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Vélobici René jersey review: Craftsmanship and quality in British cyclewear

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It will come as no surprise to avid readers of Vamper.cc that Victoria and I are admirers of craftsmanship and quality in garment manufacturing.

Victoria in particular has had a close relationship with the textiles and garment production industry. From watching her father’s business flourish as a child to her university courses in fashion, manufacturing and business, fashion and textiles have been a common thread throughout her life.

I have never given the role of the pattern cutter as much consideration as I have since I started wearing the Vélobici René. It’s construction has focused my mind on how much I appreciate the craftsmanship of a jersey.

It goes without saying that we have our favourites when it comes to cycling kit design, and we certainly have high expectation when it comes to cycling jersey manufacturer. Leicestershire-based cycle wear brand Vélobici more than meets those expectations; it’s the quintessence of British manufacturing excellence.

From its Market Bosworth manufacturing base to Nottinghamshire, the home of its fabrics, the brand exudes heritage and understated style that make its cycle wear so coveted.

When Vélobici contacted us to see if we wouldn’t mind running the rule over the René jersey, its latest high-performance cycling jersey, we jumped at the chance.

The Vélobici René jersey comes in two colourways, wine and sand. I’ve been testing the wine version in a marked departure from my usual palette of black.

The René is constructed from a super-lightweight honeycomb performance fabric with UVA/UVB protection, specifically developed by Vélobici.

The resulting jersey provides the sleek race-fit we all crave with an incredible capacity to contour to the body – without feeling restrictive. The René feels like a second skin as it moulds to your shape.

Billed as a three-season jersey, the René performs exceptionally under warm conditions thanks to the fabric’s impressive wicking capabilities. On our test rides, which were mostly dry and [reasonably] warm, the René kept my core comfortable with my body temperature remaining securely in the sweet spot. I can’t yet attest to the seasonal range attributes of the René, but I’m looking forward to testing it further once Autumn arrives with base layers and arm warmers. To be honest, I can also see it getting an outing in winter, too, as part of well-planned layering on those crisp, sunny mornings.

The resulting jersey provides the sleek race-fit we all crave with an incredible capacity to contour to the body – without feeling restrictive. The René feels like a second skin as it moulds to your shape.

The René is a four-pocket, full-length zip jersey – one zipped and waterproof – which provides ample storage for every mid-ride incidental (including a lightweight waterproof for this British summer).

The cut is a classical race-fit, featuring a dipped hem. My only minor gripe with the jersey is that, for my 6ft frame, the front is just a little bit on the short side. However, the rear of the René provides ample coverage and the front prevents the bunching you can sometimes find on jerseys with straight-cut hems.

The René features ‘Vélobici’ breathable jacquard detailing to the side panels and underarm providing additional ventilation. Embroidered René and VB logos adorn the chest area and reflective binding to the rear pocket and hem finish the exquisite detailing. (Victoria is thoroughly envious that I get to sport a jersey bearing her initials.)

Both the hem and sleeves feature silicone grippers so that nothing rides up – a particular bugbear of mine – and preserves the sleek silhouette of the jersey throughout a ride.

As a premium, Made in England item, you’d hope that it would launder and wear well. Over the few weeks that I’ve been testing it its been washed several times and hasn’t lost its shape or colour at all.

The verdict? The Vélobici René jersey has been everything I had hoped it would be. It has reaffirmed a love affair with finery and it confirms that craftsmanship and quality in British cycle wear is alive and well. It proves that in this age of materials technology, elegance and performance can walk hand in hand.

I have never given the role of the pattern cutter as much consideration as I have since I started wearing the Vélobici René. It’s construction has focused my mind on how much I appreciate the craftsmanship of a jersey, how much the crafted lines matter and on how difficult it is to pinpoint what cumulatively leads to overall excellence.

What is abundantly clear is that the René is a glorious cycling jersey. It has added more than a splash of colour and style to my cycling wardrobe and has firmly placed Vélobici in my arsenal of revered clothing brands.

The Vélobici René jersey is priced at £175 and is available from Vélobici.cc.

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