STëLF season 2 has landed. I've never worn a kit that has bought so many comments my way.
The 'Pebbles' kit I've been testing has the instant effect of bringing great colour and excitement to brighten up the dullest day.
Words - Mike Boudrie Images - Andrew Clifforth
12 months have passed since we reviewed STëLF's season 1. In that time the Wollongong based operation has made some serious advances with their kit. There's improvement everywhere, fabric, cut, chamois that together has resulted in a kit I'm happy to wear on my longest rides.
STëLF has delivered what I'd describe as completely left field designs. Love them or hate them, there's no denying that they stand out and draw attention. Personally I'm loving the Pebbles kit. Fun and bright combined with serious ability make me smile overtime I reach for it before heading out on a ride.
The reactions I've had to this kit have been nothing like I've experienced with any other kit that has landed at La Velocita... from walking into a bike shop to find one of the staff literally running at me in a frenzy of excitement shouting 'WHERE DID YOU GET THAT', to someone asking if they could borrow it for the weekend to 'wear to a dance festival'... and they were not joking.
STëLF has made a step forward on the quality and finish. The feel of the kit has improved, with the biggest change in the bib shorts. There's a definite improvement in the compression through the use of a higher quality and thicker lycra. They have also used a new chamois in a slightly altered position that makes them a completely new offering.
The overall finish is good and at the $295 price point for jersey and bib combo, it's up with kits that are $50 to $100 more expensive.
Once on the bike the changes from Season 1 to Season 2 are even more obvious. The cut is much more 'pro' leaving less material flapping about. I also really liked the new longer arm length, really comfortable and nicely finished.
The rear pockets have been redesigned to hold anything that you are carrying a bit closer to the body and there's a nicely hidden fourth zipped pocket for valuables. The neck is comfortable, and while we all have different neck sizes, I found that I did not notice it, usually a good sign of comfort.
I've worn this jersey in a range of conditions, including some really hot days, and during some big efforts, like climbing around Bright in Victoria's High Country and on some express group rides. It's a medium weight jersey that handles the heat well. it's also got just enough coverage to keep you from getting cold on an early start.
The jersey is finished with a heavier weight hidden zipper, a rear silicone gripper and a great feature, in the wide front waist band with micro silicone grippers. This offers a great look, and keeps everything in place while eliminating pressure on your abdomen on long rides.
The biggest improvements over Season 1 are in the knicks. Season 2 brings a quality offering with many of the features we like at La Velocita, like longer leg length, wide leg ends, good compression and the all important quality chamois.
The Italian made Ener Dry Pad™ chamois is a step up in every respect and it felt good from the first ride. I found no bunching, hot spots or discomfort at all. After a couple of uses, and washes the pad soffened and felt even better.
As a taller rider, at 188cm, I loved the longer leg length, a big tick there. When combined with the wide 4.5cm laser cut leg gripper things just get better. The bibs section is comfortable and nicely finished with plenty of breathability. They were firm over the shoulders without too much pressure and were forgotten about soon after starting a ride.
Five sizes - XS, S, M, L, XL - Tester is 188cm / 79kg and wears a medium
STëLF price their kit at $295 - we think this is great value for what you are getting.
WHERE TO BUY
Head online to STëLF's store - www.stelfcycling.com
It's pretty clear that the guys at STëLF have made a big jump forward with this kit. At $295, there's a lot to like about it from a performance perspective. When it comes to style it has got true character. I like that.
- MADE IN ITALY
- Pro Cut
- Front, Back & Rear Pockets: 100% Polyester No-Shock™ CARBON fiber fabric mesh
- Side, Sleeve & Collar: 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
- Holes for earphones 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 240gr. 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. (Everesting tested... impressive!)