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HOY Vulpine Valldemossa Race jersey – review

After launching his own bike range a few years ago, Sir Chris Hoy has now branched out into clothing, working with British style gurus Vulpine to produce a range aimed at every day riders rather than out-and-out racers.

Valledemossa is a village on Majorca, and the Spanish theme runs through to the matching El Toro bib shorts. It’s fitting, then, that the range was launched in Majorca a few months ago.

The first thing to know, if you’re new to Vulpine, is the sizing is a little more generous than what we normally see, and that continues with the HOY Vulpine range. Unlike Italian race kit from the likes of Castelli, Sportful, De Marchi and co which comes up small, Vulpine’s apparel is aimed at ‘normal’ riders and by that they mean not stick thin roadies. But it can make sizing a bit difficult, and even though with a 38” chest (and a medium in most cycle brands) I’m slap bang in the middle of the ‘small’ on their size chart, it’s a shame they don’t offer this in an XS as it’d offer a closer fit, though at the other end of the scale it does go up to XXL.

Oddly it fitted well all the way up to the shoulders where there was a bit more room than I’d ideally like. Similarly the sleeves fitted quite well on my upper arms, but since they don’t taper down to the openings there was a bit of room. If you’ve got guns like Sir Chris then you might fill the arms, but I don’t.

I’m not carrying a great deal of extra weight, and the slim fit of typical cycle clothing works well for me, so if you’re in the same boat then you might find the Valldemossa cut difficult, but if you struggle normally with race cut clothing then you may be in luck here.

Construction-wise it’s a beautifully tailored jersey, made out of what Vulpine call 30 per cent ‘S.Cafe’ yarn which is produced from coffee grounds and supposedly adds comfort and odour control. It certainly feels great against the skin and the flatlock stitching used means there’s no rubbing either. The material has a surprising amount of stretch to it, as well, given that the outer looks classic enough that it wouldn’t be surprising if it were made out of 100 per cent wool.

One small touch that’s particularly nice is the slanted cut on the two outer rear pockets. Reaching into pockets can be a bit of a contortion act if they’re not in the right place, but the cut of these makes it easier to slide your hand in. Capacity is pretty good too, and the elastic openings at the top cut a good compromise between being tight enough to keep everything in, but easy to access. The silicone grippers on the rear of the dropped back do a good job of holding the jersey in place when you’re moving about.

Another aspect that shows attention to detail is the zip pull. It’s colour co-ordinated to match and rubberised, but what I liked the most is that it’s reasonably large and easy to grab which, in turn, makes it easier to operate with one hand. Not a deal breaker, by any means, but means you adjust the jersey on the fly easily, which comes in very handy on hot days.

Speaking of hot days, Vulpine suggest the Valldemossa as a choice anywhere between 12-30 degrees and I think the upper end of that might be a little ambitious. It’s far from lacking in breathability, but 30 degrees is stuffy weather to ride in and the weight of the fabric compared to lightweight climbers’ jerseys, for example, would probably mean that at the upper end you’d want to unzip the jersey rather than relying on breathability alone.

Looks-wise, our test jersey is actually the more subdued of the three colour schemes available, with navy/grey and royal blue/red being the other two, but all three are very smart in an understated way. It’s exactly the sort of colour scheme that works brilliantly if you want to ride in proper bike gear but avoid all the clichés about cyclists and distastefully bright kit. It also fits in really well with the colour scheme from the Hoy bikes range.

Conclusion

The main thing to consider with the Valldemossa jersey is sizing. As mentioned, I’m right in the middle of the ‘small’ size on their chart, but the jersey came up too big on me. Outside of that though, there’s very little to not like about it, but consider whether the cut will work for you. There aren’t any fancy, cutting edge innovations, but it’s a classic jersey and does what it’s supposed to well. Smart looking, comfortable and well thought out, the Valldemossa would be a good choice for anyone looking for a jersey with a generous fit and keen to shirk the fluoro trend.

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