Back in November we previewed STëLF's upcoming range with a high level of excitement... made in Italy, high quality chamois, fresh and bright designs and most importantly a passion for getting it right.
We have been living with the STëLF 'Pando' kit for the last 6 weeks. Mike Boudrie takes a look at how STëLF have gone with season one.
Words - Mike Boudrie Images - Andrew Clifforth
Based in Wollongong, NSW, STëLF produces a range of boutique cycling kit. The guys at STëLF came up with the idea for their brand during a post ride coffee. Fast forward 9 months and STëLF is up and running, offering some very good looking kit.
STëLF kit is designed in-house and manufactured in Italy. STëLF explain to us that a lot of time and effort has gone into getting the design, materials, cut and finish just right with their Italian based manufacturer. STëLF's aim is to produce fun, distinguished, simple, bold cycling kit at a pro-level, while keeping the brand affordable.
On a first look, STëLF have done a great job. The five kit options look great, they are recognisable and bold, while retaining a 'clean' look.
The jersey manufacturing stats read really well. A few of the features include: Advanced technical materials; full length zips; and fourth pocket with water proof zip for valuables.
We'd put the the STëLF jersey into the mid-range price bracket. A solid first go by STëLF, it's clear that thought has gone into the choice of materials and overall design. On close inspection we could not fault the stitching on the inside of the jersey and multiple washes later it still looks as good as new.
The full length zipper feels really robust, the teeth are larger than on many top end jerseys we have seen but it looks like it will stand the test of time and runs super smooth with one hand.
The arms, neck and waist of the jesey are all hemmed and finished nicely. There is a silicon band around the waist to keep everything in place.
We'd rate the fabric as mid-weight, it breaths well and is suited to a wide range of temperatures. STëLF has gone with solid side panels at a time where we are seeing many manufactures run with open mesh designs for breathability.
There's also a small opening in the left jersey pocket to allow for headphones to run up inside the jersey if that's how you roll.
On the bike the jeresy feels good. It moves with you and is not restrictive in any way. We'd say that the fit is not quite as 'Pro-cut' as STëLF describes but it's by no means relaxed.
Breathability is good, even in 30+ degrees riding in the Victorian High Country the Pando kept us feeling comfortable. The jersey wicked moisture well even without a base layer and the waterproof pocket did a great job of keeping our valuables dry.
The bibshorts are made using 190gr Lycra and use an Italian made Ener Dry Pad™ chamois made from bacteriostatic fabric with Biceramics and Rame Copper. STëLF tells us that this basically means that the bibs are designed to deal with long 100km+ rides.
As with the Jersey the finishing is excellent. We could not, and still can't find a single stitch out of place. The chamois feels really great, our initial thoughts were that it was very thick and quite stiff, but after a few rides and washes it had loosened up nicely.
Lazer cut leg ends with wide grippers feel great on and again are very well finished. The lycra is a nice weight and we had no issues with transparency even when wet.
We really liked the bib section of these shorts. Super light mesh that breathes brilliantly, with nice wide shoulder sections so there is no pressure build up on long rides. For a first go the guys at STëLF have done well here.
On the bike the bib knicks are really comfortable. We found they had a firm feel without being restrictive like some of the more extreme race cut bib knicks can. The other side of this is that the knicks don't provide the same level of compression that you may get from some knicks, however, you'll likely need to shell out an additional $100 or so to get into this range.
As we talked about above, the chamois is thick. It took a few washes and a couple of hundred kilometres of riding to settle down and loosen up. It's now feeling really good, with no pressure points, numbness or rubbing. The positioning of the chamois is a little more forward in the knicks than we've seen or felt in other brands, but while feeling a bit different to what we are used to it did not provide any issues with comfort.
As expected the bib section performed really well. Everything is held in place and and no time did we have any discomfort, well done STëLF. The wide leg grippers also do a great job and did not move even on long rides.
The Pando kit certainly stands out! We'd describe it a 'tribal' and it's received plenty of positive comments. Graphics are a personal thing, but we think that the overall STëLF range offers a style that will work for most riders.
Following STëLF's size chart will result in a a Jersey/Bib Short combo that we'd rate a midway between a race cut and relaxed cut. It's basically a good cut for real life cyclists.
When choosing your size of STëLF kit you have to go for the same size jersey and bib shorts, e.g. you can't choose 'Medium' jersey and 'Large' Bibs. Depending on you body shape this may or may not be a problem.
$275 for the Bib Knicks and Jersey combination.
We're really impressed with STëLF's first season of kit. We like the designs, really vibrant with a different look to anything that we have seen in the market this summer. Quality and finish is high and the guys at STëLF are awesome to deal with.
At $275 with free shipping we think you'll be very happy with your purchase... with limited runs of 50 kits per design, you won't risk being one of the crowd.
We're looking forward to seeing what's next from STëLF!
Head to www.stelfcycling.com to place your order - be quick there is only limited stock remaining!
- Made in Italy
- Pro-Cut for a close aero fit
- Front & Back: 100% Polyester No-Sock™ CARBON fiber fabric mesh
- Side, Rear Pockets, Sleeve & Neck: Micro fiber 86% Polyester - 14% Spandex-Asteria blend (Super soft to the touch)
- UV/UPF 50+
- 3 rear pockets
- 4th pocket with water proof zip for valuables (located on RHS rear pocket)
- Holes for head inside rear LHS pocket
- 4.5cm high front bottom band with micro silicon grippers
- Rear bottom silicon gripper hem
- Full lenght YKK zip with chin zip garage
- High vis inserts on side pockets
- Made in Italy
- Constructed using 190gr. Lyrca™
- High stretch mesh braces
- 4.5cm high silicon laser cut bottom band
- Italian made Ener Dry Pad™ chamois. Chamois pad is made of bacteriostatic fabric with Bioceramics and Rame Copper.