By Colin Dennis
Sizes: s m l xl
Size tested: Medium
With its classic retro overtones, the Solo Équipe Jersey creates the perfect blend of style and comfort without compromising on its effective cycling potential.
'With more than just a glancing nod to Eddy Merckx and his Molteni days, the clever combination of Merino wool, man-made fibres and retro-styling brings the Solo Équipe Jersey bang-up to date to become a superb addition to any rider's wardrobe.'
Solo says that their aim when designing the Équipe jersey was to create an iconic jersey that would become a favourite piece of cycle clothing. Designed primarily for riding in the saddle, the Solo Équipe jersey is meant to look just as good off the bike too. To be completely honest, I've worn this lovely bit of kit to the pub more times than I've ridden in it - and here's why ...
There's no doubt that the strong, powerful branding on the Equipe jersey, plus the subtle blend of Merino and Polyester helps creates an retro and emotive look that not only harks back to Eddy Merckx and his Molteni days, but also brings the Solo Équipe Jersey bang up to date to become a superb addition to any rider's wardrobe.
And there's no getting away from the fact that this is without doubt a superbly comfortable cycling jersey where the attention to detail is exactly what you would expect from a jersey of this quality and price. Like most of Solo's clothing, it instantly feels luxurious. Cycling apparel that makes you feel good before you've even searched for the garage keys definitely gets my vote - mostly because that's the best I'm going to feel!
But there's much more to the Equipe jersey than just retro-styling and bold graphics. The attention to detail is outstanding - even down to the smallest detail like the bullet-proof stitching (its not really bullet-proof, so don't test this at home).
Take the cuffs and neck band for instance: they're all knitted Merino wool and sit snug and yet compliant around the wrists and neck and the arms are plenty long enough for my Ape-like appendeges as they reach out to grasp the handlebars. The trio of rear pockets are almost a work of art in themselves, and I’m sure there’s more than just a touch of the Colnago motif in the centre of those buttons.
The beauty of Merino wool is that when wet it still retains much of its natural thermal properties, and with an almost 50/50 combination of manmade Polyester, the Équipe Jersey retains its shape no matter what the weather brings.
With its tight knit fabric construction there’s plenty of windproof protection on offer too; maybe not quite as effective as a dedicated windproof jacket, but such are the qualities of Merino that the combination of breathability and warmth is the positive side of the coin here. The full length reflective zip is also a welcome bonus and makes getting in and out of the jersey a cinch. It makes complete sense too that there's no little garage in which to park the toggle at the collar - well, it wouldn't look quite so original in its styling, would it?
In summary: the Solo Équipe Jersey is a luxurious cycling top and at £120 is about right for a jacket of this quality and construction and any discerning cyclists who want to stand out in a sea of Lycra need look no further. If there's a negative to the Equip jersey, and I'm really hard-pressed to find one, it could be that some folks might find it just a little too nice for cycling. Me? Well ... I like riding to the pub and back in it!