Holland Hilversum. The Hilversum jersey is made of 79% superlight polyester and 21% fine gauge merino wool. This jersey is incredibly lightweight and offers every feature a serious cyclist could want in a jersey.
The front of the jersey has a full-length zipper and, believe it or not, it has a zipper garage (a small pocket where the zipper parks when the jersey is closed). A zipper garage might not mean much to you if you keep your jersey halfway unzipped all the time, but I’ve had my face scratched on many occasions by the sharp edges of the zipper on cheap jerseys.
The back of the Road Holland Hilversum jersey is a work of art! Like most cycling jerseys the Hilversum has three storage pockets, but that is where the similarity ends. The middle pocket has a small opening so you can run a headphone cord through it—the cord stays under your jersey and won’t flap around in the wind as you ride. The pocket on the right-hand side also has an exterior stash pocket (a fourth pocket) with an angled zipper (with another zipper garage) so you can keep you keys, credit card and ID secure even if you suffer an unplanned dismount (otherwise known as a crash). The bottom hem of this jersey has a silicone grip strip that helps keep the jersey in place and prevents it from moving up during your ride. For your safety in low-light situations Road Holland added a reflective strip along the top of the pockets—I wish every cycling jersey sold was required to have a reflective strip like this!
One thing that really separates this jersey from all others is the way it looks. I normally hate going into a restaurant while wearing a standard cycling jersey. However, the embroidered accents on the Hilversum make it look quite stylish. If you are seated at a table most people would never know you were wearing a cycling jersey (until you stand up and they see your Lycra shorts).
The Road Holland Hilversum jersey is available in three colors (Royal Orange, Carolina Blue, and Milky White) and comes in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XXL). The folks at Road Holland sent me a Milky White jersey to review and I liked it so well I ordered a Royal Orange jersey to go along with it. Of special interest to me is the fact that this jersey is made in the USA (it is possible that this is the only jersey I own that was made in America).
The Hilversum jersey retails for $120 and is worth every penny! While I was visiting the Road Holland Website on Sunday night I noticed that you can save 20% on your next order. All you have to do is take a pledge to “banish hideous cycling gear” and then enter the code “STYLISH” when placing an order through their online store before May 28, 2012.
In taking the pledge you are affirming that…
- I will not wear cycling jerseys with cereal box characters, beer, or cartoon characters on them.
- My cycling jersey will always look at least as good as my bike.
- If I’m a guy, I’m burning all of my sleeveless jerseys tonight.
- I will not wear jerseys with flowers plastered over them.
- Unless I’m being paid to ride as part of a team, I will not wear a team kit.
I don’t think the folks at Road Holland are going to send the police to your house if you violate your pledge, but if you are an adult you should probably stop wearing jerseys with cereal box characters on them anyway.