Before Tyler’s review last summer, we hadn’t come across much of clothing company Bicycle Line’s wares. Now in their sixteenth season, the company continues to pump out a wide range of cycling clothing (including a kids’ line and some neat looking water-resistant bibs) with a typically Italian focus on nice details and fantastic fabrics.
For spring/summer 2013, we have had a set of the brand’s Oxigeno bib shorts and short-sleeved jersey on test. While luxurious fabrics and performance fits are expected, Bicyle Line have also delivered a surprising dose of value. Roll on past the break for more!
While its often best to avoid stereotypes, Italian cycling clothing has a reputation for using very nice fabrics and cuts that hug the body. The Oxygeno kit only reinforces this preconception: the medium bibtights remain snug on a 30in waist and mid-sized thighs while the jersey’s elastic cuffs are snug on even twig-like cyclist’s biceps. Both pieces share an aggressive cut- one that works very well on the bike.
The bibshorts are intended to provide plenty of support to tired legs, something to take into account before sizing up. It’s always nice to find an Elastic Interface pad in a pair of review shorts as that company makes some of the most comfortable chamois on the market. Here is no different- the medium-density EIT pad is one of the nicest we’ve experienced.
Bicycle Line use extremely soft and comfortable material for the back portion of the bibs’ straps, while the front are a comfortable open 1-way stretch mesh. Where support isn’t as critical, mesh panels help to keep the lower belly and upper back cool. The leg grippers are almost cotton-y in feel and feature silicone printing inside and out, to better keep leg and knee warmers in place.
The short-sleeved Oxygeno jersey is an unapologetically aerodynamic piece. Our medium sample is snug on 140lb riders in a way that is startling at first. The full front zip features a locking Bicycle Line pull and the body fabric is oddly cool to the touch. The short sleeves share the shorts’ microfiber grippers. As expected, the standard three back pockets are all present, joined in this case by a small zippered fourth.
On the bike, the effort that Bicycle Line have spent on the cut and materials quickly becomes clear. Even with the jersey zipped to the neck, its underarm mesh panels allow for noticeably cool air flow. When unzipped, ventilation improves–with air flowing in through the front and out through the pits–without the jersey ever becoming flappy or noisy. The hem and cuff grippers do a good job at keeping everything in place. The snug fit will no doubt put more modest riders off- but the Oxygeno jersey is wonderfully comfortable and functional on the bike.
The hardest part about buying Bicycle Line products in the United States may well be finding them. That said, at €90 (under $120) for the jersey and €105 (about $135) for the bibshorts, they actually represent a good value- given the fabrics and construction we would have expected pricing closer to $200 apiece from other brands. While the jersey’s snug fit won’t be to everyone’s taste, we’ve found nothing to fault with the bibs: they’re among the very best we’ve tried under $200. Both pieces are available from European retailers and US distribution is handled by ARG Sports. Seeking out either or both should be well worth the effort.