The Milltag Leinz and McFaul jerseys are just two of the tops in the range of clothing from cheeky London trendsters Milltag. Born out of a passion for life in the saddle Milltag say their mission is to break away from the gruppetto of banal and sponsor logo-ed jerseys in an attack of individuality and panache, as the jersey on your back and the bike that you ride say so much about who you are. Or it should do.
All of their jerseys are imagined by artists and designers who also cycle, so they should know what they're drawing about, and all profits from the jersey sales are split equally with the individual designers. Which is nice. Like art, they say, all of Milltags jerseys are produced in very limited, individually numbered editions, which means you're going to be practically unique (sic), and guaranteed to be the envy of the rest of those on two wheels. It isn't mentioned how you can claim against that guarantee should you need to.
As jerseys go they're good quality but standard fare, made from a lightweight Coolplus fabric with a full-length front zip and a silicone gripper on the hem. Three not overly deep pockets reside out the back with the outside ones being angled ever-so gently to ease access, and there's a small zippered valuables pocket on the outside of the right-hand one. The tailoring is standard European, which is a slimmer fit to the more generous US sizing, snug without being tight, although they seem a little longer in the body than is usual. But not a single word of that is really the point with these jerseys.
To wear a Milltag jersey is to express your individuality as a rider, and as only 30 of each jersey are produced (which is exclusive or a good thing depending on your viewpoint) it means there are only 29 other Individuals riding around which is quite good odds on individuality these days, you'd wave if you saw another one on the streets wouldn't you? Or pedal round the corner and cry as the realisation dawned that you're not as individual as you thought.
The "Follow Me" jersey is designed by Leinz, a London-based graphic artist, an enigma who is only known by the one name, like Michelangelo or Raphael. Or Cher. A man who says nothing and does less, but who's works of art exemplify his philosophy of a new generation. Apparently. He's known by those that know for his art's ability to stimulate thought on the world around us and the way in which it is governed, subverting iconic characters of the 20th century from Mahatma Gandhi to Mickey Mouse. He wants to excite but also entertain and says of his jersey design: “Cycling through London can be a heart pounding game of weaving, ducking, turning and generally trying to avoid stopping. Follow me is meant to be fast and inspire the leader in you with fellow cyclists following you as you defy logic and the traffic whilst avoiding those damn potholes.” Or to put it another way it's a pink and black jersey with inner-tubes patterned all over it. You takes your pick.
The front has a random squiggle of tubes snaking over it while the back has them spelling out "Follow Me", a sentiment echoed smaller on the left sleeve. A triumvirate of drawing-pins decorate the bottom of the left-hand side panel and there are some more cheekily hidden in the left pocket. Luckily there's some puncture glue printed inside the middle pocket. And a conker.
The McFaul jersey is designed by John McFaul who stands (when not riding his bike) supreme among the pioneers of contemporary design, founder of McFaulStudio which has been instrumental in some of allegedly the most innovative and successful advertising campaigns of recent years including Audi, Nike, Virgin Atlantic, Nokia, The Times and Microsoft. Blimey. Oh, and he's a some times contributor to road.cc too. His jersey is a tribute to the Manchester club scene, McFaul says: “Its purely a homage. I think I’m having a mid-life crisis. Its been a long time since I regularly set foot inside the Hacienda and look back on those days so fondly…not that I can remember much!” Cyclists of a certain age and temperament might feel a certain pang of nostalgia and lost youth when they pull this cycle-top on with its smiley face and hazard stripes, others might just feel that bit more visible on the road. A love-hearts and circles pattern decorates the insides of the pockets, no idea what that could mean, honest (oh, come on you're not fooling anyone - ed)
For each rider that needs to emulate their Pro hero and wear every piece of team kit right down to the correct undervest there are a thousand that don't want to look like Lance or advertise laminate flooring but simply see cycling as a fun pastime and want their jerseys to reflect this. The Milltag jerseys certainly do that. There are still others who see such jerseys as the cycling equivalent of the comedy tie and use them as a helpful warning to give the wearer a wide berth as it can be a fine yet fuzzy line sometimes between 'individual' and 'wilfully wacky' both in personality and riding style. The Milltag jerseys can do that too.
RRP £70, or £49.00 each in the sale on right now.
As a jersey the Milltags have some nice features, the cut is flattering if a bit long in the body, the fabric is good for a Summer's day and the little zipped valuables pocket makes up for the main pockets being a little small. At a RRP of £70 they'd certainly retain a large part of their individuality but their sale price of £49 brings them dangerously close to the availability of the masses. But the jersey's raison d'être, the designs, are going to promote a very Marmite response, you'll either love them or hate them… Actually, if you like those Marmite jerseys done by someone else then you'll probably love these. Which makes them very hard to mark. As a jersey they're not overly special so get a solid mid-pack mark, but it's so not about the actually jersey here. If you don't like the designs they're going to be ugly and stupidly expensive with the sale price making them merely ugly and so deserving of a 2/10, and that's being polite. However if you like the designs then they're going to be a ten out of ten awesome with flashing stars, and ringing bells, and jazz-hands, maybe. And that's at the full price where there's a possible bonus point or two for the extra exclusivity as there's not going to be too many who are going to pay that, no matter how fabulous the jersey is. Even the £49 sale price seems a reasonable premium to pay that might sway a few doubters, but on the other hand if you'd paid £70 already you might have a bit of a hissy-fit that the price had been dropped to dangerously mass-market levels. Blimey, isn't being different complicated.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Milltag Leinz
Size tested: Medium
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?
Milltag say that to wear one of their jerseys is to express your individuality as a rider and assures that you will “stand out from the peloton”. Wear it with pride and let’s hope your ability matches the jersey’s capacity to turn heads.
We can't argue with any of that, although some have been cruel enough to say that the jerseys have the ability to turn stomachs as well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tailored to an European fit from a Coolplus fabric with a unique cross section and micro-fibre construction the jerseys have a full-length zip and a full silicon hem that's cut low. The rear has three pockets with the outside ones being angled and an additional security pocket on the right. All jerseys are individually numbered on the label to show their limited status.
Tricky one value, cos you're either going to want one or not, £70 is more than a tad salty by our reckoning though, and £49 is closer to a fairer price… although it's still on the expensive side
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As jerseys they were perfectly acceptable jerseys, and they certainly fulfil the individuality brief of Milltag, if you buy one of these there aren't going to be many others with the same jersey. How people view this as a good thing may vary.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The light jersey fabric, euro-fit and full-zip, only 30 have been made.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The smallish pockets, 30 have been made.
Did you enjoy using the product? As a jersey - yes, as a moving billboard and the raised eyebrows for the design maybe not so much.
Would you consider buying the product? No, they're not my style
Would you recommend the product to a friend? My friend Dave who has a pair of gold camo shorts, yes.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
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.