I’ll never forget the first pair of shorts I wore on a bike ride. Or maybe it’s just that I’ll never forget how those shorts and underwear caused such pain, that I tried to ignore while riding. I eventually got a pair of bike shorts, after a few months of suffering in all the wrong shorts. I could not believe the difference the right material and some padding had on my riding! The chosen shirts worked a little better, but they were just t-shirts, hot, sweaty, and stayed hot and sweaty. I got a bike jersey maybe two years later, and immediately appreciated the difference.
That was in the 80’s, and like most cyclists, I’ve been through many different clothing pieces, and many team kits since then. Some were memorable, for the race results, and others because the bad design features. Some team kits look great, some looks like the designer was trying to create the most complicated layout that didn’t work in the end or sometimes lacked creativity. I know I’m not a great kit designer, I’ve tried a couple times and in the long run, I may have no imagination either. The worst would be to spend money on your personal design, only to hang it in the closet to never be worn after that first time it made your riding group nauseous. Fortunately, there are companies that provide design help!
When dealing with a committed team, it’s possible to organize a team order efficiently, and collect the money and order forms, and make everyone look alike. Sometimes there’s just a group who have a few things in common, and might be interested in matching clothing. I discovered JAKROO through another Facebook group, SINGLESPEED OR DEATH. They offered “team” clothing, but you could order whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, no collecting and placing an order against a schedule. I contacted JAKROO and got started!
Me, the clothing designer? No, I think I covered that already. I asked for help from the JAKROO designers, gave them a few small suggestions, some items I wanted added, and it came out great! But there’s more to team kits than just looks, the pieces have to work. I read all the clothing descriptions before I committed. I do wish I had paid closer attention to two descriptors: the temperature ratings and the sizing charts.
I don’t recall how I decided on the Tour jersey, but after receiving the Vuelta long sleeve jersey, I realized I may have chosen the wrong short sleeve jersey, due to the fabric. The Sapphire and Asteria fabrics create a nice jersey, but these do not breath as well as the Onyx fabric of the Vuelta jersey. I wear these clothes regardless of the temperature or humidity, but I would not recommend the Tour jersey for “high heat index” days, (although I do it anyway, vanity!).
JAKROO has a very unique feature in their jerseys. Along the vertical strip of reflective material on the right rear, there’s a vertical zippered pocket. The pocket is lined with a waterproof material. The design will keep items secure and dry. I’ll say the pocket is the size of a Samsung Galaxy S8, since that fits in there, although it could take thicker items, such as a typical wallet. A passport fits, but with not straight in. One note about that waterproof secure pocket is that it is on the outside layer of the right rear jersey pocket, so whatever you put in there will be on the outside.
The Barrier wind jacket is a valuable piece in the transition seasons. It keeps me warm on cool days, and with additional layers, it can be used down to about 40 degrees F. The jacket provides a bit of rain protection, but not rated by JAKROO as water resistant or proof. One important feature for lightweight jackets is that it will fit in a jersey pocket, and the Barrier meets that requirement.
The Peloton Pro bib sounded like the best choice, an upgraded chamois for long rides is key to my usual riding style. One of my many bold (humorous) cycling tenets is “Real road rides begin after 100 miles”. I have a few pair of worn out Voler bibs with their all day chamois, and this JAKROO bib has a comparable chamois, for all day use. One minor issue with this bibshort is with the height if the front area between the straps, it’s a little high. And probably only a male would realize this, during a natural break.
The Ridgeline jersey and Rally shorts are good. No features on the jersey, but the shorts have great pockets. They also have adjustable Velcro straps on the waistline, these help with fit adjustment, and there’s belt loops if needed.
At sometime in my life, I decided I am a medium. If there are lettered sizes, I’m a medium. If there’s a size chart, I’m medium in everything. I’ve bought from many bike clothing companies, shorts and jerseys, jackets, winter weight jackets, etc., and I’m always a medium. My mediumness has caused issues, and it was my mediumness that resulted in a few problems with the JAKROO sizing charts. The Tour jersey fit is good, the same for the medium Peloton Pro bib. The Barrier jacket is great, sleeve length is perfect. But a few items did not follow my medium requirements.
The Vuelta long sleeve jersey, which I got for the transition seasons, fits big and the sleeves are oddly long. The Peloton Pro bib I first ordered was a medium, but the length was noticeable less than other manufacturers; to solve this, I ordered a large, which matched the length of other bibs I’ve used. Maybe mountain bike clothing sizing is in transition from cartoon character baggy to slimmer more hipster styles. I didn’t look at the sizing charts and ordered a medium Ridgeline jersey and Rally shorts. Well, I had a friend that fit the shorts better, and I ordered a small which works better, but I could wear the extra small better. I was able to take the jersey to a local tailor who took a few inches out of the side seams, and a few inches off the bottom, for a couple dollars.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the placement of the US and Republic of Korea flags. The clothes are for the Bike Osan Facebook group. There are members from the US DoD, military and civilian, and members from our local communities who aren’t associated with the US. The flags are placed so they appear in the correct direction when on the bike.
This is my only “one off” clothing order. It costs a little more for this small count service, but it’s a luxury to create your idea in clothing. Our group has a store established at JAKROO, where anyone can order, if you know the name. The prices would be less if more were ordered, but again, making that arrangement with groups is not always easy, especially when it’s not a formal group like a competitive team. Working with the designers was simple and fairly quick. I learned a few things in this custom process. Always make sure the colors are exactly what you want, which is sometimes difficult using email and varied computer systems. And always use the free design services offered, these people have probably seen hundreds of nauseating designs by people like me.
It was about two months between beginning the process and receiving the clothes. I’ve been wearing these items for about a year and a half, and they are holding up well!