Cover photo by Michael Owen
Spin Cycle Clothing have been quietly making a name for themselves in the Australian market, with sharp designs and well-fitting clothing for the performance minded road and off-road cyclist. The past few years have seen a number of small clothing manufacturers launch to fill the gap between big batch custom club kit and off the shelf clothing. Spin Cycle Clothing have matured into a brand that offers a precision product with great materials, perfect for racing and training.
Like many of the new cycling clothing brands, Spin Cycle Clothing tie in closely with fashion. Our sport is changing, both on the road and on the dirt, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, and feel good, when out on an epic ride or at your target race.
I was sent some of the Series 3 clothing as a pre-release in early October. Just picking up the express post bag I could tell it would be made from some fine material. Pulling the bibs and jersey out, I took my first look at the gear. It’s a very much in-vogue paisley inspired feather motif, on a navy backing. I may well have described that poorly. But it’s a nice pattern that’s neither blocks nor lines, nor too busy and loud.
The jersey I was sent is the half-sleeve length – so it runs to just above the elbow. Full length sleevs are also available, but I immediately loved the half sleeve, having struggled to get the right length jersey sleeve for a few years now, over compensation felt fantastic.
The material over the back is very thin, reminiscent of the Atmos material used by Scott in their RC clothing from about 2008, but it’s also four-way stretch. The arms and front are more akin to lycra, with a waffled mesh under the arms. It’s a very fitted piece of clothing, which is exactly what many riders are after.
The jersey has a full-zip, and it’s not so fine that you can’t get it done back up when riding, but some slightly beefier zips like that found on your favourite gilet is a bit easier. But anyone who has had a broken collarbone will appreciate a full-zip jersey.
With a rubber backed elasticated hem, the jersey stays in place. The three pockets are cut with an exceptional location for my body shape, not so deep you lose things, and not so shallow that longer items might fall out.
Choosing the right bibs are a make it or break it thing for many endurance riders. And as so for brands, making a good set of bibs is essential. The Spin Cycle Clothing bibs eschew the mesh of the jersey in favour of a thicker lycra – something that will stand up to some stretching and washing and a little more wear. They are no thicker than other bibs, but just thicker than the weight of the jersey.
The cut on the leg is long, without covering your knee cap. I’d say it’s spot on. The lower 6cm of the cuff is a rubber infused elasticised gripper, which managed to not create any muffin effect on my legs, nor did it shift, even on long rides. There’s flat-stitching throughout, which is very comfortable, but may well wear on the inner leg depending on the size of said inner leg. There was no evidence of wear in the test period, but from past experience with this style of stitching, it can happen for some people over a long wear period.
The chamois itself was comfortable for me, with greater density on the sit bones, but thinner elsewhere so it didn’t feel like you needed to drop your seat to get your normal seat height back. A basic zig-zag stitch holds the chamois to the shorts, which is falrly standard, but it means the edge of the chamois could rub some sensitive people the wrong way.
While the fit of the lowers of the bibs was good, and the chamois placement spot-on, the uppers of the bib completely won me over. Too often good bib shorts don’t finish the fit by staying up well enough, with bibs that shift on your shoulders, or need readjustment. The straps didn’t roll up, which meant they stayed in place. It’s more four-way stretch material that is joined across the back with some mesh, and it stays joined high enough on the shoulders to stay put. These are by far the most comfortable bib shorts I have used for quite a few years. I just missed having a ‘radio pocket’ – which is so handy for a phone, or car key, or room swipe card. Or a race radio if you’re in a UCI road race perhaps.
On the bike
All the details are well and good, but performance on the bike is what matters. I really found the the fit exceptional, and I felt fantastic wearing it. It was nice and cool on hot days, but comfortable on cool Spring mornings. I wore a small jersey and bibs, and while I do feel that I probably shouldn’t be a small in anything, I was happy with the fit. I mean what do the really tiny people wear if I’m in small? Perhaps bike clothing is starting to shift the sizes like regular clothing?
While the four-way stretch fabric on the jersey allows for a great fit, it also allows for a bit more pocket stretch. So if you were to overload your pockets, they will start to creep down your back. That would take some heavy items, but if you don’t run much on your bike, and rely on pockets instead for spares and fuel, that could be a concern.
The bibs stayed in place on long rides, allowed for easy nature breaks, and didn’t ride up, or sag down. Going on a long ride on road or off, and not thinking about readjusting your clothing for comfort should be normal – but unfortunately it isn’t.
My only other critique is that the thin material over the back isn’t great for sun protection, but that’s no different to light clothing from the majority of other manufacturers.
Is it for you? Well that’s up to you. Spin Cycle Clothing are doing pre-orders right now for their Season 3 clothing, like the Featherlight Race kit tested here.
Pricing starts from $310.00 for the half-sleeve kit I tested, but if you jump in on a pre-order you’ll be able to get them for $260.00. For full details head to their website.