Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Product Review - Cell Bikes 2012 'Rapido' cycling jersey

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the latest jersey offerings by Cell Bikes a few weeks ago - the Cell "Rapido" jersey.  Its bold black, yellow and white colour scheme is certainly eye-catching, so after a few rides I thought I'd give a quick review on its performance.

So what makes a cycling jersey a good cycling jersey?  In my opinion, you need a few things:
  • light, breathable fabric
  • good length zip for hot days
  • comfortable fit
  • decent rear pockets
  • good looks!!
Let's start from the top.  The Rapido jersey fabric felt terrific.  I wore the jersey on a 2-hour solo river loop on a muggy Brisbane morning, plus a couple of 1hr+ cycle-commutes. The jersey didn't stick to my skin, but breathed very well. Sweat was wicked away, keeping me comfortable throughout the whole ride. Best way to describe it is that I didn't notice the jersey during the rides - so a big tick for that criterion.

The zip is a "half-length" zip - which for me is a good compromise.  I'm not a fan of full-length zips, as I feel like they make the jersey fit not-quite-right.  And the super-short zips don't suit the warm Queensland climate.  This half-length zip is a great compromise between the two lengths.

The half-length zip.
For sizing, I prefer my jerseys to be figure-hugging - but on the tiny bit loose side (definitely not skin-tight!). Nothing baggy or flapping in the wind either.  I have the "Large" size jersey, which fit just right for me at 175cm tall and about 87kg heavy.

Love handles?? What love handles...??
Good-size rear pockets are crucial for any cyclist doing longer rides.  I typically stuff in them a small wallet, my mobile phone, some ID, maybe some muesli bars or a banana, and an extra tube. There was plenty of room in the Rapido jersey pockets for all my gear, and getting them out while riding was a breeze.
Plenty of room in the three rear pockets.
The final criterion is good looks. This of course is a highly subjective and personal one.  Personally, I think the black, yellow and white colour scheme looks striking and terrific.  A bonus is the black torso section helps hide my paunch a little too!!  A definite thumbs up for me.

So why should you buy this jersey?

Obviously, I like this jersey.  But to be honest, there are lots of great jerseys out there that also 'tick the boxes' of the above criteria.  What makes the Cell Rapido jersey better than them?

The answer is this - $24.95.

I recently read one of the major Australian cycling magazines, which had a 'fashion spread' covering lots of the major clothing manufacturers.  I couldn't believe that the cheapest jersey featured was $99!!  A quick look in a couple of local bike shops near me showed their cheapest jerseys were $59 - and some of them were inferior to Cell's Rapido.

Some of the really high-end jerseys - like Assos for example  - are great. Very 'technical' materials that fit extraordinarily well. Are they better than Cell's offering? Well, yes they are. But you are paying $200+ per jersey for the privilege.  If you have the disposable income to afford this, then go for it.  It isn't value for money though - you are not getting a jersey that is 8-times better than the Rapido. In fact, you aren't getting a jersey that's twice as good...

And at the end of the day, that really is the bottom line for the Cell Rapido. You get a very good jersey, at a ridiculously cheap price. The only reason you wouldn't buy this is if you don't like the looks. Otherwise, its the best value jersey buy you'll get anywhere.

Happy cycling!!

What an awesome jersey!!

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