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.
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?
100% super fine 18.9 micron merino wool
Single back pocket with wooden button
Finely knitted with different weights of merino doing different jobs. I liked the slightly weightier collar.
The merino works well to maintain your temperature and keep you smell and sweat free.
Machine-washability shows that you don't have to treat this top with kid gloves.
Lightweight but warm.
Silky soft and snuggly.
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
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.
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