When creating a new brand producing high quality premium cycling kit, I imagine it helps to have a well-respected name on board to give you that extra nudge into the market place.
It’s fair to say that Slovakian company Isadore Apparel have that particular box ticked in the shape of Martin Velits: currently a pro cyclist at the very highest level with Belgian team Etixx-Quick Step, and founder/designer of the brand.
When you consider how many hours he must have spent in the saddle over the years, perhaps it’s no surprise that when I tested a couple of jerseys from the Isadore range recently my overwhelming first impression.was just how incredibly comfortable they were; I guess clocking up thousands of kilometres on the bike every year would make you yearn for a bit of extra comfort from time to time!
(Images by ragtimecyclist)
The quality of this kit was obvious right out of the box – which you’d be entitled to expect from kit that is priced for the premium market – but the merino/polyester mix of both the long and short sleeve versions I tried really is beautifully smooth to the touch; so much so that I’m already having to keep myself in check, rather than have passers-by spot me stroking the material mid-ride and get the wrong idea!
(Can I use the word sensuous in a kit review!?)
On the bike the polyester element of both jerseys gives them plenty of spring, and I found they hugged the body nicely in the riding position – not aero, but snug and with nothing at all in the way of extra material flapping around. Size-wise I’m a fairly standard large, give or take, and I found the sizing to be spot on.
Living here in the north of England we are not short of cool spring and autumn days, and chilly summer mornings and evenings, and I can see the Long Sleeve Jersey becoming a go-to piece of practical kit for me. It has a lovely cosy feel to it, suggesting it could cope easily with temperatures dipping down to single figures Celcius and paired with a good base layer – it really is a pleasure to wear.
Helpfully, it looks great too (particularly the burnt orange version I tried), and should fit the bill whether out for a ride at pace, or a Sunday morning jolly to the café.
The short-sleeved Signature Jersey is mid-weight, and when I tried it in typical UK summer temperatures which just about scraped twenty degrees centigrade, I found it performed well.
Despite the fairly tame summer temperature it did a noticeable job of wicking the sweat away from the body, and with the natural breathability of the merino I was never in danger of overheating. Having left it unwashed for a few hours post-ride there was no trace whatsoever of any odour, suggesting that the merino does what merino does…and does it well.
(Images by ragtimecyclist)
Along with the obvious quality and the comfort, the attention to detail on both the jerseys was impressive: good quality and functional pockets (including an extra one with a zip, and designed to accommodate the wiring of your gadget of choice), quality zips, stitching and collars, and features like reinforced areas where you grip the material to use the zip, and subtle elbow patches on the long sleeve version.
It’s fair to say that across the Isadore range some of the colour schemes are slightly unusual (tarmac grey, atlantic blue, and anthracite, for example) which, depending on your taste, is either a good or bad thing.
Personally I like that fact that they offer an alternative to the beaten track, colour wise; even for those who don’t fancy tarmac grey though, the Isadore colour range looks like it offers something for everyone.
In conclusion…I’m a fan.
The price point is not for everyone – with both jerseys weighing in at upward of 100 Euros – but Isadore are not pretending to be in the business of producing anything other than quality premium kit. If you are happy to splash out this kind of money on your cycling apparel, then Isadore is definitely worth considering as a genuine alternative to other premium stuff on the market.
Oh…and did I mention it’s comfortable!?