I’m a complete cycling novice, having only been on a bike twice in the last 30 years. I signed up for the Rat Race Road Trip this year though, a 4 day, 445 mile ride from London to Edinburgh, so Karl (our cycling kit reviewer) got me this gear from Sugoi, and the helmet from Carrera, to wear. I didn’t realise I needed it but he assured me I would, especially the padded shorts (and he was right!!!). I’ll list the kit first, then tell you a little about my experience of wearing it.
Contoured pro-fit jersey for the road enthusiast. Zone construction featuring mesh panel inserts for airflow and breathability. Full length zipper for ventilation. Rear pocket construction optimized for carrying ride essentials.
RS Bib Knicker
The iconic and award winning RS short collection, in 3 popular versions for specific ride conditions. No inseam to reduce under chamois bulk. 10 panel body contour fit. Flat seams for increased comfort. Clean finish signature grip leg elastic to keep the short properly positioned.
RS Versa Vest
Contoured pro-fit vest with versa magnet technology for easy on and off when riding in the pack. Windproof material with water repellent surface treatment for adverse weather protection. Horizontal rear access slots allow you to access your jersey pockets without taking off the vest. Lightweight and low profile- easy to stow in a jersey pocket. Reflective detailing for low light and night time visibility.
Versatile, value-packed waterproof breathable performance with great fit and style. Made with a 2.5 layer material featuring a 9,000 mm W/P rating for excellent protection during rainfall. Drop tail for lower back/seat coverage from tire spray. Waterproof front zip and waterproof taped seams for additional protection.
Pace 5 Short
Great for general fitness, SUGOI’s core running short is a lightweight option with a zip pocket at the back. 2 inch side seam notch at hem. 2 comfortable front pockets. Run liner made of AirLiner fabric for lightweight, quick-drying comfort. Stretch drawstring with elastic waist. 3M Scotchlite reflective accents for added visibility.
Carrera Shake Helmet
This is primarily a mountain biking helmet, you can see it online here http://carrerasport.com/en/summer/helmets/cycling/shake.html
First of all, I wore the shorts over the padded Bib Knicker. Some cyclists like to strut the tight lycra look but I don’t enjoy doing that at all. The shorts were roomy enough to go over the Bib and hide the bulges and who knows, maybe they gave me an extra bit of padding as well (I certainly appreciated all the padding I could get after the first day on the bike!).
The Bib padding worked excellently. The morning I got on the bike for the first day’s 98 mile ride I hadn’t worn the Bib or any of the other kit at all so it wasn’t ‘broken in’ in any way. I wore the Bib next to my skin, with no underwear at all, and it didn’t chaff at any point during the 4 days; pretty impressive. I also found them very comfy. Obviously sitting on the bike for up to 10 hours a day did get my bottom a bit sore, but it wasn’t too bad or caused by the Bib really, just the constant contact with the saddle. Perhaps they might be improved by being a bit lower at the front though, to help with going to toilet. There is no zipper you see, so when you want to go, you have to take off your Jacket and Gilet in order to pull down the shoulder straps so you can get the Bib down. And this is the last thing you really want to do if you’re exhausted from riding, or trying to go at the side of the ride without drawing great attention to yourself. A plus point of them is that they went 2 days and 235 miles before they started to smell. A quite considerable feat, considering we were cycling in sunny conditions for most of the time.
The Jersey was as good as the bib. It wicked sweat away excellently, didn’t chaff at all and worked with the other kit to keep my temperature stable. The long zipper helped me regulate my temperature easily and quickly too. It didn’t stink much until day 3 either, which was a bonus!
Next to the Jersey I wore the Versa Vest (Gilet). It afforded great wind proofing and was very light; I didn’t notice I was wearing it, and I wore it constantly.
Finally there was the Jacket. We only had to deal with one period of rain but it did handle that well, keeping me dry-ish and warm enough to carry on and not try to seek shelter somewhere. It also packed down really small, so was easy to stow in the saddlebag or just slip down mu shoulders and tie around my waist when the sun emerged.
The Carrera Helmet was my first experience of a cycling helmet (we never had such things back when I last rode a bike!). I found it a little heavy the first day, this is understandable though as I’m not used to wearing one. Also Karl, who is much more experienced, said that it is in fact slightly heavier than his helmet, but that’s because his is built for road work and this Carrera ‘Shake’ is built for mountain biking and is therefore sturdier in design. So, heavy at first but from day 2 onwards it was just fine. I never had to re-adjust it at all, my head didn’t get overheated, and it provided a great mount for my action camera when used together with a couple of Velcro straps.
Ok, so I understand that this is not a very ‘professional’ or in-depth review of this kit, but I hope I’ve covered the basics. All I really needed from my clothes during the event was to keep dry, warm and comfy during the 4 days, and this kit helped me achieve that. The shorts are very well padded and were absolutely vital to my enjoyment of the trip. And even though I was putting in 100 mile plus days in pretty hot weather, the clothes didn’t start to stink until day 2 (or in the case of the Jersey, day 3), at least not outwardly (nobody told me they did anyway!).
You can see a short review and film of the Road Trip event in our Features section if you’re interested. The brands performed excellently during what was a very testing cycling challenge, and I’d happily recommend them to friends.
To find out more about Sugoi and to see their full range of clothing -Â www.sugoi.com
To find out more about Carrera and to see their full range of helmets -Â http://carrerasport.com