Embers Merino are a self-styled ‘UK specialist in outdoor merino clothing’ based in Derbyshire, and a quick scan of their website certainly suggests they know their stuff when it comes to that most cyclist friendly wool. I couldn’t wait to give their ‘Glow’ mid-weight jersey a try.
I grew up in Derbyshire, as it happens, and I can vouch for the fact that it’s prime cycling country and a real hidden gem when it comes to wild country roads and impossibly picturesque villages. I can’t help feeling I should have headed back to my home county and tested the ‘Glow’ on it’s own turf, but it wasn’t to be (sometimes life gets in the way).
My usual Lancashire lanes would have to do.
Anyone unfamiliar with modern cycling kit made from wool might be struggling with the thought of a scratchy, itchy jersey, sagging around the edges, and lacking the robustness to put up with a proper bike ride. Even very good merino kit often has a relaxed and stylish feel that’s perhaps more suited to café than col (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
But the ‘Glow’ jersey is nothing like any of that: in fact it’s definitely the raciest, most performance orientated merino jersey I’ve ever worn. It feels like a proper, technical piece of kit, with the added bonus of silky smooth comfort and everything else that you get with good quality merino wool: temperature regulation, sweat wicking, and odour control, among other things.
Out of the wrapper the quality jumps out at you; the material is clearly top notch (it’s a blend of merino and polyester) and the detailing around cuffs, collar and pockets, tells you much. To me it felt fairly light and summery, though it’s part of their mid-weight range and described as ‘designed for UK riding conditions’ and ideal for ‘year-round riding’.
I found myself testing it for the first time on a bright summer evening where the temperature hovered resolutely around the 14 degree mark – standard UK summertime conditions – and even with a decent base layer underneath I wondered if I might feel chilly, but the ‘Glow’ proved impressively snug.
Having since worn it on slightly warmer rides (around twenty degrees Celsius), and with no other layers underneath, it also felt just about right. Bearing in mind that here in the north of England those scorching summer temperatures in the mid to late twenties are a rarity, this mid-weight top seems like a good option.
On the bike the ‘Glow’ wears lightly and comfortably and the fact that at times I found myself paying little attention to is an indication of its well-designed fit. Along with it’s quality, this is what you pay your money for. There was no sign of it stretching tight or hanging loose in the wrong areas – it just fitted well. I was particularly taken with the sleeve cuffs, which gently gripped my upper arms, and I also love the simple (and slightly retro striped) asymmetric look of them.
Talking of looks, my glacier/jet/lime version is crisp and fresh, and with the kind of minimal logo-ing I like; a bit of ‘Embers’ wording here and there, and the rather striking ‘St Blaise’ artwork. The pure white means it’s one for a dry day and clean roads, but it’s a lovely looking top, and as an option in your wardrobe when you want to look quick it’s great.
This is not a cheap jersey, but for your money you get a quality of material and detailing which is hard to fault, and a proper well designed fit, and in that context the price is more than competitive against it’s rivals. It mixes function, performance and comfort beautifully, and is ultimately a very smart piece of kit that should have your riding companions nodding in approval.
Oh, and it’s from Derbyshire, which is great cycling country.
Local pride demands that I remind you of that!