09 April 2009

bikefix Exclusive Review: Canari Throwback 1581 jersey

For some reason, I've never been much of a long-sleeve jersey fan. Its probably because the long-sleeved jersey is a hard thing to get right. That's because, at slow speeds (say, climbing) riders tend to generate a fair amount of heat without a cooling breeze. When speeds pick up (say, when descending), the body isn't generating much heat- but plenty of that cooling breeze. To date, the long-sleeved jerseys that I have liked best have been fairly lightweight- and tightly-knit: enough to keep a fall breeze out but not so warm that I overheat when climbing. Usually, on those 50-60 degree days, I just grab a mid-weight base layer and throw a SS jersey over it.

Like most red-blooded American males (and Janet Reno), however, I'm a sucker for both baby blue and argyle prints. Combine the two? You know that we don't have a chance. It was a given, then, that when I saw Canari's Throwback jersey at a local bike shop it would come home with me. The fact that it had a chest band tailor-made for an iron-on bikefix logo was icing on the cake.

Lucero has been bugging me for quite a while to try Canari's stuff. Apparently family-owned, the California company still makes a good deal of its clothing (including the Throwback) here in the USA. Lucero is a big fan of their cuts and the quality of their materials- and the fact that they offer great value for the money. As both a retailer and rider, he's excited to start carrying the line- and he rarely gets excited about this sort of thing, so I wasn't just excited about being seen in the Throwback- I was excited about riding in it.

The Throwback jersey is built from the Canari's Evolve Pro fabric. Labeled "fall weight," Evolve Pro is a not particularly thick but very dense synthetic and is used throughout. The fabric has a comfortably brushed interior and very jersey-like shiny exterior. There is a nice, long 14in hidden zipper down the front, but thankfully none on any of the three rear pockets (which I tend to find irritating or even painful under a pack). The cut of the Throwback could be described as more of a 'road' or 'pro' fit- for my lean frame, it is as near to perfect as any I've worn. That's a good thing, as the Evolve Pro fabric isn't particularly stretchy. Beyond an elastic hem, there's not much to keep the jersey in place (none of the grippy silicone that others high-end jerseys seem to be going to), but again the cut was good enough that I haven't missed it. The neck is nice and snug, and does a good job of keeping drafts out when zipped.

My only complaint with the Throwback jersey is a minor one. Because of the lack of stretch in the Evolve Pro fabric, I can't push the cuffs very far up my (fairly slender) forearms before it stops. Not a huge deal, but it does limit the jersey's warmer-weather comfort range somewhat. More Popeye-like riders won't be able to get it very far at all.

All in all, the Throwback has me reconsidering my position on long-sleeved jerseys. On the road bike or cooler days in the mountains, it can be paired with a short sleeve or sleeveless base layer for a bit more comfort and the cut is close enough that it readily fits under a lightweight windbreaker. At $90, its not cheap, but certainly competitive with jerseys of similary quality (regardless of where their country of origin). Throw in the company's lifetime warranty and first-world production, and the Throwback is starting to feel like a very sensible purchase.




Canari Erik said...

Marc - Thanks for the fine feedback. Be sure to check out our lightweight spring version of the same jersey. You can rock baby blue argyle all year long!

bikefix said...


Thanks! Bikeworks had some SS jerseys come in this week- mine's already in the closet... They had some shorts come in that looked good too... Will have to see what the consensus is.