Skeleton Pattern Cycling Set Review
This review is set to be four parts long: Part I (which I'm about to write) will be my initial thoughts, as I just received it today (3/4/2016) in the mail. Part II will be my thoughts on the kit after my first ride in it (which will be tomorrow 3/5/2016). Part III will be a 3 month update, and Part IV will be the final installment, written sometime during my 6 month long cycle tour across the US to raise awareness of Polycystic Kidney Disease (#RideAcrossTheUS). You'll be able to see photos and a completely detailed breakdown of the kit on my website RideAcrossTheUS.com. Alright, enough of the introduction, let's get to it:
PART I - INITIAL THOUGHTS:
I'm somewhat leery of ordering clothing items from the Internet, I like to be able to actually physically try things on, and it seems like when I do order something off the Internet, I'm always a little disappointed when it arrives. Needless to say, I was a little white-knuckled ordering this kit.
I live in Key West, Florida, and although there are some great bicycle shops here that do have some cycling jerseys for sale, selection is pretty limited, so I'm forced to turn to the Internet. I'm not one of those people that is concerned with where something is manufactured, although I do prefer that things aren't made by underpaid children in a sweat shop (more on that later), so the fact this kit was manufactured in China was not a major concern.
It's been a while since I studied Mandarin in high school, so looking at the size chart was slightly confusing, but in the end I realized the measurements where based on cm, and kg, common on most size charts, and I used Google's online tool to convert my inferior system of inches and pounds to the correct numbers. I allowed for a margin of error of 3cm and generally like my cycling gear to be snug, so I lean towards the lower side when figuring out my size. I'm 6' (182.88cm) tall, and have a Size 32" (81.28cm) waist. I average around 165 pounds (74.843kg) so after adjusting for the margin of error, and since I've purchased cycling kit before, I pulled the trigger on the large.
The kit arrived in the mail today, and after opening the nondescript mylar bag it came in, inside revealed two zippered plastic bags containing the skeleton jersey, and matching shorts set. I opened them up, and examined each article for any inconsistencies in the fabric, (notably the seams) and saw nothing. I checked the material, and like most cycling jerseys, it's made from 100% mesh polyester, light weight, and although I won't know until tomorrow's ride, seemingly breathable. There is a full length zipper down the front, which over the years I've become happier with. Sometimes you just want to open the whole jersey and let your entire torso cool off. Half zippers don't really let you do that. There's the WOSAWE logo down each side of the short's legs, and one on the left side of the chest on the jersey. There are rubber strips sewn into the hems, to prevent slipping. Everything seems well constructed. The printing is clearly well done, and isn't likely to fade after multiple washes (but I'll get to that after I wash it a few hundred times).
After a close examination, I put the kit on. It fits EXACTLY like I hoped it would. I ordered a different kit about a month ago, and even though they are labeled the same size, the older set is a little big on me (not too big, just not as snug as I'd like it to be). This set was perfect. Snug, without being overly constricting, and comfortable too. I gave it a bit of a stretching regimen as I wore it, and everything stretched well in all the right places. The seams are flat stitched, and don't seem as though they will rub on me, causing me to chafe, but again, that will be determined after the first ride. The synthetic chamois inside has a nice shape to it, and the 3D contours seem to be in the perfect places to keep my derriere nice and comfy on my Brooks saddle.
So initially, I'm pleased so far. The 5 stars will stay until I find something that would warrant a star removal, but so far so good. Tomorrow I'm wearing it on a 60 mile ride, so I'll update this review with Part II.
PART II - FIRST RIDE
I road 62 miles for this test, a great way to see if this kit is worth the money, and, well, let me start by saying the synthetic chamois is quite possibly the most comfortable thing I've ever sat on. It's PERFECT. My butt couldn't be happier. Secondly, I can tell already this kit will last me a while. It's seams are super well done, with no chafing, no notice of pulling apart and definitely stood up to my rigorous sprints.
The ride temperatures were fairly warm, and although not nearly up to the high heat standards of South Florida, was still warm enough that I was glad this kit was really breathable. I never felt as though I was going to get overheated in it. I think this was due to its highly breathable fabric, and it's wicking qualities. Definitely 5 stars for this.
This kit stretches perfectly with every movement, except for with one exception, the shirt. When standing, it's fit is fantastic, but in riding position, the front has a little 'bunch' to it, and flaps a little while riding. It's not a horrible flapping, and was barely noticeable after my initial noticing of it, but it is there nonetheless. It's not really supposed to be a skin suit, so it's certainly not enough to remove a star for.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this purchase, unlike the Nuckily long jersey set I received today that fits like a tent. I will definitely be ordering more things from Wolfbike/Wosawe.
I received some great compliments from various people on the look of it as well. It's nice to bring smiles to people's faces while riding. Part III will be updated 3 months from now, after I give what is likely to be my new favorite kit, some serious riding time. I'll have a clear view of the durability by then, and will be happy to let everyone know a little more about the performance as well.
Keep riding, no matter what you're wearing. Bicycles can save the planet.