Cards on the table: my suspicion was that reversible cycling kit was a gimmick. That I’d be writing a review highlighting compromises. In price, style, and detail.
But the people at Invani – a new, box-fresh, UK brand – got in touch with such enthusiasm for their new range of kit; they were definitely proud of it and they had me intrigued. After a steady period of manufacture, testing, and refinement, they recently hit the marketplace: sold directly, at www.invani.cc.
And so, as summer melted into autumn, I began to clock up lots of late-season mileage in their long-sleeved jersey; sometimes blue, sometimes black.
As long-sleeved jerseys go it’s lightweight. Great with a light base layer in mid/low teens Celsius, and good in slightly lower temperatures with a warmer layer beneath. It’s not windproof, or showerproof (and doesn’t claim to be).
What it definitely is, is super-comfortable.
The fit is slightly larger than the skin-tight, race fit favoured by many, but the material is really rather lovely. Sort of clingy. So it hugs the body and refuses to flap about in the wind. If you are looking to smash your 10k TT time then other jerseys will be quicker, but for everyday riding this is spot on.
And the cuffs are great; razor sharp and minimal, presumably sliced with some high-tech Bond villain laser in an underground volcano lair.
I don’t see how else it could be done!
Bearing in mind the mid-range price tag (£85) the jersey does have a feel of luxury and the important, functional bits, are great. You might think a zip is a zip, but try fumbling with a cheapo version mid-ride and then compare it to the chunky, clunky one on this jersey. It’s effortless, and smooth, and user friendly. It also has a substantial zip-garage (ridiculous phrase, useful feature).
Beyond that: pockets that work; nice comfy collar; snug hem around the waist.
Which brings me to the reversible bit; the bit that to Invani’s knowledge makes them unique (hence the patent pending notice on the website).
When worn, there is not one single feature that flags up the fact that it’s reversible. Not the zip, collar, stitching. There are rear pockets, on both sides, back to back, which are completely imperceptible to either wearer or watcher. You just don’t feel them or see them.
It’s really very well done.
In the men’s collection it comes in black which reverses to blue, and red reversing to burgundy (which, in the women’s range, is swapped out for a blue/teal option).
I presume the uber-minimal stylings are a consequence of reversible-ising the jersey – and yes, I’m almost certain that’s a word – in that to double up on more complicated patterns and construction would be challenging.
But uber-minimal is good, if the fit is right and the quality is high, and I’m a fan. It’s a pleasure to ride in. At £85 I think Invani’s long-sleeved jersey is superb value for money, and against the mid-price competition it more than punches its weight.
In fact it does it twice.
In two different colours.