Velobici are a UK company based in Leicestershire. They are clearly proud of their ‘Made In The UK’ label, and one look at their website will tell you that this is serious, high-end cycling kit.
Whilst beauty is always in the eye of the beholder I would happily predict that for your average style-conscious cyclist, scanning through the Velobici range of Roadwear is likely to have you salivating and mentally concocting a plausible alibi for the online purchase you’re about to make.
It’s lovely looking stuff.
Testing their ‘Franc’ long sleeved jersey, and immediately sold on it looks-wise, I was keen to find out whether it was the total package: does it perform out on the road?
But first things first: It’s a comfortable and beautifully cut jersey.
I’m a fairly standard ‘Large’ in all but the most Italian of cycling kit and I found it to be a perfect fit; no complaints whatsoever. It’s snug and clings nicely to the body, but without feeling restrictive in any way. A tight jersey of lesser quality can feel like its pulling and stretching in the wrong places but there’s none of that with the ‘Franc’
A good sign.
As ever with these things if you’re carrying a few extra pounds around the midriff the experience may be different, but if ever you need an incentive to lose a few pounds…
The details around the seams, zips, collar and pockets are top-notch and seem hard wearing and practical. If something on a jersey doesn’t work – a fiddly zip, for example, or a pocket that’s hard to access on the move – it sticks out like a sore thumb, but there is none of that.
Talking of thumbs, the sleeves are long and the cuffs feature a thumb hole to keep them snugly in place. It’s a feature I like. I can’t stand sleeves which ride up and allow a draught in, and having cuffs which come part way up the palm of your hand solves this problem comprehensively.
For storage there is one extremely reachable pocket on the right hand side of the jersey which swings round in the direction of the midriff. Unusual, but I like it, and there’s also a second open rear pocket, and two zip pockets that are waterproof and re-enforced and well capable of dealing with phone, keys, money and the rest.
So it’s top quality, practical, and visually there are nice touches like the sloping pocket seams around the back and the sturdy metal zip tags. I also like the sewn in VB logo on the chest. To me it harks back to the simplicity of 1970’s cycling branding in a Merckxian kind of way.
It’s classy looking, no question.
To test its performance I took a chance first time out.
It was a blustery morning, the temperature was hovering around eight or nine degrees, and there was definitely a shower or two in the air. Having never worn it before, had it not worked I would have been in for a cold time of things.
With a long sleeved base layer underneath and a buff to keep the chill off my neck it did the job beautifully. It’s not fully windproof but offers a decent level of protection, and proved it could brush off a rain shower on a couple of occasions. Too much colder than this and I’d be reaching for a winter jacket, but in conditions which are par for the course in autumn and spring here in the UK it seems like a good option.
I have since worn it in slightly warmer temperatures heading up towards the low teens Celcius and it was a pleasure to wear. It seems to breathe well when you’re working hard, is super-comfortable, and the snug fit gives a sense that you might be getting some benefit aerodynamically.
Every little helps, after all.
For the price you would rightly have high expectations of its technical qualities as well as it’s stylings, and at £160 it will never be for everyone, but to my mind the price is a personal choice as long as the jersey works – and I found it hard to fault.
If you’re willing to save up or splash out on the next addition to your cycling wardrobe I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Velobici ‘Franc’. You are getting a pretty special piece of kit for your money.