Wool Wednesday: Basic Black with SWOBO pt. 1

This Wool Wednesday is a real treat, not only are we reviewing a killer product but Stevil from Howtoavoidthebummerlife answers some questions about Swobo and wool! First, the review!

SWOBO Men’s Short Sleeve Merino Jersey

The Look
When this jersey came in, I was all oohs and ahhs. The black version of the jersey is a no nonsense sharp looking jersey. It’s classy and low-key with subtle contrast stitching to create the lines of the jersey. Restraint seems to be the guiding principal here. No giant Reese’s Pieces on this baby.

The left sleeve has SWOBO embroidered on it and that’s it. This jersey has nothing to prove but gives you a little wink to let you know you’re wearing some quality threads.

The Wool

The feel of the wool is soft right out of the bag. No breaking in or washing in necessary. I’ve owned some older wool jerseys and some early jerseys from Portland Cyclewear that really took a wash or two to get the wool soft. Not so here. The hand is smooth and plush without being overly thick.

The weight of the wool makes it pretty flexible. I did a few long rides in the jersey in temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the upper 70-s and it performed well. Again, it really depends on your riding style. You could probably wear it lower if you hammer and keep your body-heat up. The nice thing about wool is that even if you’re sweating in it, it will keep you warm. You could also wear it into the 80’s and 90s if you have the zipper down and aren’t completely hammering.

The Fit

For me, I ordered a size larger so the fit is a little looser. I’m not a racer. I’m a commuter and a bike tourist. This really makes it flexible. The extra room lets me wear a featherweight or midweight wool baselayer underneath and coupled with some arm warmers and gloves, I’m good to go into the 40s without the bulk of a jacket.

Does this make a great commuter jersey? Heck yeah. Its flexibility with temperature, coupled with the fact it won’t stank when you get to the office is a great mix. Plus, it doesn’t look like Photoshop vomit. You can ride in the street without feeling like a big sweaty billboard.

Am I going to bring it on my next bike tour? You better believe it. You can wear wool for several days without washing and it won’t be odoriferous like your plastic tuxedo jersey. Plus, it’s black, and it won’t stain as easily πŸ™‚ The jersey also has pockets on the back to carry your phone or snickers for the long ride home.

Pros and Cons

-All around great jersey for racing, commuting and touring…can’t go wrong with basic black
-Stank protection…nuff said
-Soft out of the bag…no breaking-in needed
-Performs great in a wide temperature range
-Nice, understated styling you Philistines…

-Wool ain’t cheap…price may be a bit of a barrier, but this could be mitigated by the fact you don’t have to buy as many jerseys since you can wear it over and over

Get yours here.


  1. LeMyke

    Black for a commuter jersey? Maybe it has reflective stitching.

  2. Dominic Dougherty

    Depends on your commute times.

    Being visable isn’t necessarily about looking like a Richard Simmons back-up dancer, but more about contrasting with your surroundings.

    Black is great in the city during the day, but sucks at night. DayGlo Green turns grey at night and doesn’t work in the open desert. Multi-colored jerseys may even act as camouflage in the bright neon background of an urban environment.

    It’s a nice jersey and I’ve openly coveted it when I see Russ wearing it.

  3. cafn8

    I think it’s pretty swell too, and on the website, there are 9 different colors to choose from, ranging from baby blue (bluenote) to blaze orange (Mars-1). I think my road bike needs a brake upgrade first, though, with the money that would go to one of those. I’m kinda cheap.

  4. Russ Roca (Post author)

    There are a ton of colors and the orange ones are briiiiggghhhttt!

    I use it for my commute when I run errands and quick drop-offs for clients. Looks a little more “normal” than something too techy or bright…

  5. Ghost Rider

    Well I, for one, think that black jersey is dashing. It’s understated and doesn’t scream “bike geek” to anyone!

  6. Moe

    and what’s wrong with being a Bike Geek???

  7. Gunnar

    I had a Swobo. From the mid 90’s Swobo. Then I stuck it in the dryer. yup, it shrunk. I still have it, but it’s more of a black, long sleeve, belly shirt insted of a classic cycling jersey. Makes me sad. Now I buy merino wool shirts (sweater shirts) at thrift stores. No pockets. But if I shrink ’em it’s only a couple of bucks, not a hundred.

  8. Mase

    I’m a big fan of wool too, having switched over pretty much full time, even in the Calcutta-like heat of Houston. Most of my stuff tends to be Icebreaker, with their basic short-sleeve and long sleeve as my go-to top. Here are links:

    Short Sleeve

    Long Sleeve

    They have other slightly heavier and lighter options. In the summer, I tend to wear their 140 or 150 weight stuff (and their polos). Here is one such option:

  9. Russ Roca (Post author)

    Wool and dryers definitely don’t mix….not a problem specific to swobo but to all wool clothing….

    Wool care will be the topic of my next post….i hand-wash all my wool gear even though they say it’s machine washable and none of it goes near the regular laundry, less i accidentally toss it in the dryer. yikes!

  10. tdp

    Sorry if I’ve said this here before but in case I didn’t, I really love both my $70 Smartwool zip T (bought on eBay for $50) and my $25 Terramar Thermawool Zip top bought on Campmor. The Smartwool is my favourite but I will bring the Terramar with me on any tour or commute just the same.

    That said I think I may pickup the Swobo shortsleeve jersey. Was looking at it before but this review has convinced me. I think I also like their wool stretch knickers.

  11. Russ Roca (Post author)

    tdp…I plan to review wool base layers in a future installment…I’ve tried wool shirts from Smartwool, Swobo, REI, Ibex, Woolistic and Icebreaker and they are great. Some greater than others πŸ™‚ But I definitely bring those along on tour as well….

    The jersey is nice because if you buy it loose you can layer it…instead of putting a shirt on top of a shirt and looking like Stay Puff

    Again, l’ve discovered, there is no one perfect thing for all uses….sad but true.

  12. Russ Roca (Post author)

    tdp…i haven’t trid the terramar. do you want to do a guest review of it?

  13. Pingback: Return to bike commuting: What to wear? | Bike Commuters

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