Zezere jersey by Bianchi Milano – £89.95.
Before I start, I need to be clear about something: I am a sucker for all things Italian.
I ride an Italian bike, I drink Italian coffee, I like Italian football, and I’m can’t resist a good Tiramisu. As it happens I drive a German car, but they’re just so damn efficient. I’ve got my eye on an Alpha Romeo though.
So when I got the opportunity to review this jersey from Bianchi Milano it immediately conjured up images of impossibly tanned Italian cyclists pedalling up the Dolomites.
Stopping for the odd espresso here, tipping their hat to Fausto Coppi there, and being generally cool and glamorous. Bianchi is possibly the most Italian of all cycling brands, and just to put the icing on the cake the Zezere jersey comes with a nice touch of classic Bianchi celeste (that’s the bluey/green bit) around the sleeve cuffs.
After some early summer sunshine here in the north of England, I happen to be sporting a half decent sun tan at the moment, and wearing this jersey I’ve suddenly grasped what celeste is all about.
Worn against the skinny white arms of an Englishman in winter it’s unremarkable, but when backed up by the kind of tan that I assume every Italian cyclist is in possession of, it works beautifully. Helpfully those sleeve cuffs cling nicely to the upper arms and add to that continental-pro-cyclist look and feel.
The Zezere jersey is very much a warm weather piece of kit. It’s made of thin, lightweight, and clingy material, and features large sections of mesh down the back and across the shoulders. It has a lovely feel to it, and the mesh does a superb job of helping keep cool.
Might be wise to slap a spot of sun-cream on prior to a long day in the saddle.
Quality wise, I have no complaints at all. I always reckon the zip on a jersey tells you a bit about whether the manufacturers are looking to cut the odd corner here and there, and so the sturdy metal pull is reassuring. The rear pockets are fairly small, but are enough to manage gilet or lightweight rainproof, a pump, a couple of gels, phone, keys, money etc. There’s no zip-pocket, but the middle one has a little Velcro fastener to hold things in.
With some Italian kit we here in the UK often need to size up, but I got on just fine with my usual ‘Large’. The fit is suitably racy, so it definitely requires at least a vaguely respectable physique to wear it, but the fact that it is largely black does help to tone down any excess poundage you might be carrying.
But still, it’s a racy jersey for a racy cyclist.
All in all, this is a stylish and practical warm weather option. The silky lightweight feel is lovely, the slight shininess to it looks slick, and personally I love the contrast of black and celeste. Given the choice, I would probably replace the ‘Bianchi’ writing and large chest logo with something slightly smaller, but it’s not so glaring as to put me off.
Now, assuming we here in the UK are not about to be blessed with a long, hot summer, I need to book myself an Italian cycling holiday to make sure I get the chance to wear this. I can picture myself outside some little Italian coffee shop, bike propped up and espresso in hand.
I’d like to treat myself to a Tiramisu as well, but I can’t honestly risk the extra calories in a snug jersey like this.
For Bianchi Milano in the UK visit www.chickencyclekit.co.uk