We were lucky enough to get our hands on Black Sheep Cycling's much anticipated Season Two range of kit a couple of weeks prior to its launch.
La Velocita's Aaron Mulkearns was given the task of putting the kit through its paces on 'undercover' pre-release rides and a 250km epic adventure.
Read more to see how 'Floral Finn' and 'Speckled Lincoln' performed.
Review - Aaron Mulkearns Photography - Andrew Clifforth
Black Sheep Cycling aim to combine their own signature style with the very best cycling-specific materials. Season Two’s offerings of ‘Floral Finn’ and ‘Speckeld Lincoln’ definitely have the Black Sheep style and are likely to divide the masses… especially the Floral Finn.
Each garment is made using European fabrics and trims, brought together using the very latest manufacturing techniques. Black Sheep want you left feeling unique and a little special when you are out on the bike.
Black Sheep’s ranges are offered in limited release Seasons. Once they have sold out of a style, that is it for that Season.
To say we were excited about getting these kits to try a couple of weeks prior to their release was an understatement. We loved Season One and couldn’t wait to see what the Gold Coast based team were up to for Season Two.
Knicks are a personal thing. Different cuts and chamois fit a range of body shapes with varying degrees of success. Hands down we have to say that the knicks are close to the most comfortable we’ve worn.
The Italian made warp-knit fabric used feels really superior and extremely comfortable. When coupled with the flat-lock stitching and form-fitting design, these knicks have a rock solid fit.
Our tester does not have the smallest thighs and finding knicks that don’t “strangle” too much on long rides can sometimes be difficult. The ‘Power Cuff’ in the legs of the Black Sheep knicks is wide and the fit around the thighs is really great!! It keeps the pro-fit kit in place, whilst providing compression and comfort for maximum performance.
The bib and brace were a bit different to others we have seen this year. They are made from warp-knit fabric, however it has an elastic and grippy feel. Once you have the brace in position it does not move, bunch up or slide.
Our biggest worry was that we’d see sweat build up underneath causing it to slide or move, but we were wrong. It’s really effective in keeping everything where it should be while allowing your skin to breathe.
The Chamois in the knicks is a BS high-density foam pad with perforation channels to provide heaps of ventilation and comfort. Also, for those who like to spend a bit of time down in the drops, there is added perineum support that we really liked.
The jersey is extremely light weight and a pro-fit cut. Once on it looks really pro and really snug. When on, it moves with you without being restrictive or tight.
One of the biggest positives the jersey has is the panelling under the arms. Like Black Sheep’s Season One range, they have continued with the open cell mesh in the side panels of the jersey. It does provide huge amounts of breathability, ventilation and comfort.
Every inch of the jersey has been laser cut to give super sharp lines and clean panelling finishes to make the jersey that consistent pro-fit. The zipper on the front is full length and well hidden, again continuing the very clean approach.
Sleeve length is fantastic, a little longer seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment and these sleeves fit snugly and are fairly long.
The other great part of the jersey is the elastic grippers placed around the waist areas, again giving that support and comfort factor of having everything in the right spot once on.
The jersey has three generous sized pockets in the rear. You can easily get away with an essentials case with phone and money, spare tube, co2 canister, tools and some food.
Another handy little feature on the jersey is the reflective pocket trim. It is very discreet but provides visibility for those around you, making it just that little bit safer - big ticks here!!
Leading up to the Season Two launch we used these kits on our morning bunch rides in the dark to keep it ‘under wraps’ so to speak, only doing 30 – 45km rides. Once launched, we were able to put in some solid time to give the Black Sheep kit a solid test.
We’ve put in a few 100km plus rides, really testing the comfort and usability of the kit and it didn’t disappoint. The bibs just felt better as the ride got on and the jersey was also extremely comfortable.
Our biggest test ride was a ride in Victoria’s Alpine region, which was 250km with 4,500m of climbing. It was epic and all in traditional Australian summer conditions… hot! In the valleys it was 37 degrees whilst up on Falls Creek and Mt Hotham it was 20 degrees. Speckled Lincoln got the job of getting us through the day.
The kit was really put through its paces on this ride. Result? We could not fault it. Just over 9 hours in the saddle and the knicks were always comfortable, providing support over the whole day. They dealt with long climbs and equally long descents down on the drops, getting the job done every time. We don’t recall having to adjust anything the whole ride.
Our main concern on this ride was changing weather. When climbing Falls Creek it was super hot low down and as we climbed the temperature dropped a bit. Once up there the jersey was not as damp from sweat as we expected. The open-cell mesh on the panels really do a great job, providing great ventilation to the upper body. The result here was that we were not cold when descending.
This day on the bike really tested our tester as a rider and what he wanted most of all out of a kit was something reliable for that long haul in the saddle. Our tester's first necessity was comfort, second breathability, and something that looked the goods…
Black Sheep Cycling have really created a super summer kit that, for the current season, works so well with the ever changing Australian summer climate. We are looking forward seeing what Black Sheep release for the cooler seasons in Australia, as this particular kit might be a bit light during the colder periods.
Our tester is 169cm tall and 66kg and wears a size small jersey and knicks.
Priced at $330 as a jersey and knicks combo.
Season Two is amazing. It looks the goods and delivers so well in comfort, breathability and the ease of movement.
The Black Sheep knicks and jersey really are designed for that pro-fit. They provide comfort and are not restrictive on long rides, down in the drops, sitting back in the saddle climbing for hours and just having a fair dinkum smash fest. The best thing is you can look great getting all that done at the same time.
We definitely suggest putting your name down on Black Sheep Cycling’s ‘Movement’ to make sure you register your interest for Season Three! Don’t miss out… JOIN THE MOVEMENT!!
Great to see that Season Two has expanded to a woman’s range.
Head to www.blacksheepcycling.cc to get involved.