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Het wraaksein is gegeven, hij is hun tergen moe;
Met vuur in't oog, met woede springt hij den vijand toe.
Hij scheurt, vernielt, verplettert, bedekt met bloed en slijk
En zegepralend grijnst hij op's vijands trillend lijk.
(The sign of revenge has been given, he is tired of their bait;
With fire in the eye, in anger he jumps towards the enemy.
He tears, destroys, crushes, covers in blood and mud
And in victory grins over his enemy's trembling corpse.)
Thus ends De Vlaamse Leeuw (The Flemish Lion), the anthem of Flanders. It might have been written decades before the first Spring Classics were run, but the Flemish spirit lives on and is seen in the swashbuckling adventures of the hard men of cycling, nowhere more so than in Flanders. In tribute to the region, UK outfit Stolen Goat have produced this rather dashing jersey. Fittingly, it's made in Belgium by Bioracer, which also supplies kit to Philippe Gilbert, Marianne Vos, Tony Martin and, er, Kraftwerk.
Stolen Goat is a one man operation, run by Tim Bland. Since 2012 he's been selling niche cycling gear and some lovely bike-themed prints, and has now added his own-brand line of t-shirts, jerseys and musettes. The Lionheart jersey is the most distinctive from a range of eight designs, but if it's a bit too lively for your tastes it's worth having a look at the rest of the range which is rather more sober.
The lion design on the front works really well with the colours of the Belgian flag across the bottom. Some might feel that the further large design on the rear is taking things a bit far and that perhaps a more restrained approach would have worked better here, but cycling has a long tradition of the shouty jersey and I love the look of this one.
As I mentioned, there is a range of quite different designs, so let's look at the technical aspects which are common to the whole range. Pairing up with Bioracer was a great move - they really know their way around technical cycling wear. The fit on the Bodyline jerseys is top drawer; it's no exaggeration to say that it's on a par with high-end jerseys costing over £100. The sleeves are undoubtedly the highlight. Super stretchy fabric gives a tight aero fit on the skinniest biceps with a raw cut end - no seams. I'd never previously found myself irritated by a seam on the end of my sleeves, but raw sleeve ends are what the pros are mostly wearing and they're bloody lovely. Quite simply, they are the best-fitting and most comfortable sleeves of any jersey I've worn, at any price.
The torso is also a close aerodynamic fit which I found was very comfortable and not at all restrictive; again you can really see the expertise of Bioracer here. The fabric is UV-blocking and boasts that improbable characteristic, "4-way stretch". It's not as stretchy as the sleeves - that wouldn't really work - but has enough give to ensure a good fit, combined with side panels made from the same stretchy lycra as the sleeves. Breathability is decent, if (unsurprisingly) not on a par with the ultra lightweight jerseys that the likes of Castelli, Rapha and Adidas have produced recently for the hottest of summer days.
The details are mostly well-executed, too. The full-length zip is a high-quality cam-lock YKK, and the three rear pockets are well positioned and don't mind being loaded up. There's a fourth pocket; the increasingly standard water-resistant home for your phone, which is always welcome. Unusually the zipped opening runs down the middle of this pocket rather than at one edge. The front zip is kept separated from your neck with a zip garage flap, made of the same stretchy fabric as the sleeves. I found that it was slightly fiddly to get the flap to sit over the top of the zip - generally not something you give a second thought to. Conventional rather than flat-lock seams are used here, but I didn't find them bothersome.
Here's a very welcome approach - Stolen Goat offer all of the Bodyline jerseys in men's and women's sizes. It's refreshing to see this, rather than a token pink-highlighted womenswear range, and it's an approach that I think will be popular.
When we included the Lionheart jersey in our recent round-up of new clothing, it promptly sold out in some popular sizes. They've now got some more in with another shipment due apparently. We've had some pretty high-performance jerseys in for review this summer, some - like this one from Alé - really quite expensive. Obviously it's still a lot more than Aldi kit, and lots of keen cyclists would struggle to justify paying £60 for a summer jersey, but believe me, if you can afford it, this jersey is terrific value.
The only other jersey I can think of with a similar quality at a similar price is dhb's Goldline jersey, which Iwein reviewed earlier this summer. The Goldline is lighter weight than this Bodyline and would be a better choice on a really hot day. Both manage to deliver a pro fit for a price way lower than you'd normally pay. Wiggle have huge buying power and dhb gear is generally cracking value.
Stolen Goat have achieved something remarkable in bringing a high-quality product to market at such a keen price, without the economies of scale enjoyed by the likes of Wiggle. I heartily recommend it and look forward to seeing the other technical kit apparently in the pipeline from Stolen Goat.
Eye-catching Flemish-themed jersey - fit is astonishingly good for this price-point
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Make and model: Stolen Goat Bodyline jersey - Lionheart
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?
This sublime jersey, like all our Bodyline Jerseys, is manufactured entirely in Belgium. So this is our pledge to the Flandrian Gods. To all those hard men (and women) who have persevered, endured and suffered on the Belgian roads. Made by the same factory responsible for the beautiful National Belgium Team Kit as donned by Belgian all-star Philippe Gilbert this jersey has a plethora of luxurious features.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Half length aero sleeves – with a raw cut end. These sleeves support your muscles, have zero flapping and simply stay put all day long without being restrictive or overly tight. They also give you the pro look without costing you a pro's wages.
Water resistant zipped 4th pocket. Yes it has your 3 standard reinforced rear pockets, but it also has a fourth pocket which is not only zipped but also has a water resistant inner lining. The perfect size for a smartphone. In testing we discovered it keeps rain off your phone and also stops your phone getting all sweaty.
Full length YKK camlock zipper. Zipps are something you only notice when they are bad. You won't notice these. YKK make the best zips, simple as that. Yes they are costly, but we want to ride with the best.
Neckline zip protector. No matter how great the zip is, if it rubs against your neck all day long – it's annoying! So we have added a zip cover at the top of the neck.
Heat transfer neck labels. Nobody wants to ride with a scratchy neck label so we've only used heat transfer labels for the neck. Super soft – you won't notice them.
4 way stretch fabric. The UV protected material that makes up the core of the jersey is designed for optimum ventilation and super fast quick drying. It has a four way stretch meaning it is ultra comfy all day long.
Athletic fit. Our Bodyline jerseys are designed to be an aero fit – whatever your size or body shape. They are not skin-suits by any means but they are an aero fit making you more competitive on the bike whatever your style of riding.
Manufactured in Belgium by the same factory that make the Belgium national kit, and a high percentage of the Pro teams (and using the same methods and materials).
No issues here during testing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is my new favourite summer jersey - it's super-comfortable in use, has a great race-fit and a well thought-out design.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Oh the sleeves. The lovely sleeves. Also, offering both women's and men's sizing is very welcome.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much. Found the zip garage a little fiddly, and - ironically - those lovely sleeves don't hold up arm-warmers as well as less-stretchy ones do.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.