If you could imagine a map consisting of little dots representing the myriad of cycling apparel brands out there, it would have the appearance of braille.
However, just as we’ve seen in most industries, competition stirs a fierce battle for market share, with quality and innovation being the only path to success.
For cyclists, this is a win-win situation, by virtue of the fact that competing brands are aimed at one thing, winning over the customer by offering the best product.
Here’s a fairly new addition (at least to us) to the ever-burgeoning cycling apparel segment called Après Vélo, which seems to understand that philosophy, and in turn offers some incredibly stylish togs.
Interestingly though, Après Vélo isn’t just an apparel company, rather it’s a lifestyle brand that aims to promote the celebration of cycling by offering all sorts of bespoke collections ranging from kits to specialty after-wear including concierge level cycling tours in the heart of Spain’s historic Mallorca region.
Après Vélo recently sent me its Illuminati cycling jersey and AV Signature bibshorts for review, which right out-of-the-box wowed me with their exquisite attention to detail and quality.
Illuminati Cycling Jersey
The Illuminati is perhaps Après Vélo’s most performance oriented cycling jersey, offering a mix of comfort, visibility and aerodynamics courtesy of the finest lightweight, breathable fabrics from Italy.
“Stealthy elegance combined with the ultimate in aerodynamics and comfort, creates a high performance race cut jersey that redefines performance cycling apparel. Crafted in Italy utilising innovative high visibility technology. BE SEEN ON THE ROAD whilst Living the Ride,” says Après Vélo.
Other features that punctuate the Illuminati jersey are a full length zipper, laser cut sleeves for an aero fit, internal elastic gripper with gel at the waist for optimized fit and three tapered rear pockets.
As far as fit is concerned, as Après Vélo suggests, the Illuminati jersey has a “race-cut”, so either be prepared to bump up a size, or go on a water and Wasa cracker diet for a week or two.
Out on the road, the Illuminati jersey turned out to be one of the most comfortable, lightweight, breathable jerseys I’ve reviewed to date, effectively managing perspiration and regulating body temperature on days when the mercury was at its highest – all the while maintaining proper fit with no bothersome seams or stitching to contend with.
Combine that with a style quotient that extols the popular trends of understated, subdued colors and textures, and it quickly became one of my favorites to don.
AV Signature Bibshorts
Like the Illuminati jersey, the AV Signature bibshorts comprise the finest fabrics that Italy’s cycling apparel industry has to offer, including one of the best chamois pads I’ve ever experienced. In fact, the pad was so effective at providing enough friction-free comfort that I was able to forgo the use of embrocation. That’s pretty remarkable given my previous battles with the dreaded chaff.
Equally impressive, are the elasticized mesh cuffs on the lower leg with anti-slip gel gripper and the elasticized mesh straps that ensured comfort and maximum breathability during even the longest, most demanding rides.
Again, when temperatures spiked, comfort and breathability became the hallmarks of these bibshorts.
“An elite level cycling Bib short crafted in Italy for racing and the comfort of everyday riding, by harnessing the latest developments in performance and technology.. These pro style knicks are crafted from high performance Italian textiles which are contour hugging, aerodynamic and lightweight. The new and advanced Road performance Space 2 chamois, guarantees and exceptional fit and greater stability in the saddle, with specially reinforced 3 foam density in the pelvic area,” explains Après Vélo.
Together, Après Vélo’s Illuminati and AV Signature bibshorts made for one of the most stylish and best performing kits I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. And, at $99.95 and $129.95 respectively, the garments represent one of the best value for dollar purchases any discerning cyclist could make.
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