With their Short Sleeve Merino Polo, Vulpine continue their campaign to prove that you can ride a bike without looking like either a neo-pro or a hi-viz-vested railway worker.
Made from 100% New Zealand merino wool the Vulpine is much like a normal polo shirt but subtly styled for comfort on the bike, cut a little longer in the back so you don't get cold kidneys, or worse, suffer that embarrassing baroudeur's-bum when hunched over the bike. Overall fit is what Vulpine describe as crisp with a British tailored style, which means it's comfortably fitted for a cyclist's physique with a just a little bit of room to move about in.
For a little bit of added bike practicality over your standard polo shirt you get a front chest pocket and single rear pocket, both featuring Vulpine logoed flaps, and the rear has a subtle reflective trim as a nod to safety on the way back from the pub. The washing, sizing and other flim-flam details are printed on the inside - eliminating that annoying, scratchy, sticky-outey tag round the back of the neck, and all the seams are flatlock stitched for comfort too, like proper cycling clothes, and are sewn in a contrast colour for added detail.
As you'll probably know by now wool is naturally odour-resistant which means you can wear the Vulpine polo shirt on the bike to where you have to get to and not arrive a sweaty smelly mess, great if you're commuting or having an on-and-off day on the bike or just want to ride to the pub/caff/tapas bar/ trattoria (delete as applicable) without having to change tops. And you can wear it more than once and not be banished to the corner of the room, which is a useful feature for luggage-lite long weekends away or touring types who want to look smart on successive evenings.
The Vulpine polo was worn over several days and passed each morning's sniff-test with flair; only the social faux-pas of being seen in the same shirt for several days on the trot saw it thrown towards the wash basket.
The Vulpine Polo also benefits from the useful temperature management quality of wool, keeping you warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat, so perfect for getting warm on the ride into town, and then cooling down again, before you enter your over-heated office.
I've never knowingly worn a polo shirt before. I'm not sure why that might be as I like a smart shirt once in a while... you know, Christmas, the Queen's Birthday... but the Vulpine polo was pulled on and instantly complimented as being 'really quite smart', which was a result.
The wool is a soft lightweight blend so it fits and hangs well, the perfect mix of smart but casual. Oh, and it's incredibly comfortable next the skin too, you can forget that itchy wool thing of old.
To be fair I wouldn't trust the pockets to anything important. The front pocket felt a little odd at times with the flap hanging at an awkward angle, bothering the peripheral, and thanks to the light weight of the shirt the rear pocket doesn't take kindly to anything substantial, pulling down and spoiling the line. It's just about right for some keys though.
Being a polo neophyte I thought that £70 was a bit pricey until I saw how much other premium brands sell for, so the Vulpine shirt seems about right costwise, and the day-on-day non smelly attributes of wool and the cycling cut might actually make it better value if you do a lot of pedaling around looking achingly stylish.
Stylish, beautiful quality, odour-shy polo shirt that works just as well astride the bike as off.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Short Sleeve Merino Polo
Size tested: Cobalt Blue
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?
Vulpine say their Short Sleeve Merino Polo is the perfect all-day-anywhere cycling top. Classic and subtly styled, with immense attention to detail and cycling-specific features. The cut is crisp and long at the back for riding.
Can't argue with any of that, it's a good looking well made bike friendly shirt.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% 180g New Zealand Merino wool, front and rear embroidered flap pockets, V stitched buttons, reflective rear pocket trim, available in blue or black.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It carried off the trick of being a polo shirt that can be worn on and off the bike with equal panache.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The style, the colour, the lack of smell.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The front pocket and its flappy flap seemed an unnecessary addition.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I've never seen myself as a polo shirt kinda guy (I did have a Harrington jacket once by mistake), but this might have just changed my mind, so actually maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? 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 doesn’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.