Summer Cycling Kit Reviews – Mavic Helium & HC Bibshorts & Jerseys
This summer’s been a fine time to test some warm weather kits, what with record heats hitting our area (and much of the US). I’ve had the luxury of sweating it out in jersey/bibshort combos from Mavic, Hincapie, Bicycle Line and Castelli, plus a Road Holland jersey and a mountain bike setup from Zoic. Each will get its own post, one per day.
Today’s is Mavic’s HC (above) and Helium lines. Both are extremely thin, to the point where you can see the bibs under the jersey and have me running almost full body sunscreen. Beyond that, they are pretty different kits…
The HC comes in three jersey colors, white (shown), red and black. The jersey has three main pockets, the center one about 50% wider than the two side pockets. A fourth zip pocket is plenty large enough for a phone and thin bill fold. The edges of the pockets have reflective strips running vertically. The entire jersey body is a lightweight, quasi-see thru mesh that’s 50% polyester and 50% polyamide. It’s plenty breezy and wicks quickly. Only the collar and tops of the raglan sleeves are a lycra material. The sleeve cuts are all Lycra with no gripper material, so they’re very comfortable while staying slim against your arm for better aerodynamics.
The full length zipper has reflective Mavic logos along the length of it, as does the rear zipper on the pocket. There’s a chin protector flap at the top of the zipper, too.
The Ergo 3D chamois has a 14mm (at the thickest) multi-density pad that’s quite comfortable. Chamois are a very personal matter, and these run on the slimmer side, which I like.
The mesh strap on the bibs is wide, which is good for reducing pressure points at the shoulder. It’s an open enough mesh that it didn’t cause any hot spots, even on the back panel, which is also wide.
The leg panels use three different materials. The inner/central black section is pretty standard lightweight Spandex. The white panel is even thinner (you can see your skin through it) and the side panels are a mesh (that you can also see your skin through). The leg openings have a logo’d gripper that’s plenty stretchy and holds things in place without being restrictive.
Mavic lists the jersey as having UPF 30 sun protection, but I still felt the need to wear sunscreen underneath.
Retail prices are $125 (jersey) and $150 (bibs). Bibs are also available in solid black.
The Helium gets an even lighter mesh for the body of the jersey. It shares the reflective logo piping on the full length zipper (an upgrade from prior years’ partial zip), but no chin protector flap. The mesh is carried all the way up the collar (with a light inner lining) and higher up the sleeves. The arm holes have a thin, non-grippy elastic band rather than the wide Lycra section of the HC.
Three rear pockets with a reinforced headphone cable port on the right side. There’s no inner loops or cable management inside the jersey or collar, though.
The chamois is their smoother Ergo 3D Pro that’s very smooth on the inside, up to 15mm thick in sections and has an abrasion resistant outer panel where your butt hits the saddle.
The bib straps are thinner but use a more closed mesh than the HC. The leg openings are laser cut with no seam. Grippers are banded with alternating strips of grippy and non-grippy sections. I preferred this design over the HC’s leg openings. The material on the legs seems slightly more compressive, but it’s still thin enough to keep you cool.
Retail is $120 (jersey) and $180 (bibs).
I tested a size Medium (US) for all pieces and they fit great. I’m 6’2″ at 180lbs and a bit more muscular than most cyclists. This makes fitting pure roadie kits a bit challenging (as you’ll see) since they tend to be cut for leaner folks. So, for sizing, the medium was cut well. The legs were a good length for me, hitting about 2/3 of the way to the knee. The jersey’s look a little short just standing here, but on the bike they fall in the right spot. Sleeves have good articulation in the riding position. Overall, they fit close without being tight or restrictive…good for both comfort and aerodynamics.
As mentioned, I liked the thickness of the chamois on both. Both kits made the hot summer days tolerable, even in the upper 90′s (nothing is tolerable above that). There are features about each I like a little better than the others (Helium’s leg grippers and chamois, HC’s jersey mesh and pockets), but I’d have a hard time picking between the two. They’re both great, and the prices aren’t too bad considering what some cycling clothing goes for these days. This was my first experience with Mavic’s clothing (except shoes), and it was fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone.