Shutt Velo Rapide sent us their Classic Jersey, Race Team Shorts and CoolMax Socks as part of our summer clothing test. Here’s how we got on with three items from the British brand.
First, a quick recap on Shutt. The firm was founded in 2009 by two cyclists who used traditional cycling jerseys as their inspiration to create a small range of cycle clothing which has expanded quickly in the three years since.
The Classic Jersey is a Shutt staple but has been redesigned in 2012, coming with a handful of updated features, as well as a new fit. The jersey’s available in white and black, and while our white sample washes up well, the black alternative is a more sensible choice for coping with the grime that can kick up off the roads during a wet and meteorologically unpredictable summer; white’s more of a Sunday best option.
Shutt clothing is cut, in their words, to “fit the normal everyday rider”, and I was required to move down to a size to a small having found the medium too baggy; the first time I’ve needed a small for a cycling jersey. That’s rather flattering, and Shutt’s approach is perhaps refreshing after the super-skinny fit preferred by many European manufacturers.
That said, I found the Classic Jersey had too much material in some places and not enough in others for it to be entirely comfortable on the bike. The bottom third of the jersey remained a little baggy, even on a small, while the arms (as they were on the medium I previously tried) were a little short and quite tight – I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger – so uncomfortable when riding. Fit is personal, however, so that’s not to say the Classic Jersey won’t work for you.
That aside, the jersey is undoubtedly stylish and the quality is excellent. It’s made from a MerinoPerform material, a polyester and merino mix, which is relatively lightweight as far as wool jerseys go. Proponents of merino will sing its praises as a fabric which keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer but I find that only to be the case to a certain degree; a fabric with an insulating quality like merino is always going to retain more heat than a wholly man-made polyester jersey, for example.
I’m a rider who generates heat fairly easily and found myself overheating in the Classic Jersey on a summer’s day with a temperature of, say, 20 degrees, even though the jersey stays relatively dry. If the temperature’s a little cooler, an early summer’s morning, for example, or if on a relaxed, social group ride when the effort is, on the whole, not too great, then the jersey’s still a good option – if only the cut suited my body shape a little better.
If I had trouble with Shutt’s Classic Jersey, then the Race Team Shorts are excellent, with my regular size, medium, doing the trick. They come with a £99 price tag which makes them the company’s most expensive shorts, ahead of the Pro Bib Shorts (reduced from £89 to £59 at the time of writing) and Club Bib Shorts (£49).
The Race Team Shorts, new for 2012, are an evolution of the Pro Bib Shorts, and have been designed with the input of the Shutt-sponsored Twenty3c Orbea pro team.
The shorts are constructed from a Miti PowerLycra fabric and have a compression fit which is designed to get the best performance when riding your bike, not standing around next to it. That means the straps might feel a bit tight when off the bike, but there’s still plenty of give in the material and I found them to be not too restrictive, while offering plenty of support. The straps are made from a mesh material which provides a little more ventilation, while the lycra make-up of the rest of the shorts is lightweight and a good choice for summer.
The heavily-channelled TMF Pro 3D anti-bacterial seamless chamois is excellent and comfortable on long rides, plus the pad’s covered with a Eschler AG bioactive fabric which Shutt say is moisture-wicking and quick-drying – and I’m inclined to agree. But that’s enough about that.
The shorts are a good length, coming down to just below the middle of the thigh and the silicone gripper which runs along the inside of each leg does the simple job it’s supposed to.
A white panel on the outside of either leg has the words Shutt Velo Rapide written on it, with the company’s trademark multi-coloured band at the bottom. The rear of the shorts are black, again with Shutt Velo Rapide written on the top. All in all, these are an excellent pair of shorts and well worth the outlay although, if there’s one criticism, the material at the back of the shorts can be a bit, erm, translucent when its stretched as a result of the natural riding position. Nothing to be concerned about, although it did attract one smart comment on a group ride.
Finally, the CoolMax Socks (£9.99). Socks are just socks, right? Well, yes, but some are still better than others and these are a good pair. They’re snug, well supported, do a good job at keeping your feet cool, are the ‘right’ length and, with the white of our test pair contrasted with the Shutt logo and colour band, look great – about as classy as socks, which are just socks after all, can be.