I’m seriously considering a steel frame bike for commuting and touring. With disc brakes, naturally. I’ve an Ornot bar bag on the way too. I’m considering a rack, panniers, doing the Cambrian Way and buying some Giro Republic LX leather shoes. There’s a mix of the retro, the cool, the bang up to present. But it leads me to some issues. I mean, I can’t really do Assos on a steel tourer with mudguards. It’s incongruous. So, inevitably, an entirely new type of wardrobe will be needed and I will write about that in due course.
But, actually, perhaps I don’t need to worry. For, in my view, the Rivelo range does seem to be a range which is capable of being, if not all things to all men (and women), then most things to most men. The look is both modern but stylish, understated even. At home on the lurid green Supersix as it will be on the Condor Fratello disc.
When Rivelo contacted me about this review they asked whether I’d be happy to review the green Pembridge jersey and their new blue Honister bibshorts. And, I have to say, I tried to steer them away from that. I had the old “blue and green should never be seen’ phrase running through my head. I cogitated, and relented. My thinking on reflection was that there’s too much black short going on, so, why the hell not? And, you know what, it was a pretty wise choice.
The Pemridge Jersey (rrp £90) Click here to buy
“Made with super soft Italian fabrics for comfort & breathability during those long summer rides. Understated design but loaded with technical and performance detailing and ergonomic panelling, giving the best possible fit whilst in the riding position.” That’s what Rivelo say. It’s sage green, if you’re interested. There are 3 other colours too, navy, black and grey.
Mine is a large, cited as being for 39-41″ chest and it’s spot on. It’s race fit and, given the “High stretch Xtra Life & Sport Energy Lycra” it fits like the figurative glove. Indeed, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider the construction. This isn’t our traditional mesh like jersey. Indeed, it’s got more in common with your lycra bibshort than a jersey. It’s a super soft material that clings to every part of you. Now, of course, that might not be the best look on everyone but even I have lumpy bits, and it’s fine. It’s actually one of the most comfortable jerseys I’ve ever worn.
Round the front it’s all very traditional, an all round elastic gripper keeping everything sorted at the waist. And on that score, it’s a medium length jersey, long enough to cover what it should when you’re standing, short enough not to bunch when you’re on the bike. The zip is quality being made by YKK. The collar is Goldilocks. I like the branding, I like the contrast arms, I love the fit.
The arms benefit from a supersoft gripper and that meshy panel which aids breathability. It works. It’s quick drying when it’s hot. It’s probably a little warmer than a full on climber’s jersey but it’s still entirely appropriate for the hottest of days. On that score there’s also UPF 50+ treatment so it’ll protect you too.
It’s the back that I particularly like. The mid pocket is raised to take larger items. The other two graduated slightly shorter. The white elastic trim keeps everything in place. Inside there’s a black fabric strengthener to make sure that you won’t pull it all apart when stowing loads of stuff. There’s reflective trim, at the bottom, and a zipped valuables pocket. That pocket has some water resistant lining.
In use it’s just spot on. Off your body it tends to wrinkle a bit, especially once washed or scrumpled up. But on your body it’s all flat and smooth. And, as I say, extremely comfortable. It makes you feel good wearing it, and that’s a real plus.
As with all of Rivelo’s kit it’s currently available through Sport Pursuit. The RRP is £90 though, at the moment, the blue version is on sale at £39.99. If you keep an eye out I suspect that the other colours will rotate through that price at some point.
And that begs this question. Is this worth £90 when it’s sold at £39.99. Normally I’d say, wait and, if you like, you still can. But, for me, this is a jersey which is worth the £90. And, if you really want to know how much I like it, I took advantage of the price reduction and bought the blue one too.
Rivelo Honister Bibshort (RRP £120) Click here to buy
So, blue bibshorts. I took a whirl because they are different and, I have to say, all the better for it.
You may recall that I tested the Rivelo Headley 3/4 Bibknickers last autumn and came away impressed. They’ve been used for winter rides, commuting and some frankly horrifically muddy CX races and they’ve stood up well to everything that I’ve thrown at them.
Starting with the most important part, the pad. Once again, it’s from elastic interface. who make pads for many of the premium bibshort manufacturers. I understand that it is once again the Bastogne Race pad good for rides of about 5-6 hours or so. Having used the shorts for rides of just short of that I can attest that it’s comfortable and gets on with the job well. It falls perhaps just short of the very best at that price but it’s still very good indeed.
The leg grippers are of the giant elastic band type. Don’t worry, the interior branding doesn’t stamp itself onto your skin. It’s a comfortable affair. They stay in place very well.
The upper is a traditional mesh design. The belly part is pitched quite high so provides a good level of support for any cake induced baggage. The lycra is exceptionally comfortable and reassuringly premium feeling. If I had to be picky I’d say that these would be good for warm temperatures but if you’re climbing the Alps at midday they might be a little warm. That said, that slight additional thickness does mean that these are a very good all year round option too.
There is brading present, but in a good way. The contrast black trim of the leg grippers is a nice touch, avoiding blue overload and tying in very well with the contrast trim on the arms of the jersey if you’re wearing them as an ‘outfit.’
The leg length is pretty much mid. None of this almost at the knee business (which I’m not awfully keen on). In use they’re very good indeed. The feel is excellent.
On the subject of wearing them as an outfit…..well, that green and blue combo is, in my view, a bit of a knockout and certainly different. My wife is now a little blase about all of my kit reviews but when I appeared in the kitchen wearing this combo she actually stopped to say that the whole thing was very nice. She’s probably angling for me to get her the women’s equivalent. So I may well do. But that is a pretty good measure of this being a very good combination.
At £120 there’s a lot of competition. The Assos Mille at £100 are probably a benchmark for how good a bibshort can be. The Rivelo aren’t far off being as good but the look is certainly a little more eye catching and there are sufficient differences to be able to justify having both of them in your wardrobe.
And, if you don’t fancy the blue there are a few colours reduced to £49.99 at the moment which is, frankly, an absolute steal. In addition if you fancy one of their Hartside jerseys then you can pick up a Honister and Hartside combo for a mere £69.99.
Anyhow, I’ve settled on a green Fratello disc frameset. And once it’s built I don’t really have to worry about finding a suitable combo to ride it, because it’s already in my wardrobe.