As we expand our range, it can be hard to keep up with what’s best for what purpose. Nick talks through your choices, and how we created them. This week – tops.
Modern convention has designated that we need to cover ourselves in polite society. So we wear tops. We also wear them to stay warm, carry things, and to get promoted. So its not all covering nipples. Good.
A cycling top has one major adversary – sweat. And this is where we differ from other brands, we really concentrate on sweat. And with good reason.
Sweat smells. Sweat isn’t just water, it (finish your lunch before reading this) rots. And thus it smells. You smell. People smell you. This is generally considered to be bad. Nipples and sweat are bad. Well, nipples are actually rather good, but…
Most cycling tops are really really bad at combating odours. They’re also pretty uncomfortable to wear, and you look like a twit. Well, I did.
When I worked in film, I’d walk (clip clop clip clop) in to a room of employees, and they would laugh at me from behind large shiny Mac screens. Most cycling gear is not sexy, or even passes the most basic of social norms. I thought, surely there’s a way to make cycling gear that works, but is stylish too. And so Vulpine was formed, and here we are. Hurrah for paranoia and sniggers behind shiny Mac screens.
You could of course wear normal fashion gear, but then you’d be drenched in sweat, uncomfortable, and bedraggled all day. Cycling fabrics must get rid of sweat…wick it way.
The king of combating odours and comfort is pure merino wool, and we use it extensively. It is expensive stuff, but it does an unparalled job.
Not all merino is the same. Ours is really fine, highest quality pure, certified, non-mulesed (an unpleasant practice that can be used on sheep) New Zealand merino wool. These tenacious beasts live in high, wet conditions. Their coats are naturally anti-bacterial, so that they don’t rot. Their Darwinian survival strength is our massive cycling gain.
They’re also really soft and not at all scratchy. Thanks sheep friends.
Merino fibres naturally draw moisture off the skin, so you don’t feel wet (so you’re more comfortable) and wick it outwards fast. A merino top may be wet, as it is very efficient in transporting moisture, but it won’t feel wet. And it’ll dry very fast.
Perfect for mixed conditions, merino regulates your temperature, cooling you in Summer, by drawing off sweat, but keeping you warm in the cold, as you are, again, not wet. I’ve worn just merino in torrential rain, so I’m cosy, in 38°C heat of the Cretan mountains, to keep me cool and socially acceptable (not smelly) and I wear it pretty much everywhere, all the time.
Merino is also far easier to care for than you might expect. I have Vulpine original samples from 2010 that are still good as new.
Don’t wash with velcro or sharp stuff.
Use non-bio powder or liquid, as bio detergents sap the natural oils.
No conditioner, but if you do, simply rinse.
Wash cool, dry flat or on a maiden.
Store on a nice chunky hanger, or better, flat.
In our range we also use Dri-Release fabric (a polyester, cotton and lycra mix) for our Summer Tees. Good with odours and excellent at wicking away sweat, these are lightweight Tees for high temps. Personally I prefer merino, but some people prefer a lighter fabric against their skin.
Long & Short Sleeve Merino Alpine Jerseys
Our best-seller, this is the classic racing jersey updated. Pure merino wool creates unparalleled all-day comfort. The full zip means you can pull it open for sweltering long Alpine climbs or zip it up for cool mountain descents, hence the name. Available in long and short sleeve for all seasons.
It’s a jersey designed to cover a very wide range of temperatures and conditions, even locations. I wear mine riding round Richmond Park, and with our Blazer for meetings.
As with all our tops, there are no scratchy size or washing instruction labels, it’s all printed permanently on the inside. Every piece of fabric is flat-locked stitched for comfort.
The three pocket design in unique. With two reinforced angled side pockets, and a central zipped valuables pocket, set lower to not get in the way of a backpack or Camelbak. There’s a reflective strip at the back, plus a reflective light loop for night riding.
The zip has a leather pull, so you can use it with gloves or numb wet hands in the cold. A silicon strip on the tail means the jersey doesn’t ride up.
An intensely thought out detailed package with outstanding reviews.
Short Sleeve Merino Button Jersey
Exactly the same as the Alpine, the Button Jersey was launched with Vulpine in March 2012. The difference is simply that the Button Jersey is more casual, with V-stitched buttons to open, rather than a more tech zip. It is a modern take on a vintage wool style jersey.
Long & Short Sleeve Merino Polos
The smart option, with a V-stitched button collar, plus rear pocket and reflective trim. Cut a bit longer at the back with more room in the shoulders for a cycling fit, it nails pub life, meeting room and ride home. Short sleeve for warmer weather, long sleeve for when it cools down.
Long & Short Sleeve Merino T-Shirts
Classic Dri-Release T-Shirt
For high Summer and general riding, this is a fast-drying cover-all T. Embroidered logos and all the usual outstanding attention to detail, and a perfect fit make an awesome Tee.
Next week is accessories. Then I’ll stop banging on.