Here in the UK we maintain a number of lazy stereotypes when it comes to Sweden. We imagine a nation of tall blonde people. Driving Volvos. And we assume they eat herring three times a day.
These things are almost certainly only partly true.
And so, in the spirit of knowledge expanding cross-cultural exchange I have spent the last few weeks testing out the cycling kit of our Nordic neighbours, in the form of the rather smart Havtorn Jersey from Sigr.
Sigr are a bike brand that started in Umea, a city around 400 miles north of Stockholm. They talk of community, and inclusivity: “Let’s agree that biking is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if it is a long or short distance, we always want you to look awesome.”
And with that ethos in mind, the Sigr price point is the ideal place to start.
The Havtorn Jersey retails at £72. The 2018 bib-shorts at £108. The Pilgrimsleden rain/wind jacket at £81(which, unless Google translate is having me on, translates as “Pilgrim’s Trail”…which I rather like).
My point is that this stuff is by no means cheap, but it is affordable. This is not remortgage-your-house and sell-yer-grandma territory. It is kit for cyclists who aren’t also hedge-fund managers.
So, is it any good?
Based on my experience of the Havtorn Jersey – yes, it is.
First off, that is a very cool shade of orange. Not quite bright orange, not quite burnt orange, but somewhere in-between.
The light orange logo and collar detail sets it off in an understated way. And, those bits are reflective; a nice touch to capture car headlight beams in fading light.
The other tech-y feature to mention is the UV protection; known as Deflect UV 30. On such a flimsy and lightweight jersey, that protection for bare skin beneath the material is a sensible detail.
And when I say ‘flimsy’ I mean that as a positive.
It is flyaway light – a real hot ‘n’ sunny summer jersey. It has that lovely lightweight clinginess that, when you put it on in winter, as I did, has you struggling to believe that it’s ever possible to go for a bike ride in so little clothing.
But it is.
I’ve got photos from August to prove it.
And I’m looking forward to giving it a run out next spring (hopefully) and summer (for sure). For the past few weeks I’ve been testing the Havtorn on the indoor trainer, for fit and feel.*
I like the grippers on the arms – perhaps not quite as slick and sharp as you find on the best premium jerseys, but stylish all the same. In the riding position the jersey doesn’t pull or stretch in any odd places. Any rucking at the front is minimal.
The rear pockets are reachable, and the valuables pocket includes an earphone hole if that’s your thing.
All in all, a cooly stylish and functional piece of summer cycling kit. Nothing like a Volvo, or even a Herring.
Which certainly shatters those stereotypes.
*Come the warm weather I will post updates following what I hope will be many sun-baked outdoor miles wearing the Havtorn Jersey. Stay tuned to www.ragtimecyclist.com and @ragtimecyclist (on Twitter) for that.