Critical Kit: The best clothes of the year

“The best of the best of the best, sir. With honors. ” —Will Smith, Men in Black

As I head into 2022, I can’t help but revisit the kits that I enjoyed testing the most in 2021. These are the kits that make me feel fast even when I’m ten pounds overweight and as I wake up from a tryptophan induced coma. , and which lasted a season without being destroyed by my excessive laundry habits.

These parts really raised the bar in terms of fit or quality, or both. Here are my favorites, in seven categories.

Best short sleeve jersey: Biehler Technical

The air-grip sleeve, low neck and angular shapes of the mesh panels give the jersey a clean look, but that’s the fit I love about this fit. Among the swimsuits I tested this year, the Biehler technique (pictured above) has the most aggressive fit: short in the torso and long in the sleeve, shaped like a human instead of a cereal box for those smooth aerodynamic gains. The bibs were functional but not particularly special (and the grippy hem has aged terribly), but the jersey wins the crown for best fit.

Best standard bibs: Giordana NX-G

The exclusive graduated compression fabric and one panel per leg construction make the Bibs NX-G as united as Spanx, holding everything where it belongs. Sitting on the pad is like sleeping on a brand new memory foam pillow – comfortable and easy. The material is rich in nylon in a tight weave that resists snagging and wear. It’s always a good thing to wonder if the chamois will flatten out before the fabric turns sheer, and it does with these tough bibs. Looks like these bibs will be good for years to come.

Best long sleeve jersey: Ornot Grid thermal jersey

The Ornot material gives me the same feeling of comfort and security as the long johns (the thermal underwear normally worn under ordinary clothing). The Grid retains more heat than long leggings or even traditional long-sleeved thermals made from a lycra blend, while using Bluesign fabrics (materials made using sustainable production methods). It’s soft but still looks like an outerwear, and – my favorite feature – it has sleeves long enough to leave no space between the glove cuff and the jersey. It’s the perfect jersey layer for fall through spring.

Best jacket: Ornot Magic Shell

Polartec NeoShell fabric is magic. Heavy enough to retain heat but light enough to roll into the size of a water bottle; Water resistant enough to keep me dry in light rain, yet breathable enough to avoid feeling like I’m riding in a sauna. In addition, the double zipper is also welcome. The Magic Shell is the perfect outer layer for rides with big changes in temperature or precipitation.

Best bibs for women: Velocio Concept bibs

Velocio Concepts The stretchy shoulder strap and stretch waist section make this the most user-friendly and easy-to-maintain drop tail bib design of the many I’ve tested over the years. It avoids the sagging of the bibs, the bustle of the back clasps and the inherent fear of zippers. It can keep the leg band, where modern cuts like their Luxe model avoid the separate grip panel, but it also gets rid of the mesh top panel which, while stabilizing, can move around uncomfortably during breaks in nature. . The Concept’s tough yet soft materials combined with the clever construction of the shoulder strap make them the best title for women’s bibs.

Best Cardigan: Ostroy Floral Not Sorry

If the ride is too hot for the Magic Shell, I take this vest. It sports three back pockets and the double zipper which I strongly prefer on the outer layers of the kit. Rather than being thin and squeezable, WinTex fabric is heavy for those colder days on the bike, with perforations on the back panel to let heat escape. Due to the three pockets, I wore it to transform a thick base layer into a sort of cycling jersey, in addition to using it on long cold days on the bike on a thermal jersey, doubling my storage at six. pockets. Plus, the fun print keeps things light.

Best Matching Kit Overall: Giordana FRC Pro

Used for the official Outside and VeloNews kits, the Giordana FRC Pro is also used by WorldTour teams. High quality lycras in a well-designed standard bib configuration with wide leg grip panels and premium chamois leather make up the century-old bibs. High top, aero sleeves, dropped tail and standard collar on a close-fitting jersey with three standard pockets and a zip pocket for the perfect fit for long runs. It’s the breathability, quick drying, and easy-to-wash materials that make me love it even more. This is one of those great all-rounder cycling kits that is a serious contender for the Summer One Kit to Rule Them All – the kit I would bring on a hot weather trip if I couldn’t. bring one, and my favorite complete kit this one year.

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