Road Rags Clerkenwell women's merino jersey  £125.00

8/10

Stylish and comfy women's top that will suit both on and off the bike

Weight 258g   Contact  www.roadrags.cc

by Caroline Dodgson   January 18, 2014  

The Clerkenwell women's top from RoadRags is a super-soft, seam-free top in luxurious merino wool. It manages the difficult art of being cut for cycling without looking like it is cyclewear.

This long-sleeved merino top hides its cycle-specific features in a stylish urban package. The dropped, curved rear is discreet but long enough for even the most flattened cycling position. The single, wide back pocket has a wooden button that subtly keeps a slim wallet or phone in place. The arms are long and thumbholes in the cuff mean that you can keep out winter draughts and avoid chilly wrists.

The Clerkenwell has a high cut neck at the back but unusually for cycle-specific outerwear, this falls away to a v neck at the front. It's an unusual choice, especially as the men's tops in the range have high necklines, but it goes look stylish. The addition of a scarf or neckwarmer easily overcomes this issue in the winter, and I was thankful for the skin to air contact on warmer days.

RoadRags have designed this top to suit the female form rather than amending an existing male product, and the bike-track pattern subtly adds a fitted look to the jersey while relieving the monotone grey with texture. All their clothing is all manufactured in the UK, and they have sourced supersoft 18 micron merino wool for their garments.

A key feature is the seam-free construction. There is nothing to chafe or run which makes this top extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods.

I tested a Clerkenwell top in a Large, which fitted my size 16 all-woman (i.e. I have tits) shape well. Our model (pictured) is 12-14 and it was unsurprisingly a bit too loose for her. The size guide shows the actual size of the garment at the waist, but the shape pulls in tighter further down and is not fitted to the natural waist at all. When choosing a size the bust measurement gives is a better idea of which one to choose, as the merino is very forgiving but this is the key measurement being the widest point.

The top is very usefully machine washable at 30 degrees rather than needing hand-washing and I found it very easy to care for. The merino wool means that a daily wash isn't necessary, even if it is used very regularly.

The Clerkenwell top costs £125 which puts it at the higher end of the price bracket but by no means at the top. It manages the great combination of being luxurious and easy to wear so I wouldn't recommend saving it just for best.

Verdict

A stylish and comfy top that will suit both on and off the bike. It's okay boys, they offer menswear too.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Road Rags Clerkenwell

Size tested: Large, Grey

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The Clerkenwell has been designed for the cyclist who likes to look stylish, comfortable and feminine with pure 100% super fine merino wool.

With its long sleeves incorporating thumb holes they can be pulled down to prevent draughts and chills on your ride. The curved, double ribbed, dropped rear tail offers full back coverage. It has a high collar for the back of the neck which elegantly drops at the front to allow some circulation of cool air should you find yourself warming up.

We have incorporated our tyre track weaving as a detail to excentuate the feminine form and compliment your shape.

Completely seamless means no rubbing, offering you a luxurious ride. Being 100% merino it offers you the confidence to know you can wear and re-wear your top with no hint of any odour.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Limited Edition

100% super fine 18.9 micron merino wool

Machine washable

Single back pocket with wooden button

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Finely knitted with different weights of merino doing different jobs. I liked the slightly weightier collar.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The merino works well to maintain your temperature and keep you smell and sweat free.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Machine-washability shows that you don't have to treat this top with kid gloves.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Lightweight but warm.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Silky soft and snuggly.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Manufactured in the UK from high quality merino, the design whispers class.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The top was perfect for short to middle distance commuting and urban cycling.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The cut and the thumbholes.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

I'm looking forward to seeing more in the range from this new British company.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 5'7  Weight: size 16

I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD  My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Novice

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure

 

22 user comments

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IT'S A HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE QUID.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [366 posts]
18th January 2014 - 9:08

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IT'S A HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE QUID. WITH BRANDING.

There, fixed that for you.

(if they want me to wear their logo, they should subsidize the purchase price. Unless they really think the logo adds value for the wearer? Looks terrible, IMHO).

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [560 posts]
18th January 2014 - 10:33

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PJ McNally wrote:
IT'S A HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE QUID. WITH BRANDING.

There, fixed that for you.

(if they want me to wear their logo, they should subsidize the purchase price. Unless they really think the logo adds value for the wearer? Looks terrible, IMHO).


Why the outrage? You'd be hard pushed to find a high-end piece of kit that didn't have a logo. And the model is smaller than the tester, which doesn't really do it any favours.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [250 posts]
18th January 2014 - 11:16

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For what it is, and the quality of material used - £120 is pretty good value. The only thing that puts me off some of their men's Merino is how prominent the logo is - be better if if was just on the label inside.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
18th January 2014 - 12:36

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Another quality review from road.cc, lots of useful attention to actual details of fit and finish.

125 is steep, but it is merino, and looks incredibly well designed and finished. 40 quid will get a horrible, stinky plastic top with short sleeves and dodgy colours which will last a couple of seasons. Merino well looked after can last for many years.

