Long Term Review: ELEVEN vélo Merino Wool Team Jersey, Bibs & Arm Warmers
The Sydney, Australian based company, ELEVEN vélo , is a purveyor of fine merino wool cycling clothing. We featured their brand here. Since then, I have had the luxury of riding in their team jersey, 3/4 length bibs, and arm warmers. One can think of ELEVEN vélo as being akin to a custom frame builder. Each product that goes out the door is specifically crafted for the customer that ordered it. The goods sold are made from ethically sourced materials, and manufactured in Sydney to strict guidelines. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the clothing, ensuring it looks good and performs great.
Head past the break for a full breakdown of the items.
The ELEVEN vélo team jersey provided for review is made from a quality 170gsm (5 oz) Woolmark superfine merino wool. It features an Italian made 6” zip, three reinforced rear anti-sag pockets, and customizable color options.
The wool used here (and in all of their products) is grown, spun, and woven in Victoria, Australia, which allows the supplier to keep a low carbon footprint. It is also non-Mulesing certified. And for anyone who has ridden in quality merino wool can attest to, it is odor resistant, naturally anti bacterial, breathable, and great at regulating temperature. Oh, and it’s flame resistant, but don’t go riding through any forest fires to test it, ok.
These features, combined with very high quality craftsmanship should yield a great jersey. And you know what, it does. This is hands down my favorite jersey in the closet. The fit is spot on. With seven different sizes to choose from, you should easily be able to order a jersey that fits perfectly. If you have an odd sized body, they will make a bespoke jersey just for you as well (for an additional fee).
I received the jersey at the tail end of the warm weather here in Portland, OR. I found that it works great with no base layer on warm days. As fall rolled in, I found it works great over a lightweight base layer on cooler days, or under a rain shell. And now with winter here, I have been wearing it over a thermal base layer with a jacket over it. The jersey not only looks great, but it performs great too.
Comfort has never been an issue with this piece of kit. The fit is snug but not tight, and when loaded, the pockets don’t affect the fit in any significant way. The jersey also makes use of elastic at the waist and on the end of each sleeve to keep it in place.
Options for the team jersey include short or long sleeves, 6” or full zip, seven different sizes, customizable body color, arm color, and chest and back panel colors, thread color, reflective stripes on rear pockets, and bespoke fitting if needed. I configured this jersey with short sleeves, 6” zip, in black with light blue accents and white and black thread. Cost as ordered is $120 USD. A very reasonable and competitive price given the good design and quality of the product.
Good arm warmers are always a nice addition to any kit, especially on those cooler spring and fall days. Knowing the temperature was dropping soon, it was great to have these arm warmers included in the review kit.
As with the jersey, the quality of stitching here is top notch. The design is great, because the strip on the arm warmers matches up well with the strip on the sleeve of the jersey. They are made using a 220gsm superfine merino wool that has never once felt itchy against the skin. It is mixed with 5% spandex to give them a bit of stretch. The added spandex also makes them more form fitting to the arm. They do a great job of keeping my limbs warm on cooler rides. When it does warm up, they roll up small enough to easily fit inside a jersey pocket.
They come in five sizes, and I have the longest at 21.3” (31cm). At 6’2” I have somewhat long arms, and I prefer my arm warmers to have a fair bit of overlap with my sleeves. This largest size starts at my wrist and goes all the way up my arm, and ends just below my armpit. With a wide size range however, you can order a length that fits your personal preference. Cost is $45 USD.
PREMIUM CYCLING BIBS
To round out the kit, I have been riding in the ELEVEN vélo premium cycling bibs. As with the other bit of kit, these are made from superfine merino wool (170gsm), but they also include some Lycra panels for a perfect fit with the right amount of stretch. Specifically, they are made using closed mesh merino wool straps and side panels. The inner panels are made using a tougher 250gsm Italian Lycra for “compressive comfort and durability.” A rear stash pocket is built in to hold less frequently accessed items, and two optional leg stash pockets can be added for access to gels or other small items. As with the jersey, internal elastic is used on the cuffs to keep the legs from riding up.
The chamois pad comes from Elastic Interface, and it is their Tour-HP Carbonium model designed for long distance riding. It’s made from three layers of high density foam, and features their “HEART SHAPE” zone for a better anatomical, comfortable fit.
Simply put, these are the best bibs I have ever ridden in. Thanks to the large size range offered (six options total), I was able to order a pair that fits me just right. They have a tad bit of stretch to them, but it’s nothing like the usual spandex bibs we are all used to. That gives these bibs a quality, tailored just for me, feel that I love. Again, knowing it was about to get colder outside, I went with the optional 3/4 length legs to get me through fall and spring. The legs stop 4” below my knee. They worked out perfectly in the fall weather. With the onset of winter temperatures (nothing to severe here in Portland, OR), I found I could wear these, along with some knee high wool socks, and if needed a pair of wind stopper fleece lined winter pants and stay plenty warm. These are looking to be a great three season bib.
The only downside I have found to these bibs is due to the lack of super stretchy-ness. While I do love how they fit, the mid section comes up above my belly button, and with limited stretchy-ness, I find it can be a bit hard to take a “natural break,” but it is manageable.
Cost for these bibs runs $140 USD, and the 3/4 leg option is an additional $10 USD.
In short, this kit is fantastic. The design and styling is classy, and is a nice change of pace from the logo heavy race kit we are all used to seeing. It’s produced ethically and responsibly, it’s made from high quality materials, shows fantastic craftsmanship, is available in a size range to fit most anybody, performs amazingly well, and is very comfortable. In fact, it’s so comfortable, it’s like riding in my pajamas. And if all that wasn’t enough, you get to pick out the colors. With all that in mind, the cost of these products is very reasonable, and quite competitive. When it comes time to purchase more clothing, ELEVEN vélo’s gear will be at the top of my list, and should be on your’s too.