Stay Warm: Keep Wool

by V B June 08, 2016

The following review is highly subjective, but that might also be its main interest. I rode over a hundred kilometres wearing Search And State’s (SAS) Long Sleeve Merino Jersey.

Perth enjoys a mild climate altogether that allows for cycling all year long. That said, Perth winter mornings can feel pretty cool. The chill factor is a subjective thing, but when you move your body through air below (even slightly) 15 degrees, your body needs to fight to keep warm.

We’re not going to go through the whole physiological process here, but in a nutshell: you loose more energy when exercising in heat or cold because your heart need to pump more blood to cater for temperature regulation.

So, keeping warm is not only a question of comfort, it is a factor of performance - and endurance. (The same is true for warm weather naturally, everyone knows the importance of hydratation and sweat for the same temperature regulation purpose.)

Why Merino

Merino wool is recognised for it’s natural and amazing properties: it keeps you warm and stays dry — in other words, it’s highly breathable and wicking. Riding with SAS’s Long Sleeve Merino has proven all the above to be true. But there is even more to love in this garment.

Warm from T0

I wore it for the first time for a 45ish Km ride around Perth Hills (Mundaring Weir) on a dry and cold morning. I was a little annoyed because I had forgotten my wind breaker vest in the shop. I thought I’d be cold in the beginning wearing a sole mesh base layer and the merino jersey, but I was surprised how quickly the cloth’s temperature matched my skin’s - I did not even shiver a second. It is true that the firs bit of the ride was a smooth warm up, but 3 Km after the start we began to descend toward Mundaring Weir Road up from Kalamunda, and the chilly wind did not affect me - at all - I surprisingly did not feel much wind through the tight knit wool.

Thermo Regulation & Sweat

What is probably the most interesting mechanical property of the Merino wool is it’s wicking ability. I was really surprised how dry the garment stayed in the climbs. In this case it is not an immediate benefit, because your body is really good at bringing temperature down with sweat… but it’s when the temperature is going down again (whether you stop after the climb or you race down in the chilly wind) that you realize how good it is to remain dry. Here again, perfect job. Bonus: wool doesn’t stink - if you really burn a lot of calories you will sweat, but the cloth won’t punish you - or your mates - at the next recovery pub stop.

Wet & Dry

As I rode in wet conditions - this time wearing the vest - I also had the pleasant confirmation that wool has the ability to stay warm when wet. I actually know this for a fact from my years of mountaineering, wool (and somehow fleece) stays higher and warmer than practically any other cloth when wet. In this case the tight fit and tight knit were helping keeping the air out of the sleeves so the tissue would remain relatively warm.

Tight Fit & Slick Cut

The jersey is very true to size, I’m 1:80 for 73 Kg and wear an M. In the shop I thought M was going to be a little tight, but by all means the lengths were perfect, both for arm and torso, the shoulders did cut just a little in, but I thought I’d take the chance - I’d hate to have any material sagging or flapping. It was the right decision: the garment stuck real close to my skin, even above 50Km/h in the descents, not a single flap. It was also much more comfy after the first ride, like if the cloth got a little more stretch, which was welcome.

The jersey has 3 good size back pocket as you can expect, plus some nice finishing touches such as an external zipper pocket on the side, and a little loop in the collar to hang it. It also looks very slick in black, you can keep it on and look sharp at the coffee shop or even in the office - it is a real city slickers/commuter choice.

The Bad Stuff

A proper review always shows a critical advice. It's a super nice piece of kit really, there is nothing to dislike, unless maybe you like colors because as of today it is available in any color you like, as long as it is black.

Wrapping Up

If you'd like to get a quick summary, it's warm and dry all the way and looks awesome. The final word is: "wrap (yourself) up" - in Merino wool. You should choose SAS's Long Sleeve Merino if you like the classy and black, but if it's too boring for you your could alternatively check out the Cadence model with short sleeves we also stock. I haven't tested as we speak, but I'd be thrilled to hear your say!



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