Earlier this year, we tested the Flanders Classics kit from Belgian brand, Vermarc, as part of our focus on the great one day races of spring.
With our summer clothing special in full swing, we visited another area of Vermarc’s 2012 collection, the Strada, one that extends to a fleece-lined, long-sleeved jersey, three-quarters, tights, and a technical jacket, but we’re focusing here on the short-sleeved jersey and bib short.
Vermarc supply their home nation’s two leading professional teams, Lotto-Belisol and Omega Pharma-QuickStep, who enjoyed a successful Tour and Classics season respectively.
Strada short-sleeved jersey
The Strada short-sleeved jersey is made entirely from Polyester, pierced with minute perforations, which become clearly visible when you stretch the fabric. A short sleeved jersey is de rigeur for high summer, and we’ve been wearing the Strada jersey on early starts on rides to work where temperatures have been in the low teens, and all-day on weekend rides with temperatures just into the twenties.
We began a recent weekend ride (temperatures in the mid teens) with a polyester base layer beneath the Strada, which, after a few miles, we removed to avoid overheating. We’ve worn the same, very lightweight base layer with short-sleeved jerseys from other manufacturers without issue.
We conducted all further tests, morning commutes and all-day expeditions included, sans base layer, and found the perforations provided adequate ventilation. Worn against the skin in temperatures from around 13 to about 22 degrees, the Strada dealt with moisture well. The jersey is light and the fabric was comfortable against the skin, despite the raised seams in the side panel and sleeves.
The fit was adequate, but perhaps no more than that. The sleeves and hem are elasticated, which worked well at the hem, but less so at the sleeves, which rode up continually. There are plenty of alternatives (laser cut, silicone, simply folding over the fabric – the option chosen for the soft, low and comfortable collar) and any would perhaps have been preferable to the elasticated offering here, which was slightly constricting and ineffective in holding the sleeve in place.
Given a choice, we’d opt for a full length zip every time (the jersey is easier to put on an remove, the zipper tends to be more robust and offers full ventilation). The zip on the Strada is three-quarter length, depriving the wearer of any of the aforementioned benefits. That said, it performed well enough, and its concealment was a significant addition to the Strada’s greatest strength: its appearance.
We think the Strada jersey is among the most stylish of any we have on test. The cool blue and ice white detailing on a black jersey is extremely elegant. The branding across the chest and back is bold but not garish, and the simple detail, a thick blue stripe trimmed with a white pin stripe, looks very nice indeed (and proved a good match for our Carrera R&B sunglasses!). It also comes in white with blue and black, red and black, or yellow and black detailing.
The Vermarc Strada short-sleeved jersey costs £58.91 and comes in 12 sizes from SML to 9XL.
Vermarc Strada bib shorts
The shorts followed a standard Lycra mix, except in the straps, which were made from a Polyseter mesh in a yoke design, with a radio pocket. Rubberised grippers held the short’s legs firm against the skin.
We found the bib shorts comfortable enough. The three-panel cut gripped firmly against the leg, but wasn’t restrictive. The insert, with two large pads at the rear and a range of smaller pads front and side, was also comfortable. We were less keen on the polyester mesh straps, which offered little ‘give’ and left marks on the skin. The fit was good, with no excess material to catch on the nose of the saddle.
The Strada shorts come in black with a white stripe and branding, and in sizes from SML to 9XL. They cost £76.34.