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feature
women’s kits
 

words by Jessica Löwengren and photography by Emil Rosenberg

With cycling being one of the most beautiful sports in the world, it’s not really a surprise to see that apparel, clothes and design is a hot topic. We asked five of our favorite brands to let us put their newest products to the test. 

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About the tester:
“I’m one of those medium sized girls with short legs and wide shoulders which could be good to keep in mind during the review. Been riding bikes for three years trying everything from triathlon to time trials and road races. I recently discovered mountain biking.”

– Height: 167 cm
– Weight: 70 kg
– Personal bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Cervélo P3, Specialized Stumpjumper HT and Specialized Sirrus.

“I got the opportunity and pleasure to test a few of the finest women’s kits available. I’m known for being picky with my cycling gear and I love clothes that just fit perfectly. It makes riding so much more fun!”

MACHINES FOR FREEDOM

Featured items:
Endurance Bib Shorts, size Large
Geofloral Print Jersey, size Large

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About Machines for Freedom:
It’s refreshing to see a brand that only creates apparel for women, and focuses their full attention in doing so. Machines for Freedom is one of those high-end brands that has a unique aesthetic and they blend it perfectly with their superb fabrics.

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“The bib is really interesting since the details on this do not belong on a traditional bib short. The waist and back part is cut higher and this part is sewn in panels creating a very nice siluette.

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And they’re comfortable too. You can choose between two leg lenghts and I were wearing the shorter one. It’s not often I have a pair of BIBs that will show this much skin.

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The main fabric isn’t completely pitch black, which is good to know if you’re looking for a pair of really black pair of bib shorts.”

+ Design
+ Two leg lenghts
+ Leg gripper

- Nothing!

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“The jersey is made from a incredible material. It is not as lightweight as the other brands but it is very soft on the skin. It has a texture which seems to make it snug your body in a really comfortable way. It is extremely well made and performs excellent! I really enjoyed wearing and testing this jersey.”

+ Material
+ Print
+ Execution

- The jerseys are cut a big longer than I’m used to!

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WARSAW

Featured items:
Warsaw Race Navy Women’s Bib Shorts, size Large
Warsaw Inclinaison Navy Women’s Jersey, size Large

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About Warsaw:
This brand has it’s roots in a different corner of the cycling industry than I come from: messenger life and track bike crits. And they’re fusing Parisian design with these roots. You could understand how I was eager to try these on!

“When I put on the jersey I realized they weren’t kidding with the race fit and small sizes. This is one tight jersey. But tight is right and it does feel race inspired. The fabric is on the lightweight side and the fit is perhaps a bit more suited for taller girls.

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I’ve got a love-hate relationship to the very good looking sleeve endings. These are so good looking but a bit too tight on me.

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Another thing that were a bit too small for my taste were the back pockets. Since I live in Sweden I tend to always bring a rain jacked (no kidding) and carrying this in my jersey along with other must-have stuff. In this case I struggled a bit with the pockets, but on the other hand when you have something in the pockets they are really tight and snug your stuff like a loving mother.

+ The design

- The cut could be more women specific

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The bibs were a bit more normal in size with a leg length that fits me (a bit shorter that is, yey!). The padding felt smooth and were easily following your body and the gripper is good without putting pressure on the legs. These are standard BIB shorts with a good performance.

+ Leg length
+ Padding
+ Fits taller ladies since the straps are pretty loose on me

- The print on the leg started to peel off

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RAPHA

Featured items:
Women’s Souplesse Bib Shorts, size Medium
Women’s Souplesse Jersey, size Medium
Medium Support Bra, size Medium

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About Rapha:
They’ve come to a place where introductions are becoming redundant. And they’ve done so by delivering great quality, trend-setting style and a fit that’s more or less impeccable. Rapha always manages to create beautiful items with high “want-factor” and these pieces are no different.

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“I’m absolutely amazed by the details in this jersey. The seamswork is freaking fantastic and the thought of preventing itching by taping some of the seams are both effective and very stylish.

