With the 2013 Giro d’Italia underway, and our minds on all things Italian, we called in a collection of summer clothing from the venerable De Marchi.
Founded in 1946, and a supplier to some of the greatest names in Italian cycling, a certain Francesco Moser included, the brand has been resurrected in recent years and is available in the UK through on-line giant, Chain Reaction Cycles.
We tested a collection of De Marchi winter kit in January, and it’s fair to say the majority of it became our ‘go to’ outfit when temperatures plummeted.
With spring finally sprung, and events in Italy set to dominate the racing calendar in the weeks ahead, we decided to give some of their spring-summer collection a spin.
Before we head out onto the road, here’s a detailed look at the tailoring and fabrics of their short-sleeved Contour Pro Jersey, C+ bib short, and SL undershirt.
Contour PRO Jersey short-sleeve jersey
Weighing a scant 127 grams, the Contour PRO Jersey certainly won’t weigh you down, but will it allow you to perform at your best? Features are minimal, as you’d expect from a garment intended to leave you cool in hot temperatures. The sleeve is free from elastic or silicon gripper, and simply folded at the end, seemingly a popular technique with the Italians: we encountered the same design last year on Castelli’s Velocissimo Equipe jersey, and liked it, finding nothing to compress the arm.
Elsewhere, this De Marchi piece meets the non-negotiable clauses in our jersey contract: a full-length zip and three rear pockets – if it ain’t broke etc. Throw in a low collar and a short, reflective loop poking from the centre pocket, and the jigsaw is complete: a simple, summer jersey, cut close across the chest and in the sleeve. The striking rosso and black, with the word Italia and a thin Italian tricolore in the centre of the back, completes a garment seemingly made for the season from a 100 per cent polyester mix known to De Marchi as DRY3 Micro Fabric.
The De Marchi Contour PRO jersey is available in seven sizes from XS to XXL, in red, green, orange, or blue, and costs £54.99.
Contour PLUS bib short
The lined short was arguably the most impressive garment in De Marchi’s Contour PLUS winter collection, so our expectations are high for this unlined offering for summer.
The presence of a chamois from Elastic Interface is a good start. Supplier to Assos and Rapha to name just two, the insert, erm, inserted here is a proprietary model, recommended by De Marchi for long-distance use. Pad densities from 10mm to 2.5mm are used (thickest at the rear, thinnest saddle-side at the front) to “effectively reduce genital compression”, which we’d say (in comic falsetto) has to be a good thing.
The braces are lycra at the front, giving way to a four-sided honeycombe carbon mesh only at the shoulders and back, another good thing, we hope – lycra has considerably more ‘give’ than polyester, and minimising use of the latter to areas where breathability is a must seems sensible.
The leg gripper is subtly different to the lined, winter short. It’s just 30mm deep, suggesting a greater degree of compression than our preferred solution: the deep laser cut band witnessed, for example, on Castelli’s Velocissimo Equipe short. We’ll reserve judgement until we’ve ridden it, however.
The De Marchi Contour PLUS bib-short is available in six sizes from S to XXL, in all-black, or black with red, white, or blue panels, and costs £119.99.
The SL undershirt is made from a synthetic fabric called Polypropylene, punctured with minute perforations, and sewn with beautifully finished flatlock seams which we hope will keep us free from irritation. It’s absurdly light, so we’ll be hoping for Mediterranean conditions in Blighty for our test period. The fit is close, the neck cut low, and the hems finished with a simple fold.
We’ll post separate reviews of each garment in the weeks ahead. Two things are evident at this early stage, however. Firstly, the Italian emphasis in De Marchi’s foundation is genuine: each garment here bears the label “handmade in Italy”. Secondly, the cut of each garment is extremely close.
The Contour Light Base Layer SL is available in seven sizes from XS to XXL, in white, and costs £37.99.
Website: De Marchi
UK distributor: Chain Reaction Cycles