With the arrival of June and the sun, we’ll be turning our attention this month to spring-summer clothing.
First from the cupboard is this collection from Etxeondo, a Spanish brand synonymous with some of the greatest teams and riders of the last three decades (Kelly and KAS, Delgado and Reynolds, Indurain and Banesto etc).
Despite outsourcing by many of its rivals to the Far East and eastern Europe, Etxeondo’s clothing is still made in Spain, by a local workforce.
Here’s a detailed first look at the clothing we’ll be testing in the month ahead.
Etxeondo Gizon short sleeved jersey
The Gizon jersey is made from Etxeondo’s proprietary Superdry fabric: a lightweight, synthetic material, woven in a honeycombe mesh, which we expect to provide adequate ventilation for a British summer.
Etxeondo describe the fabric as “fast drying” as well as highly breathable, and we’re hoping for conditions to test this claim in the weeks ahead.
As might be expected from a manufacturer with such a rich heritage, the Gizon follows classic lines: full-length zip at the front, and three pockets of equal size at the rear.
There’s an elasticated hem at the waist (rather than a silicone band, sadly), and the sleeves end in a simple fold: the best method in our experience, providing the fit is close enough.
The Etxeondo Gizon jersey is available in black, red, white and blue, with a contrasting chest band, in size S to XXXL, and costs £69.99.
Etxeondo Frisch vest
Early observations indicate the Frisch vest as the pick of the collection sent for test.
It’s a beautifully tailored piece, with an extremely elegant, if decidedly European appearance.
We’re expecting a performance to match the looks. The chest panels, and a small panel in the centre of the back, are made from Gore’s Windstopper fabric, widely regarded as the most effective on the market.
A robust-looking, full-length zip is colour coded to match the rest of the piece, and kept from resting against the skin by a concealed panel from the same fabric as the chest.
The back is fashioned from a synthetic mesh, that extends from the waist to the collar, with the exception of the aforementioned Windstopper panel in the centre. It’s equipped with three rear pockets and a reflective tab.
Etxeondo describe the Frisch vest as a garment for spring or autumn, but this is as likely to prove suited to summer. We’ll find out.
The Etxeondo Frisch vest is available in black and white, and black and red, in sizes from S to XXXL, and costs £139.99.
Etxeondo Bira bib-short
We tested Etxeondo’s range-topping Feather bib-short last summer and declared it the season’s best. How will the entry-level Bira compare?
The first piece of good news is that the Bira shares the Lycra Sport fabric with its top-tier cousin, the finest of any we tested last year.
Super-wide lycra braces, another feature of the Feather, are present here too, and another welcome sight.
The principal difference between the two lies in the pad. With light weight the USP of the Feather, Etxeondo deployed a low density, hand-stitched insert.
It’s a different story here, where Etxeondo have used the double density Arma chamois, cut from the Cube fabric of Elastic Interface, insert supplier to a host of premium brands.
The 30mm deep, elasticated hem grippers are another welcome inclusion if recent experience is a guide (we experienced something similar on De Marchi’s excellent Contour Plus bib-short). They’re finished with an understated, black-on-back Etxeondo logo.
The Etxeondo Bira short is available in black and from sizes S to XXXL. It costs £79.99.
Etxeondo Flux Life rain jacket
If a Spanish manufacturer believes it necessary to produce a rain jacket light enough to carry in summer, perhaps we in Britain should be listening.
The Flux Life is extremely light, made from a combination of Polyester and Teflon, the latter likely to be the source of claims for water repellency.
It looks better suited to summer showers than winter downpours. Etxeondo describe the seams as sealed, but they’re not taped.
The large mesh panels at either side, which extend to the underside of both arms, will also do little for waterproofing but should certainly provide ventilation. In this regard, they look sensibly placed, given that most of the moisture is likely to come at you from above.
The Flux Life is equipped with a full-length zip finished with a large-ish Etxeondo tag which we hope will make it easy to locate when riding, as well as a high-ish collar and firmly elasticated cuffs.
At the rear, there’s drop tail, longer than average, which we expect to shield us from road spray, and in the centre of the back panel, a large reflective graphic, which may provide some concession to safety if wearing a solid black jacket at night (the fluro green option is perhaps better suited, if you’re seeking a garment for regular night rides).
The Flux Life jacket is available in black and fluro yellow, in sizes S to XXL, and costs £79.99.
Etxeondo Precision arm warmer
A year-round essential, ideal for rides begun in chilly temperatures, the arm warmer remains a part of the wardrobe of most cyclists, regardless of the change of season.
The Precision arm warmer is made from a lycra blend called Ketaran with claimed properties for warmth and moisture transfer.
It’s fleece lined with an elasticated gripper band at the top of the arm.
The Etxeondo Precision arm warmer is available in black, and costs £29.99.