There’s a point in the season when Jack Frost quickly arrives on scene just before Old Man Winter decides take over, making the long-sleeve jersey and knickers the quintessential garments to thwart the chill.
This autumn, I had the opportunity to review Isadore’s Echelon Long Sleeve Jersey and 3/4 Bibshorts (aka knickers), a small boutique brand in Slovakia that manufactures most of its cycling togs in its hometown of Puchov, using only the best in sustainable, performance fabrics.
The Echelon jersey features two types of Italian fabrics, Thermodream and Super Roubaix, which combined are designed to provide optimal breathability and moisture wicking, while a treatment of PFC-free DWR creates a barrier that’s both water and dirt repellent.
The Echelon is further highlighted by an elastic gripper along the back of the waist, as well as the cuffs of the sleeves, which are aimed at sealing-off the cold by keeping key openings of the jersey firmly in place at all times, while a spoon-shaped zipper further adds to its premium look and feel.
As for the 3/4 Bibshorts, likewise they receive the same combination of fabrics and DWR treatment as the Echelon jersey, along with a sophisticated pad that features AirMesh square foam and a carbon fiber integrated top layer.
Other features that punctuate the knickers include perforated, breathable material along the leg panels that are designed to wick away moisture and protect from overheating, while also providing insulation from the cold air.
So, how did the Echelon Long Sleeve Jersey and 3/4 Bibshorts perform?
In a word stellar.
The combination of fabrics, fit and performance all tallied into the ideal garments for facing a cool autumnal day, providing the requisite amount of warmth, loft and feel against the body that enabled me to spend long-days in the saddle chasing the borders and hedgerows of small western Massachusetts towns, all-the-while feeling warm and comfortable.
I particularly liked the fit of the garments, which I would classify as being a race-cut, meaning they’re designed to fit tight against the body in typical European fashion.
So, if you’re not at your fighting weight, I would suggest sizing up a notch or two.
In sum, the pieces ticked all-the-boxes in terms of comfort and performance. And, for the inveterate euro-geek such as myself, the style quotient was certainly met as well, with small embellishments here-and-there that amounted to a bespoke aesthetic that’s only found in the most exclusive brands.
The Echelon Long Sleeve Jersey sells for $225, which is available in sizes ranging from XS to XXL in four stylish colors, while the 3/4 Bibshorts fetch $205 in the same run of sizes, but only in black.
So, where does the Isadore name come from, you ask?
Initially, I thought Isadore may have been some overly romanticized name plucked from the pages of a D.H. Lawrence novel, or something along those lines, when in fact its origins couldn’t have been anything further from that.
As it turns out, the founders of the brand, Martin and Peter Velits, had an aha moment stemming from their fondness of the Incubus song bearing the name Isadore.
Oh, well, so much for D.H.. But, then again he was known for penning a bodice ripper or two.
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