08 June 2009

bikefix Initial Review: Smartwool Ramateur jersey

I have been waiting for this jersey to show up at the distributor QBP for months. It first showed up as an item on their website back around December and was finally available in April. I like thin, smooth, Merino wool clothes and have started wearing them for much of the season- both on and off the bike. For those of you unfamiliar with Smartwool it is an apparel company that makes clothes, primarily shirts and socks, out of Merino wool. I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about the benefits and drawbacks of fine Merino wool over synthetics, but suffice it to say that for 2/3rds of the year, wool seems to be a good choice, with our intense Southwest summer heat being the only time I find it lacking.

The Ramateur is only 75% Merino though and has 25% polyester mixed into it’s weave for durability and a lighter weight. I don’t actually know, but I’ll bet it helps the shirt wick moisture a bit better than plain wool too. It’s a handsome Jersey and looks almost like a cross between sportswear and nice country club clothes. If you stop for lunch at a restaurant during your ride, you will look much better than your fellow riders. The Ramateur comes in three earthy colors: Wasabi (green), Mulberry (brick red) or Graphite (pictured), seems well made but not over-built, and as a nice touch uses a soft piece of leather as its tag for comfort.

I am 5’10” and 193 lbs. and I find the XL size to be perfect. You can see in the photo how it fits me. I guess that means that they run small because XL’s from most companies are just a tad big, but I didn’t get a chance to try on Smartwool's large. The Ramateur has one medium sized pocket down on the back side of the right hip for an MP3 type device (or whatever). The pocket has a cloth attached to a cord which is either to wipe your sunglasses and MP3, or to wrap your MP3 in to keep it from getting sweaty. I don’t actually know because the literature calls it a security pocket with a sunglass wipe, but the little tag on the zipper shows the MP3 icon and the pocket has a hole for headphones so I guess it’s for whatever you want it to be.

So far, I like the Ramateur and as I said before- I’m going to wear it a lot (just probably not in the dead of summer). The MSRP is $90 and most bike stores should be able to one because they are available through the distributor QBP, with who almost every bike store in the US has an account.

charlie

www.smartwool.com

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