Going to show this to the wife now and see if she wants one.

posted by Ush [356 posts]
18th January 2014 - 14:46

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stylish? I wouldn't dream of buying this for the missus, at any price.

posted by Metjas [243 posts]
18th January 2014 - 15:49

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Having read the review, I sought the opinion of Mrs Fishface, on whose behalf I am perpetually on the look-out for non-spandexy girls' cycling kit, since she pays little or no attention to the cycling press.

She ventured that nice as the finishing and the overall design look, the cut looks terrible - particularly the unflatteringly narrow shoulders and too-long arms - and it's sadly much less appealing than less-pricey equivalent jerseys from Rapha and Vulpine (such as the l/s polo she received for Xmas).

I can only concur with her assessment.

Edit: Correction, it's actually even more expensive than Rapha's l/s women's merino. Blimey.

posted by Lord Fishface [24 posts]
18th January 2014 - 18:34

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Lets clear something up now, Merino wool (even the very best stuff) is not that expensive.
Rant over, thank you.

posted by belgravedave [157 posts]
18th January 2014 - 20:18

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belgravedave wrote:
Lets clear something up now, Merino wool (even the very best stuff) is not that expensive.
Rant over, thank you.

Like to give us some examples?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
18th January 2014 - 20:40

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Check out Planet X, wiggle's o/b etc. But what I really meant is Merino wool itself is much cheeper to buy than the best technical material, yet they try and charge the same price.
So by all means say it's expensive because of the design, brand etc, but not the material.

posted by belgravedave [157 posts]
18th January 2014 - 20:50

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Wiggle's merino is a mix it's not 100% is it? None of the dhb merino kit I have is 100% and I'm pretty sure none of the current range is - we went to see them to discuss their latest range this week.

All merino wool isn't the same it comes in various mixes and grades and weights.

Plus there is a massive difference depending on the size of the run you're making top end merino is even more expensive if you're only buying it in small batches for short round of garment.

I've got a Planet X merino jersey, howies merino base layer and a Rapha sport wool jersey and they are very definitely not all the same material or the same quality something that was made even more clear to me when we had our own road.cc merino jerseys made a couple of years back.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4111 posts]
18th January 2014 - 21:03

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If you think merino wool products should command such high prices good for you, we should agree to disagree.

posted by belgravedave [157 posts]
18th January 2014 - 22:32

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belgravedave wrote:
Check out Planet X, wiggle's o/b etc. But what I really meant is Merino wool itself is much cheeper to buy than the best technical material, yet they try and charge the same price.
So by all means say it's expensive because of the design, brand etc, but not the material.

With merino rams selling for ten thousand dollars a go I'd say it's far from a cheap material. The thicker yarns of 18-20 microns are the ones that command the higher price so a jersey made 100% ffrom it is always going to carry a premium

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [288 posts]
18th January 2014 - 22:52

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Another -1 for the logo / branding.

I discounted this brand when shopping last year because of the hideous and overly prominent logo.

posted by coljay [3 posts]
18th January 2014 - 23:08

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Rob Simmonds wrote:

Why the outrage? You'd be hard pushed to find a high-end piece of kit that didn't have a logo.

The outrage isn't at all logos, just at that one Wink

Seriously, I don't have a problem wearing a brands logo, if it's a tasteful design (eg the vulpine v).

Or if someone paid me to wear it, I'd happily ride in full Castorama team kit. Or Footon team kit, even.

But to pay £125 for a tasteful, subdued grey to that someone has spoiled by stitching their tag onto it? Not for me.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [560 posts]
18th January 2014 - 23:28

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Also just realized I happily ride in planet x / on-one arm warmers, even though they've their name stitched into them. But they're £5.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [560 posts]
18th January 2014 - 23:31

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That logo did catch my eye on that garment I must admit, it's more the logo style than the fact it's there to be honest.

John Smedley doesn't brand his classier knitwear like this, and it's that sort of look they've went for.

I have Merino from Aldi....it's not 100% .....or branded !

What I am more concerned about is the V neck, never a good idea on a bike, unless you're restricted to 10mph.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [249 posts]
19th January 2014 - 10:03

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Lord Fishface wrote:
Having read the review, I sought the opinion of Mrs Fishface

Lady Fishface, surely?

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [202 posts]
19th January 2014 - 17:30

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Just looked at a woman's long sleeved jersey on Planet X, made from 'New generation' 200 gram merino wool (I'm sure all the merino experts will know how expensive that is to produce?).
Looks very nice with giro trim for fifty quid.
How about giving that a review?

posted by belgravedave [157 posts]
19th January 2014 - 23:13

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Christ that's an ugly item of clothing. Expensive grey sack. Always assumed all female cycling kit with v neck had been designed by pervy men.

posted by surly_by_name [33 posts]
24th January 2014 - 10:24

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Forget the clothing, i absolutely adore the figure on this woman!!

She is drop dead gorgeous, perfect curves.

She makes the clothing look much better than it is Applause

posted by JimmySaville [1 posts]
28th January 2014 - 15:49

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Both your post and your username unnerve me.

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
28th January 2014 - 16:38

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