From Poland With Love?
With autumn turning quickly into winter we turn to clothing that’s going to keep us warm but hopefully breathable enough to stop our bodies getting sweaty, but as a cyclist we want it all, we would like to stay dry if the heavens decide to open. This balancing act is a tough one to master even if you're one of the big brands, but as a small and relatively unheard of (in the UK at least) company from Poland how do you strike the balance and keep the cyclist happy? This long-sleeved jersey is from their Warm Orange collection, it’s made from a thermal fabric all the way from Italy that has been treated to an Aquazero waterproofing finish. All the design is done in house by their graphic designer and the garments are produced in Poland as well.
First thoughts I would have to say are mixed, normally it’s me at work unpacking clothing so I understand that jerseys come in plastic bags, this is to keep them clean so I can’t help but wonder why this one has slight dirty marks where it has been folded in the bag (no big deal it came out in the wash). The envelope it came in had the address hand written on it, I do prefer a printed address label. Looking at the garment I would say its reasonably well-constructed but not to the level of finish that you would expect from the likes of Rapha or Castelli. It comes with four pockets at the rear, three large ones and a small zipped pocket at the side. Out of the box the first thing that I did notice is that it beads water like a duck’s ass. In the shower test and general throwing water at it, it performed well. Like all my other purchases I have looked at my measurements and placed the order for what I see is meant to be the correct size, looking at the size chart this put me into the xxl size for my chest the largest they do. In fact, going by my chest size I was a bit worried that this was going to be a very snug fit but it was not, maybe I should have gone by my waist size, it is at least a size too big, the arms even when stretched out in front seemed a bit long and a bit roomy.
At RRR we like to see how kit work and what it's limits are , so testing time and time again to see what level of layering works best with this jersey on a cold day has had me start with winter tights, shorts, light weight base layer and then a short-sleeved top under, and I was comfortable on the morning commute when frost was still stuck hard to the grass at the side of the road. When I got to work I found a txt message from the girlfriend saying the orange looked good as she passed me on the bus. And in the photos, we really think it sticks out. The next ride was a few days later around lunch time, road rider review joined a couple of other chaps to get some more opinions on what others thought of the design and fit, on one of them it was a better fit than it is on me. This time I removed the short-sleeved top and though it was a couple of degrees warmer, I was still comfortable, even though I felt the wind on my chest a bit more.
On my last ride, I replaced the short-sleeved base layer with a long-sleeved Rapha merino number, the pace was a bit higher and once the temp inside the jersey built up I was toasty, never to hot the breathability was great and even though the drizzle decided to visit us it kept me dry. This is a true Spring or Autumn jersey or for a winter day if you layer up well, to be a true winter top I would like a see a bit of wind proofing on the chest. To this end I have handed testing duties over to my partner in crime as he has been trying out Craft's wind proof fronted base layer. Now he leaves for work an hour before me and at the moment that has meant a temperature range of -1c to 5c, again layering seems to be the order of the day and the windproof fronted base layer has worked well as a pairing.
Delivery from Poland took five working days on standard delivery, if you want it sooner you can pay for a quicker shipment. Be careful with the sizing as I found it roomier than I had expected and although they will exchange for another size postage is at your expense, to round up it's a very flexible item that can work in a wide range of temperatures when matched with the correct layers (everyone runs at a different temp so its good to try a few variations out), it’s well worth the money and it just goes to show you if you want a good product you don’t have to stick with the famous brands. One final reminder, all jerseys with this type of water beading treatment will at some point need to be re treated, so pay attention to care instructions to prolong its life, and whatever you do don’t carry anything like a bag on your back when you wear it.
Cost £83.50 plus shipping