By Tom Demerly for TriSports.com
They are so much more than tight fitting shirts.
Performance technology leader Louis Garneau introduces two jerseys that improve rider aerodynamics by a measurable amount, manage temperature and moisture, provide sun protection and manage fatigue.
The benefits of new technology cycling apparel are real and tangible. The advantages are significant enough that secret cycling apparel used by Great Britain’s Olympic Cycling Team in Beijing was shredded for security reasons after the games according to the BBC. “We got them back and they were shredded as we believe the technology will hold well for 2012,” said David Brailsford. New cycling apparel for 2012 will include the same technology. Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) went on to say, “People spend thousands on lightweight aerodynamic wheels or hundreds on aero handlebars and then put a flappy jersey on and cancel out any advantage gained and more.”
“People spend thousands on lightweight aerodynamic wheels or hundreds on aero handlebars and then put a flappy jersey on and cancel out any advantage gained and more.”
LG Corsa Jersey.
This is the second version of Louis Garneau’s Corsa Jersey. Design ideas for the Corsa were developed using wind tunnel testing and with similar prototypes worn in the Tour de France by the Europcar pro team. Several apparel brands such as Nike and Assos showed prototype low drag, high performance cycling jerseys in major pro races and all of these new design themes attracted attention.
At $199 this jersey is expensive. I wondered if it’s worth the price. As it turns out Tucson is a great place to test a cycling jersey. My morning commute is between 38 and 55 degrees in the early spring and my ride home is usually over 80 degrees with summer temps getting significantly warmer.
Garneau built this jersey to have precise patterning. It is a snug, on-the-skin aerodynamic fit. I wore it with an LG Mesh Carbon Sleeveless base layer in the morning and with no base layer in the afternoon. Fit was fine with base layer and without. Donning the jersey is easy since it is a full front zipper. I appreciate the full front zipper since I always wear bib shorts. Unzipping the front of the jersey makes it easy to pull the suspenders or braces down to use the loo. Convenient.
The first thing you notice is the sleeve design. The single piece laser cut arm band forms an aerodynamic, gasket like seal around your bicep. There is no flapping, no large bump of fabric on your upper arm. It’s easy to visualize this being an aero advantage. I like this feature since it keeps the sleeves down and works great with arm warmers. It is the most comfortable sleeve I worn on a jersey with no binding. This is a good solution for larger arms since there is a lot of stretch.
Once you zip up the jersey feels very trim. This jersey is not as snug as the Mondo Evo, the full stretch fabric jersey we’ll get to in a moment, but it is more snug than the jerseys we’ve been used to for the past 20 years. The fit is precise where it needs to be in the forward facing surfaces when in the riding posture, either road or triathlon, but is slightly more relaxed at the midriff.
Details on the pockets are superb. The angled outer pockets are easy to reach into and hold their contents securely even on bumpy roads. A gripper elastic extends around the back of the jersey to keep it in place even with pockets loaded. All seams are bar-tacked for durability. In the center of the hem at the lower back is a bar-tacked polymer retention tab for clipping on an LED light. There is a media port for two way radios and headphones on the inside of the pocket so you can route your earpiece inside the jersey.
Bottom line on the LG Corsa Jersey: If you try one on you’ll want it. If you ride in one you’ll use your old jerseys to wash your bike with. It’s that good. The jersey provides features I never knew I’d want, like the LED light holder and the angled pockets. The fit and fabric make other jerseys seem like shiny T-shirts. This is performance equipment. Once you wear it you’ll understand.
LG Mondo Evo Jersey.
LG’s Mondo Evo jersey is a more fitted, aerodynamic jersey using four high technology fabrics to optimize fit, moisture and temperature control and improve aerodynamics.
Sleeves use the same opening as the Corsa jersey. Overall fit is very precise through the entire torso. The forward facing surfaces in the riding posture have a textured surface that performs the same function as the dimples on a Zipp wheel. The zipper on this jersey is a hidden, aerodynamic design that is 15″ long- it isn’t a full zip design, but the zipper is long enough to provide plenty of ventilation and enable you to pull the jersey over a helmet.
This jersey is a little work to pull on. Once in place the fabric and pattern are precise and very fitted. On the bike it feels fantastic with a sensation of the air moving over you more easily. Real or imagined, it makes you want to ride fast. Despite the trim pattern the jersey does not feel overly tight or compressive. Breathing is easy. Perhaps because of more skin contact and other design features this jersey felt cooler to me than the Corsa. This is my choice for a hot Tucson ride.
This jersey doesn’t feel like a second skin, it feels better than your own skin. The cooling sensation is noticeable as is the compressive, vibration resistance. You jiggle less. Since it is available up to XXXL its actually a good choice for plus size athletes since it stabilizes tissue well. The underarm ventilation panel is also noticeable. This would be a nice choice for a hot Ironman ride in sunny conditions.
Louis Garneau brought new life to cycling jerseys with the Corsa and Mondo Evo. With as many benefit as these two jerseys offer its time to re-frame the way we think about cycling apparel. It isn’t just what you put on to ride. It’s equipment that improves your performance and comfort. Think of it as a big component upgrade- one you wear. These two jerseys are race wheels for your skin.