This Is Cambridge started off small, just making a range of hand-made cycling caps and have built on that success to branch out into socks and now jerseys. Their À bloc jersey is a no-compromise performance cycling top that plays best when the temperature creeps above 20˚C.
The fit of the jersey is uncompromising to say the least, if you had a little extra pudding last night then everyone will know about it, TiC acknowledge this and say you may require a size-up from your usual jersey size. I'm a medium in pretty much any cycle jersey and the À bloc was definitely on the snug side, in a good way, let's call it slinky shall we. Its absolutely more tempo than tea-rooms in its intentions. It's also a jersey that's a little longer in the body than others, so no riding up at the front or bib-gap when off the bike and stuffed pockets sit comfortably low on the back.
The À bloc is made from a very lightweight Italian fabric, stitched together with flatlock seams for comfort and with mesh panels down each side for summer breezability. The fabric, cut and feel of the À bloc jersey make it feel like a top more suited for hot days, high intensity training or racing, any riding where your body is going to be working at or in high temperatures really. If you're just going to be casually noodling about on your bike and visiting National Trust properties and pubs it could be considered to be a pretty brave choice of garment by many, especially some regulars in the pub. But don't let that stop you.
In keeping with the performance brief the À bloc jersey has a low cut race neck with no collar as such. It's such a deeply swooping neckline that the top of your undervest can peek out the top, if you wear an undervest. I wear an undervest all the time, even in the hottest weather, for that extra wicking layer. This peek-a-booing was a little aesthetically irksome. There's no anti-irritation zip-dock at the top of the zip as has become the norm in a jersey because it sits so low on the neck, almost atop the sternum, that there's no need for one.
Storage arrangements are the standard three pockets out the back, and the right hand one has a small waterproof pocket inside it for valuables; just perfect for keys and it'll fit a slim mobile phone, just. With only a covering flap at the top and not a zip it's neither 100% secure nor 100% waterproof, but it'll keep the sweat out.
The arms are very long in comparison to the majority of cycle jerseys, just about reaching the inside of the elbow, and while it is very on trend with the Pro look it will play havoc with your finely crafted tan lines. There are no grippers at the ends of the sleeves, it's just the tight fitting of the material that keeps them in place, and it even manages to do this on traditionally pipe-cleaner cyclist's arms. It's a very comfortable solution and avoids the elastic pinching of some other jerseys. It's also achingly aero. On very hot days you can sort of miss the couple of inches of cooling that a more traditional shorter sleeve offers, but the fine fabric does wick sweaty moisture away really well and doesn't get clammy.
The tight fit and four-way stretch fabric make it an incredibly comfortable jersey to wear with no creasing or rankling in the front when hunched over the bars, and no tightness over the shoulders. Because the jersey material isn't the stoutest of fabrics things can get a tiny bit swayey out back if you overload the pockets with tools, tubess and extra layers. The silicone gripper around the hem does a fair job of keeping things in check though, and the tops of the pockets are thickly elasticated to keep everything in. It's the sort of jersey you're going to wear on the finest days when you might not need to carry so much extra bike gubbins so it's a petty niggle.
The full length zip works smoothly for easy sudden climbing ventilation and has a wind baffle behind it in a natty contrast colour. If I was being picky it would be nice to see this as a hidden zip, but the white detailing works well within the design of the jersey.
This turquoise and acid yellow colour combo is definitely for the brave. You can get socks and a cap to match so you can rock the combo quite confidently, like you meant it. It should definitely win in any 'what do you mean you didn't see me' arguments but if this is a bit too retina burning then there are red, blue and black colour schemes available that offer different levels of loud.
Colourful high performance jersey best worn at the fitter end of Summer after three weeks of salads
road.cc test report
Make and model: This Is Cambridge À bloc jersey
Size tested: Turquoise
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?
This Is Cambridge say that performance, function, quality and style are the key components of every product they make and the À bloc jersey has been a year in the designing and refining. Their jerseys are designed and constructed for those riders looking for a super technical, super stylish race level jersey. These jerseys use the finest technical Italian fabrics and have been designed to feel and look good '' because when you feel good you go higher, further, faster.
It's certainly a distinctive jersey, but it has the performance credentials to match.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fast drying, breathable Italian fabrics
4-way stretch fabric for freedom of movement
Low cut race collar
Laser cut arms for an aero fit
Flatlock seams for riding comfort
Side mesh panels for breathability
An easy access waterproof valuables pocket
3 rear low profile cut pockets
Because of the jersey's aggressive cut you may require a size-up from your usual jersey size
Made in Lithuania
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash at 30. Thrown in with all the other cycle kit, holding up well and the colours aren't fading
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a jersey designed for high tempo and high temperature days which it did very well, and brightly
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The uncompromising race fit, the colour (especially when matched with socks and cap)
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The low-cut collar
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.