Vermarc is a Belgian clothing manufacturer, supplier to the mighty Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad. A kit themed around the Flandrian Classics was, then, an obvious choice for the brand.
The names of six of the region’s biggest races are printed in black on a narrow, yellow band across the chest and back of the jersey and the side panel of the shorts. The names of further Belgian sponsors on the jersey, including Nieuwsblad, add further authenticity.
As mentioned in our ‘first look’ piece, the jersey is made from Vermarc’s TVX (Total Vapour Exchange) fabric: a polyester made from two different weaves, with a loosely spun inner yarn to move moisture from the skin, and a more tightly spun outer yarn to keep it on the outside of the garment.
Did it work? Hard to say. Seasonal conditions meant we didn’t wear the jersey directly against the skin. During our various rides, we paired the jersey with a Supplex base layer from Velobici and merino base layer from Endura. We’ll revisit the jersey in the summer and let you know how it fares. It retails at £54.99.
What we can say for the jersey’s outdoor, spring use is that it was light, comfortable, equipped with an excellent full length zip (no entanglement with the jersey or base layer) and three useful rear pockets. The collar was high enough to keep the wind off the throat but was unrestrictive. An elasticated hem prevented the jersey from riding up; the sleeves, too, were elasticated, which prevented the material from flapping, but didn’t constrict the arms.
The size was true to the label, and provided a close fit that avoided an excess of material flapping in the wind. We wore it on several rides in a temperature range of between nine and 14 degrees and with the aforementioned base layers, and arm warmers (see below) were comfortable throughout.
Shorts are a garment that can make or break a ride and we’re happy to report that these Vermarc Flanders Classics shorts did nothing to make us uncomfortable. They were perfectly functional, if uninspiring. We’ve worn more comfortable shorts, but they’ve cost more (these sell for £74.99). The pad was comfortable, well shaped, and, as promised in the marketing blurb, had no hard outer edges. We’d like to have seen a bit more stretch in the bib straps, perforated Polyester units that offered little ‘give’. The leg, a simple, three panel construction, with a rubber gripper band at the hem, fitted well.
The arm and knee warmers followed the same design: a piece of fleece-lined polyester rolled to a single seam and fitted with an elasticated gripper at the upper end. They were warm, comfortable, if a little constricting in the case of the knee warmer’s elasticated gripper, and after several rides have shown no early signs of wear. The arm warmers retail at £20.74; the knee warmers at £29.08.
The same can’t be said of the gloves, sadly, made from a lightweight polyester, which developed a split on the lower seam of the right hand, middle finger after three outings. We may have been unlucky (we certainly can’t fault the quality of other garments in Vermarc’s collection) but the material of the glove is thin. That said, the weight was well-suited to the spring temperature and offered great feel for the bars and levers. The silicone gripper, applied in a pattern of ‘dots’ to the palm and fingers, did its job, and we liked the deep cuff, which fitted nicely around the arm warmer and covered the wrist. They retail at £18.99.
Shoe covers are worn by the wise long into spring, and this nylon pair from Vermarc, priced at £18.50, were adequate to the task. The material above the ankle is shaped in a long-ish tube with a narrow aperture that made them fiddly to take on and off but kept them in place and provided good protection on the ride. We used them on wet roads in light rain, paired with a light cotton summer sock, and remained warm and dry throughout.
Is it a classic kit as well as being a Classics kit? It performed adequately in wet and overcast spring conditions, keeping us warm and dry. We liked the fit, which was close across all garments, and the smart black, white and yellow colourway of the shorts and jersey. The split glove rather let the side down and the shoe cover design, with it’s long, thin ankle ‘sleeve’, made it difficult to put on and take off, but that aside, we were well satisfied.