I love wool. That is a great way to start an article about wool products, right? I love wool, the thought of wool reminds me of skiing trips, bundled up at the bus stop and all things winter. It does not remind me of 90º weather on the bike.
This review took longer than I would like. Normally after a couple rides, a few washings and time on the saddle you’ll know if clothing is going to last or work for you. Personally, I didn’t if the pieces from Icebreaker would work for me but overtime these bike clothing pieces won me over.
Icebreaker SS Halo Jersey $130
Last year I was able to try one of Icebreakers first bike jerseys for women. I loved the material, but the jersey fit my body (and several friends bodies) like crap. Fast forward almost a year exactly, this past March, when I was approached with trying another round of clothing from Icebreaker. Right away the jersey fit amazing, it was tailored for a woman. After many washings (per directions) the fit didn’t stretch out, or did the color fade. The pockets were proportional to the jersey, and there is even a smaller pocket inside of one for your pump to fit in and not flop out!
Other than the collar on your neck, the jersey feels naked on you. The breeze flows through easily, yet on early morning rides this jersey was perfect with arm warmers.
The GT200 fabric is amazing. Warm, soft, cooling, wicking and best of all – it doesn’t stink! I learned the importance of wool during a 5 day bike tour in western North Carolina. It rained for most of the day and you were left trying to dry out your clothing. I brought enough clothes for the week, but sweaty clothes aren’t good in your bag – even if you wrap them in multiple plastic bags. All the clothing I had brought that was wool from Smartwool, Icebreaker and Defeet, did NOT stink and was easier to care for it seemed.
Icebreaker Halo Bike Shorts $160
These wool cycling shorts are where my hang up for this review was. When you wear these shorts on the bike they could be the most comfortable fitting shorts I’ve ever tried. They remind me of boy boxers, with the tight cotton feel around your hamstrings and upper quads. What surprised me was that attaching the chamois to the shorts was spandex. Right in the crotch area. Why is this weird? Wool wicks and doesn’t stink – wouldn’t that make sense to have in that area? I know, not right on it but around it?
The chamois was comfortable on long rides. It has much more mass than I am used to, so when standing around off the bike it defiantly felt like a diaper. This feeling disappeared once I was back on the bike, and I never had any chaffing issues so I can’t complain.
These shorts I have an absolutely love/hate relationship with. I love them, they fit amazing and I mean AMAZING. I want to order boy boxer briefs from Icebreaker to wear to bed because of it. I feel that the benefits of wool, especially at this level, would benefit a rider closer to the crotch. Then you have the issue that thin wool is rather see-through and I’m sure you can’t attach a chamois to wool for long term use without it ripping the material. I’m sure someone in product design with more knowledge than I has thought of all these things but they still perplexed me on the long rides. Enough not to write a review until the love outweighed the bad and I could put my name behind it.
At the end, when I was finally ready to weigh the pro’s and con’s I realized this clothing has inspired me. Sometimes you get something (a bike, clothes, computer, etc.) that make you want to try something new. I think these pieces of clothing from Icebreaker would be the ultimate unsupported bike tour clothing. Pair it with a nice set of cycling knickers for colder weather or night times by the fire, and a pair of wool socks – you would have a perfect, quick drying, and non-stinking set of cycling clothing!