Just like last year’s collection, Performance Bike continues to up the quality and tech on their clothing while maintaining the attractive price points they’re known for. This year’s pieces span the range from entry level to premium for both men and women and offer updated fabrics and a few new features we like.
Before we get into the techy bits, we’ll take a look at the more fashion oriented Alexander Julian collection. The fashion designer is local to Chapel Hill, where Performance Bike is based, so they collaborated on a series of jerseys that’ll work well for road riding and commuting, on the bike and off.
Check them out, and much, much more, below…
Jerseys retail for $69.99, but, as with most things, are already on sale. Available in the Madras blue, Nantucket Red and True Blue plaid. All feature a 9″ zipper up front with polo style collar, UPF30 polyester/Spandex fabric, two zip pockets and a button center pocket on the back.
Socks match close enough, but we’re thinking these would be pretty sick as dress socks, too. Check out the collection here. Now, on to the technical riding gear:
Performance Ultra is their top of the line group. Compared to last year, they switched from a mesh jersey fabric to a smoother, sleeker Aero Cool fabric, which uses a cloverleaf shaped extrusion to wick away moisture. It’s stretchier, but keeps the race fit and compression arm bands. Mesh panels under the arms help keep you cool, and a new sweatproof 4th zipper pocket provides some protection for your smart phone against body moisture. It’s not a waterproof pocket, so you’ll still need more protection if rain’s on the radar, but it’s a nifty addition. The jersey comes in white and black, just flip flop the detail colors. Retail is only $69.99. The bibshorts come in at $99.99 and upgrade last year’s version with more textured side panels and stylized panel cuts that make them look pro and fit very, very well. They keep the Coldblack technology to reflect UV rays, and Eschler fabric on the sides has textured grids to improve aerodynamics, move moisture quickly and offer higher compression than before. Their chamois pads continue to evolve, too, with a new Italian made piece with shaved edges between the multiple density sections. That keeps it smooth as it transitions from low to high density cushion, and four-way stretch and antimicrobial treatment ensure plenty of comfort over the long haul. Also available as a standard short for $89.99.
Just above the standard Ultra bibshorts are the Ultra SL, which gets a lighter weight chamois to save a few grams. It’s still multi-density, still Italian made and has all the other features of the standard model, just a bit lighter. Retail is $119.99. All versions feature flat lock stitching and a very wide compression leg opening with some of the slimmest, most comfortable gripper I’ve tried.
I’ve been riding this kit all summer and it’s top notch. Just like last year, the amount of features and high end materials they can pack into their Ultra gear for the price is amazing. And label snobs need not worry, you’d be hard pressed to tell this was from Performance unless you checked the label. The fit of their jerseys is slightly more American than Italian, so if you’re between sizes and want a more slim, aero fit, go for the smaller size. I usually wear an XL but could get away with a large on these. Bibshorts seem to fit normal and the XL was perfect (I’m 6’2″ / 193lb)
Next down the line is Elite, which uses a 100% polyester fabric for the main panels with poly/Spandex side panels to keep it fitted. It keeps the three main pockets with a fourth zippered, sweatproof pocket on the right. Available in blue, red and bright green, the latter being a nice safety option without looking too garish. I’ve been testing this color and the bibshorts also, and both are very comfortable and fit well. Retail is $49.99 for the jersey, $79.99 for the bibshorts. They get a new Italian chamois with ventilation panels at the front and their ComfortBand leg openings. The cut and paneling is designed to offer subtle muscle compression, and the mesh uppers split open across the lower back to provide well rounded support without covering up too much skin. Also available as a standard short for $69.99.
The Club II short sleeve jersey loses the fitted finish for a more casual look. It goes with a 9″ zipper and three standard rear pockets. The 100% polyester offers UPF30 protection and, like all of their road-oriented garments shown here, has reflective bits all around for 360º visibility. The shorts have a pre-curved chamois with silicone gel inserts to absorb vibration and multi density padding to cushion. Retail on each piece is $39.99. Jerseys are available in yellow, red, blue, green and white.
For each of the three groups, they have matching gloves, too, shown in order from left to right.. The Ultra ($29.99) has been one of my go-to gloves all summer. It gets Pittards leather palms with slim gel padding and a lightweight mesh upper. I’ve been using the black ones, though, which absolutely, positively should NOT be washed with anything other than black clothing. You’ve been warned. Otherwise awesome.
Elite ($24.99) has a Clarino synthetic suede palm with dual density foam padding under the pressure points and a breathable mesh upper/ The Club ($19.99) has a synthetic suede palm with foam padding and basic mesh upper.
The women’s collection gets high performance kits in the Ultra and Elite lines as well, sharing the same features and similar look and color options as the ones shown above, with the occasional fuscia or pink substitution. Notable exceptions include the revised bib strap placement on the Ultra shorts (left), styling and cut tweaks on the Elite jersey (center, also available sleeveless) and a yoga-style wide waistband on the Elite shorts (right). Club jerseys are the same, and Club shorts look very similar but with different chamois pads.
The real story is the insanely good lifestyle and fitness collection. From left to right, the Alto Jersey has a semi-fitted cut that’s a bit looser at the belly, 7″ zip front and three rear pockets. It’s a lightweight poly/Spandex with UPF30. Available sleeveless, too, both for $39. The Trill Tank Jersey ($39.99) also uses a poly/Spandex fabric but with a more fitted cut. It gets two slanted rear pockets and reflective details on the shoulders and pockets. Using the same fabric, the Lyric Jersey ($49.99) comes in teal or gray and gets a more fitness oriented, slim cut with detail ruching under the v-neck opening. Cycling friendly hits like two angled rear pockets and subtle reflective bits make it quite versatile.
All three have a very soft hand to them, feeling much higher end than the prices suggest.
Those are joined by the Metro Short and Metro Knicker, both with minimal Y-shaped padding, crossover comfort waist bands and wicking Dryflex fabric. Retail is $39.99 and $49.99 respectively.
There’s a ton of new outerwear in the collection, so we’re only calling out a few of the highlights. The Impasse rain jacket gets an awesomely easy-to-see orange color for its ripstop nylon with waterproof zippers and taped seams. It’s a 2.5 layer shell that’s windproof, water repellant and moisture wicking. It’s semi-formed, so it’ll fit well in the riding position and off. Reflective bits all around, pit zips, adjustable hood and brushed neck liner round out the features. Retail is $119.99.
The Herb Hoodie for men and Nollie Hoodie for women both get very soft, moisture wicking polyester/Spandex fabric in a lightweight thickness with flat lock seams and front kangaroo pocket. Retail is $69 each, and the men’s version gets a zippered arm pocket while the women’s gets an adjustable drawstring hem.
We’ll be seeing some new mountain bike kit from them shortly and will post separately. In the meantime, just know that pretty much everything here is already on sale, some as much as 50% off. Check it all out at Performance Bike.