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This is a lightweight jersey and the fabric is soft and very thin. Since I’m somewhat of a horder when out biking I really like the generous back pockets but I would like them even better if they were equally sized. I tend to stuff all the clothing in the middle pocket but on this jersey they have portioned this one to fit a pump or a puncture-spray.”

+ Details details details

- The middle pocket has an odd format. Good for pumps and tall items but awkward for keys or tools.

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“Now to the bibs; I like the cut and that the design is covering the stomach and nicely cut out the waist. It gives you support but still allow movement. The padding is one of the most flexible I have tried and with a really good density even though it doesn’t feel very bulky. The leg length is a tad long for my taste but I know that Rapha have a version with shorter legs.

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The only real issue I had with these bibs were a seam that loosened when I washed them. This is a pair of bib short that you can expect performance from.”

+ The details
+ The padding
+ Different leg lengths

- Price
- Leg grippers a bit too compressive
- Durability?

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The sport top comes with pads that are removable. I didn’t really mind them when riding but I noticed that I had to adjust them when just having packed the top and I prefered to use it without the pads. I usually wear a very light support when riding and this top has a harder feeling than I’m used to. If you have a larger bust you might appreciate this support though. Overall a well constructed sport top with a soft feel.

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+ Very good looking

- The inserts were moving around

VELOCIO

Featured items:
Signature Bib Shorts, size Medium
Women’s Ultralight Jersey, size Medium

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About Velocio:
Velocio pioneered the motto “lets do this differently” and they’ve stayed true to that every since they started out. On all Velocio garments you’ll be surprised by everything being so thought-out and nothing is left to chance. Who could’ve known different could be so good?!

“The first thing I noticed with the bibs were the very different top part. I mostly ride with a base layer but with these I didn’t feel that I needed one. Once you have figured out how to get in and out of the bibs (it’s actually not hard, just different) they snug you up pretty tight but they are still very generous with movement. I never felt restricted.

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The padding is quite dense without being stiff and provides a lot of support, proving to be the best I’ve ever tried. The leg length is a bit shorter than on most brands I have tried which fits me well. The gripper feels soft and do not create that “muffin top” experience.

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It’s hard to describe exactly how good these bibs are, but I’ll tell you this – you won’t have a single thing (but the price) to complain with.”

+ Best bibs I have ever worn
+ Fit!
+ Great padding

- The price maybe

“The jersey is a lightweight one made in a really interesting material. It is thin but still not as thin as the other lightweight jerseys in this test. Instead it provides a texture to get it airy. I believe that they have nailed the fit and I’m glad to have found a jersey that is not too long. It’s a slim fitted jersey and the silhouette is very flattering but doesn’t expose anything that you wouldn’t want to.”

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+ Simple, yet well designed
+ Great fit

- If you’re longing for a zipped back pocket you will be dissaponted since the jersey do not have one.

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LA PASSIONE

Featured items:
Summer Bib Shorts Black Woman, size Large
Summer Jersey PDP Woman, size Medium

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About La Passione:
La Passione is a very interesting brand since they’re focusing on creating apparel with the highest quality standards to a minimum price. By cutting out any middle-men and distributors and going customer-direct with all their sales they manage to cut the price, not the quality.

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“La Passione has the cheapest line-up in the bunch and I were really interested in putting these to the test. How they performed? Great!

The cut of the bibs are a bit different from what I’m used to but I really like the straps. The bibs feel a bit like you are wearing a light compressing and they do not move an inch when you are riding. The padding is also a surprise and gives a lot of support. The length is a bit long on me but as earlier mentioned, my legs are not the tallest. I’d recommend these to anyone looking for the best value short you can get.”

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+ Straps
+ Great padding
+ Price

- A bit hard leg grippers

“When it comes to the jersey it feels a bit more simply crafted than some of the other jerseys in the review but I did not find it uncomfortable in any way. The fabric is pretty lightweight and the fit is slightly shorter. The zipper and I were unfortunately not great friends, it didn’t slide perfectly. But it’s a very stylish jersey that fits really well.

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+ Price
+ Length

- The zipper feels a bit fragile

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Huge thanks to Machines for Freedom, Warsaw, Rapha, Velocio and La Passione.

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