Boutique Aussie kit makers Find Your Freedom are one of those brands for whom, when you stumble across their website online, their kit leaps off the screen and demands you delve in further.
Because it’s bright, and glossy, and sunny, and just so damn cheerful.
Is it garish…flamboyant…peacock-esque?
Well, a bit of each, probably. But in a good way. In a ‘todays-a-beautiful-sunny-day-and-I’m-damn-well-gonna-ride-my-bike-and-have-a-beer’ kind of way.
Take the ‘Tequila Sunrise’ I tested, for example, from the FYF ‘Cocktail Collection.’
Here in the north of England I waited around for a warm, sunny, autumnal day…then I waited some more…then I bemoaned my choice of home town…then I considered booking a cheap flight to Majorca…but then it came along!
So I took my chance, donned my FYF kit, and hit the road.
Round these parts you see a lot of Castelli, a fair bit of Rapha, and a rag-tag of mix-and-match in between. I was definitely the brightest, most colourful cyclist in Lancashire that day; the red and orange of this jersey are vibrant, and leap from the material.
In the same way that the red and orange of an actual Tequila Sunrise leap from the glass in your hand, down your neck, and leave a smile on your face on the way past.
In the context of a sea of muted and minimal cyclists I stood out.
But not too much.
And one of the reasons, I think, is the cut, and the fit, and the sense of a well made piece of kit. This is not a loud jersey for the sake of it, it’s a decent jersey that happens to be bright and colourful.
The size large is a perfect fit, give or take the couple of extra pounds I tend to carry around Autumn/Winter (I’m 1m 82cm, and hover just under 80kg’s).
I found it to be neither super-racy or commuter-baggy. It’s comfortable, it curves and hugs in the right places, and the full length zip and the collar sit just right.
It’s got the standard pockets, with one zipper for valuables, and a silky smoothness that feels rather nice against the skin.
The thing that the big brands have got going for them is (usually) a consistency and some assurance of the quality of what you’re buying – whether good, or bad.
With a small, new brand, it can feel like you’re taking a bit of a punt with a chunk of your money. After half a dozen rides I’m yet to find a reason to suggest you don’t get your money’s worth from FYF.
If you want a jersey to separate yourself from the herd, or even to wear down at your local cocktail bar, stick one of these on your Christmas list. Then when it arrives fold it neatly, and pop it in a drawer until the sunshine of spring turns up.
And if it doesn’t turn up, book yourself a plane ticket to Spain and give it a proper run-out.