REVIEW: Vélobici Van-Abel Jersey + Bib Shorts
by Mark Tearle
The newly launched Vélobici road wear takes the collection in a new direction. Having raised the bar for ‘city style’ the Leicester based company have turned their attention to the high end niche of performance road wear with the inclusion of the Van-Abel and Van-Dapper sets (bib-shorts and jersey), and the more classic merino stylings of the Maitland and Godwin jerseys.
Nice VB Chainring On Jersey
Cyclosport.org’s Mark Tearle got his hands on a Van-Abel set of bib shorts (£130) and short sleeve jersey (£140) and set about testing the garments to the maximum. It’s all in the fabric and the very fine details, daaahling. What you get with Vélobici is high end prestige and British provenance of design and manufacture for cycle wear. If James Bond took up riding a road bike I would imagine that he’d be dressed-to-the-nines in Vélobici style. British sartorial style is all about less is more, subtle detailing and timelessness – a slightly furtive way of showing off but without a loud and brash “look at me” insouciance.
The Van-Abel kit is no exception – black on black knitted Vélobici jacquards proudly adorn the garments; on the Jersey, a large ‘Vélobici’ chainring displayed on the back with a smaller ‘VB’ version just above the left breast.
Large Red Swoop Across The Rear Of The Jersey
The jersey has a full zip; the disc zip puller is adorned with a VB initialled chainring design. The neck is protected from the zip by soft fabric panelling in the same red that lines the high collar and the rear of the pockets. A swoop design on the rear pockets, piped in red flashing, offers a larger rear left pocket and a shallower right pocket, with another sewn into the right side of the garment completing the swoop – there are two zipped pockets, each with the same disc zip puller and both offering waterproofing for your precious items (keys, money, phone etc) and lined with a red fabric.
Again on the side panelling is the Vélobici jacquard design which is then echoed down the length of the bib shorts. The bib shorts are also black and the subtle jacquard theme continues with a larger ‘Vélobici’ adorned across the backside. The bib is cut comfortably low at the front, but not too low, with the bib straps offering comfortable stretch over the shoulders – there is a red radio pocket at the rear of the bib which seems more for show rather than anything else.
Subtle Velobici Deatiling On Shorts
The pad is a high quality Gopresia Airmesh which is flatlock stitched for ultimate comfort. The sleeves of the jersey and the length of the shorts are cut slightly longer than usual (think Team GB Olympic kit for the cycling Road Racing team), which has made for some interesting tan line patterns on my legs and arms, though elegantly fitted to offer flattering shapes of the contours of the biceps and thighs – sleeve hems, shorts and around the waist are lined with silicone for comfort and fit and are finished with reflective piping.
None of this is to suggest that the Van-Abel set is all fine tailoring without the performance you’d expect from high-end road wear. Both Van-Abel and Van-Dapper are made from a VB/Pro VR1 fabric (formally branded as Meryl®) which has the technical capability to wick moisture from the skin, offer UV protection, natural freshness (i.e. no wiffy smells after 6 hours in the saddle) and comfort stretch.The kit is light and windproof and in my experience, on some of the hottest days we’ve enjoyed during August, it has performed exactly as promised, keeping me feeling comfortable and fresh, especially during the obligatory café stop - saved from any embarrassment whilst mingling with the other customers and fellow riders.
I had initial reservations about the pocket swoop design, though it looks very striking I considered that the rear left pocket would be inaccessible with the left hand and that my right arm really wouldn’t stretch that far – however the fabric is stretchy enough, and maintains its shape, whilst reaching to the rear to grab that bar or gel on the move and in reality the design makes the pocket perfectly accessible.
Harping on the pockets for a second, the design isn’t your traditional three in a row pocket arrangement along the back – the third pocket is in fact located on the right hand panel of the jersey, useful for those items you require immediately though I must admit I have pretty much ignored it. Vélobici Van-Abel road wear is Sunday best cycle clothing - the fit is tailored and the fabric is soft and supple. Ride like a dog, ride far and dish out the pain with sartorial elegance and be the envy of your riding companions, but stay comfortable kilometre after kilometre, climb after climb. The only thing you need to do is ensure that your bike and your riding do the kit justice!
Cyclosport.org Rating: 9/10
What we liked: The comfort, style, understated cool, panache, red flashes of colour as they match my shoes.
What we didn't: Cost. 3rd pocket maybe unnecessary.
Both can be purchased together as a set offer currently £220 saving you £50. Why not buy the set and treat yourself to a pair of performance arm warmers at £30. All items available directly from www.velobici.cc
If you missed Vélobici at the recent Leicester SkyRide you can check out the Vélobici collection for yourself at the ‘Start up Britain’ Pop Up shop in Richmond from 3rd September and then as an exhibitor at the ‘Best of Britannia, expo from the 5th October at The Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell http://www.bestofbritannia.com/
You May Also Like...
Leave A Comment
Please login to leave a comment