Retailer Merlin Cycles has unveiled a new cycle clothing venture called Merlin Wear, with a collection of bib shorts, short sleeve jerseys, socks, arm, leg and knee warmers available at three price and performance levels.
Merlin Cycles isn’t the first retailer to get into own-brand cycle clothing, the likes of wiggle and Decathlon have had a lot of success with bargain priced and high performance cycle clothing in recent years, and it’s clear Merlin wants to target price conscious shoppers.
Merlin says it was prompted to produce its own clothing, designed in the UK and made in Italy and Romania, after “finding there was something lacking.” It reckons most existing cycle clothing offered didn’t offer function, fashion and price in equal parts, but with its new range of clothing it’s confident it can offer good looking kit with high performance at affordable price points.
“Merlin Wear isn’t super(market) cheap and nasty,” says the company in a press release. “We could have made it even cheaper than it is already, but it wouldn’t have been good enough. We’ve had to commit to manufacturing fairly large numbers of items to achieve a price that we feel is typically impressive for Merlin but we’d much rather do that than compromise on quality and performance.”
The range is split into three price levels; Core, Sport and Elite. Each range shares features designed to make the clothing durable, with strong stitching, high quality zips, reinforced pockets and a choice of colours, designed to avoid clashing with existing clothing you already own.
Merlin describes the Core range as ideal for new cyclists, leisure riding and commuters, Sport for enthusiasts that cycle regular, and Elite is its top-of-the-range stuff. For this launch Merlin has made available a full range of Core clothing - jersey, bib shorts, socks, arm warmers, leg warmers and knee warmers - with bib shorts from the Sport and Elite ranges. We expect to see more from these higher end ranges soon.
The Core jersey retails for £22.99 but Merlin has already discounted down to £17.99. The jersey is available in red, white and black, Merlin choosing a safe and conservative design with colours that most cyclists will likely find agreeable.
It’s constructed from 100% polyester with a casual cut. Details include a 25cm zipper, silicone gripper tape on the hem, discreet reflective logos and rear pockets.
Merlin is offering three levels of bib shorts. The Core bibs cost £19.99 and are made from lightweight Lycra fabric with flat seams throughout, silicone leg grippers and reflective logos.
The most important part of all, a single density padded insert with a Silver Dry antibacterial treatment.
As you move up the range, you’re basically paying for higher grade materials and better padded inserts in the bib shorts. The Sport bib shorts cost £29.99 and are made from a 225g Power Lycra fabric with flat seams and a dual density padded insert with Silver Dry antibacterial technology.
The top-level Elite bib shorts cost £44.99 and get a high grade Italian made CyTech Elastic Interface Bastogne HP padded insert. The rest of the shorts is essentially the same as the Sport shorts, but the extra money gets you the more advanced chamois.
It’s still a bit chilly for exposed arms and knees, so the £14.39 Core Knee Warmers and £9.98 Core Arm Warmers look very good value for money indeed. They’re constructed from 240g Roubaix Lycra, it’s a little thicker than the fabric used in the bib shorts to provide a bit of extra warmth over your joints. They feature silicone gripper tape to stop them sliding down.
And they do socks. Because you can't launch a cycle clothing range without matching socks now can you?
See the full range at http://bikes.merlincycles.com/
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.