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A new player on the cycling-clothing scene is Solo Cycle Clothing, all the way from New Zealand. When they contacted us just before Christmas to gauge our interest in their line of jerseys and other clothing, we were very receptive to what they were offering. As with any new company venturing onto our shores, though, there were some delays in getting a jersey to test. I was hoping for a winterweight jersey to help counteract the chilly temps here in Ohio, but things just didn’t work out that way. Still, Solo sent me a short-sleever from their “Classique” line, and it has gotten quite a bit of use now that spring is here.

First, some of the slickest packaging in the cycling industry:

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Here’s a little bit about the jersey from Solo’s website:

•The Solo design team openly declares its mission: to produce the most beautiful cycle clothing in the world. The Classique range of jerseys pays tribute to iconic nations within cycling’s golden age, with retro styling and accents that will set you apart from the field
•Constructed from Nuovotec polyester; a proprietary polyester blend created for Solo Cycle Clothing, that has superior breathability, wicking, anti-bacterial properties and is super soft against the skin.
•Thoughtful and functional features including an 8″ front zip with oversize zipper pull, four rear pockets, silicon elastic waistband and knitted retro look arm and neck bands
•Retro-inspired design elements including superbly screen-printed (not digitally printed) chest, arm and rear graphics, resulting in bright colors and patterns
•The world’s most beautiful cycle clothing is here. Timeless style inspired by cycling’s golden era. Discover your new favorite jersey within the Solo Cycle Clothing Classique range

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As you can see (and read), the Classique line is geared toward a retro look with modern materials…and they’ve nailed that look with the simple patterns, short zipper, and rib-knit cuffs and neck. This particular style, the “Brouwerij Heuvel“, is an homage to the rich cycling heritage of Belgium, and as many cycling jerseys are, it’s also an homage to BEER. Ironically, this is the second beer-themed jersey I’ve had the pleasure of testing, and I don’t even drink!

The Solo jersey is cut in a near-racer’s form — a little more room than a true racer’s cut, but not as baggy as “club cut” jerseys tend to be on my narrow frame. The quality of the jersey is apparent from the first wearing — the material is supersoft and breathable, the stitching is superb, and the knit cuffs are robust without being constrictive. There’s a thick silicone band at the hem to keep things from riding up in the heat of battle, and that’s always a nice feature. Take a closer look at the cuffs — they’re surprisingly soft and hold everything in place very nicely:

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On the back there are the three traditional pockets, and one smaller zippered pocket for valuables. I really like the extra security of a zipper for my phone and ID cards, so it was nice to see this included.

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As with jerseys from the 60s/70s/early 80s, the Solo Classique line comes with a short 8″ zippered neck. This is my only gripe…yes, it looks retro on this model, but there’s a reason longer-length zippers became standard on modern jerseys: ventilation. My personal preference is for a full-zip jersey, or at least a zipper that goes down pretty close to my belly button. In springtime temps, the short zipper is not a big deal, but as the temps ratchet upward, I will desire much more ventilation than this 8″ opening will allow.

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Not every commuter likes to wear cycling-specific garb…in fact, I would hazard that most simply ride “as they are”, or at most change shirts when they get to work. For those of you with longer commutes, or a penchant for after-work/weekend athletic pursuits, a cycling jersey like this starts to make more sense. Retailing for $139.00, this ain’t no throwaway cheapie — sticker shock for some, but pretty much in line with top-quality cycling wear. To soften the sting of that price tag, Solo is offering a special deal to Bikecommuters.com readers:

URL: http://www.solocycleclothing.com/
Code: GILET50
Offer: Buy a Solo Classique Jersey and use this coupon to get a Solo Equipe Gilet at $49.50 (50% off RRP).
Time frame: Effective now through 31 May

Overall, I have greatly enjoyed the Solo jersey. It won’t be my first choice when the heat of summer comes, but for now it is serving me quite nicely (and making me look incredibly stylish). Take a look at the rest of Solo’s lineup by visiting their U.S. or global websites.