Best of Interbike: 2013 Cycling Apparel We're Excited About
We're still digging through our notes from Interbike. In addition to our Gear of the Show picks, a flurry of cool new bikes, and stacks of interesting-looking accessories, we also saw lots of good looking new apparel in Vegas. Here's a sampler of what we can't wait to wear.
RAPHA LONG SLEEVE BREVET JERSEY ($300)
Just in time for autumn, Rapha unveils a sharp, new full-length rendition of its pavement-tested Brevet jersey. That's brevet, as in 200-kilometer-plus randonneuring rides, which explains the voluminous storage, including the standard triple back pockets and two zipper compartments, front and rear. The high-vis pink and white stripes are stylish but tame enough for most riders, while the included matching pink vest might be a bit much for some. We love the looks of both, and we'll be riding in them all fall to see if they're as comfy as they are fetching.
GIRO EMPIRE ($275)
Though their footwear program is just a couple of years old, we've been continually impressed with the quality, refinement and dialed fit of Giro's shoes. The company adds another premium shoe to the line with the Empire, which mates a soft Teijin upper to the proven Easton EC90 sole. The full lace-up design was apparently requested by Taylor Phinney, who won the prologue of this year's Giro d'Italia in his first ride in these shoes. For those not into the puke green movement that's so popular right now, Giro makes the Empire in a gloss black.
GIORDANA EXOSYSTEM (jersey: $260; bibs: $325)
Compression wear is nothing new, but this Italian company's take, co-developed by Giordana owner Giorgio Andretta and a friend who is a sports physician, are some of the most thoughtful designs we've seen. The pieces are sewn with eight different fabrics, which follow, isolate and compress the musculature in order to reduce fatigue and flush out lactic acid. There is a short-sleeve jersey and standard bib, but the company says that to maximize the compressive effects, it's best to go with the long-sleeve jersey and knicker-length bibs, both of which are lightweight and optimized for summer riding.
SIDI WIRE VENT CARBON ($500) & DRAKO ($450)
We would have told you that it would be hard to make a better shoe than Sidi's Ergo 3, but the Italian manufacturer seems deadset on proving us wrong with its two new top-end shoes. Built with the same honed last and fit as the Ergo 3, the Wire Vent Carbon gets a new dual buckle ratchet system while shedding 60 grams per pair. Sidi already had the best spin ratchets, and these new ones use fabric cables for great durablity and even quicker on and off. As with all of Sidi's shoes, the new platform extends to the mountain line, in the form of the Drako, which pairs the Wire Vent Carbon upper with a replaceable lugged sole. The Drako loses 100 grams per pair over last year's Dragons and adds a clever new replaceable wear plate under the cleats.
CHROME STORM FIELD ($250)
Though it looks like a classic military field jacket, Chrome's new Storm Field is a teched-out shell for urban cyclists. The fully taped waterproof breathable Chrome Storm fabric will shed the elements, but it's sublimated to look like a wool tweed. And in spite of all the bike-friendly touches—a full-width zippered rear pocket, stowable hood, reversible reflective cuffs, and high-visibility reflective patches in key spots—it's dapper enough to layer over cashmere and head for the office.
PEARL IZUMI X-PROJECT (1.0: $280; 2.0: $210; 3.0: $160)
Until now, if you wanted a mountain bike cleat with any hiking ability, you had to settle for shoes that were modeled after runners or hikers that lacked good structure and rigidity for pedaling power. The X-Project supposedly solves the problem with a tuned carbon sole that is stiff under the ball of the foot for pedaling but has a break point farther forward that enables the natural flexion of the foot when walking. The lightweight mesh of the 1.0 model should be great for bikepackers and adventure riders, while the sturdier faux-leather upper of the 2.0 will make cyclocross racers happy.
YETI CYCLES RIDING SHORTS (Teller: $75; Freeland: $85; Padroni: $105; chamois: $60)
We aren't generally fond of branded apparel because too often companies simply slap their logos on anything they can find. Not so Yeti, which seems to have put as much thought and care into the design of its new riding short line as it does its well-crafted bikes. The company showed three new shorts aimed at three different styles of rider: the lightweight Teller for cross-country; the midweight Freeland for trail riders; and the decked-out Padroni for downhillers. There are lots of smart design cues here, including careful fabric selections, sculpted cuts, direct venting, and a trio of chamois options to match the shorts. Women get their own versions, too, conceived and exected by Yeti's female designer.