Products from Japanese cycling brand Pedal ED (or PEdAL ED, as it likes to write it) have been available in Europe for a few years now, and its range tends to focus on high-quality gear for general riding use, with a stylish twist. Previously available as a short-sleeve design, which we tested a year ago, the Pedal ED Kaido Longsleeve Jersey is a classy-looking top made from a super-comfy merino blend, which works well on its own or for layering on colder days.
Merino is an ever-popular choice for quality cycling wear in the cooler months. There are a few manufacturers who use pure merino, but it's more common to see it used in a blend, as here.
Pedal ED has chosen a blend of 49% merino and 49% polypropylene for the Kaido, with the remaining 2% being elastane to give some stretch. It's one of the most comfortable merino blends I've tried, feeling really good against the skin and proving effective at wicking moisture away even if worn without a baselayer.
My favourite detail is the cuffs – I do like a well-designed cuff. Here, Pedal ED has used a double layer of sleek and stretchy Lycra to provide a close but oh-so-comfortable fit around the wrists. Without a proper elasticated cuff, I find some long sleeves can catch the wind and get blown up your arms, but there's none of that here. If you find yourself getting warm, you can easily slide the cuffs up above the elbow, and they stay in place well.
This is a mid-weight jersey with a fairly casual fit. The fabric is a little thicker than that used in the similar Vulpine Alpine jersey, and it's a little warmer than that jersey too. On milder days with the temperature in the low teens, I often paired this with a gilet; on colder days it worked really well under a jacket, and once we're properly into spring I expect I'll be wearing it plenty on its own too.
Styling is a subjective area, but I would say that Pedal ED has succeeded here. Founder Hideto Suzuki has a background as a fashion designer in Tokyo, and here he has given a Japanese take on grown-up cycling gear that doesn't look like you've just finished a race. I felt quite happy nipping into a pub in this. It's the second thing I've tested this winter with elbow patches, so I guess that means these are no longer the preserve of geography teachers...
Other styling details are subtle, with only a very small label on the rear to identify the brand. That label is reflective, as is the tiny white square on the front pocket, and that's it. There's no doubt that plastering big reflectives all over this wouldn't really enhance the style, but I do think it could be improved with something like the subtle reflective strip used across the bottom of the Ashmei Merino-Carbon jersey. That said, reflectives are really a secondary means of being seen, and no substitute for proper lights in my opinion.
As you'd expect, there's a full-length zip at the front, with neck-protecting flap covering the top. There's a fairly small zipped pocket on the left breast, big enough for a key and cake money but not a phone.
At the rear, there are three pockets, but not in the usual arrangement: in the centre is a pump pocket – tall and thin – which I found could hold even a larger pump like the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive without a problem. Either side are large cargo pockets which will swallow a lot of stuff.
I generally favour three equal pockets but I got on well with these. If you really load them up then they do hang down a bit, as is normally the case in wool jerseys, but I never found myself sitting on the contents.
All in all I really liked the Kaido. There is a big choice of some really nice jerseys at this price point, but if you're in the market for something that's not too racy-looking and you like the styling then it's certainly worth a look.
Very comfortable mid-weight merino blend jersey with subtle Japanese style
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pedal ED Kaido Longsleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Pedal Ed says: "The Kaido Longsleeve Jersey is made from a merino/ polyester mix to be fast-drying and comfortable, for training or everyday cycling year round. The rear features a vertical stripe of horizontal one-way stretch material to provide a snug, athletic, fit to maintain the shape of the jersey over time. Finished with a full zip with chin protection and featuring two large rear pockets, and a 3rd vertical 'pump pocket' for emergencies."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Very nicely-made piece, this, on a par with gear from the likes of Rapha and Vulpine.
It's not really a "performance" top; PEdAL ED says it's designed for training or everyday cycling. In this context, I'd say it does a really good job.
I can't see any areas of concern, and there's no bobbling yet after being through the washing machine a bunch of times.
Again, with the proviso that this is a casual piece rather than racewear, I think PEdAL ED has got the fit pretty much spot on.
The medium supplied was big enough for me (and not tight) where the chart on PEdAL ED's website would suggest that I'd be a large. Depending on how tight you like your tops, you might want to size down.
You get less warmth per gram than with pure merino, but it's not overly heavy.
If you feel the fabric between finger and thumb, it is not as soft as a good quality pure merino, but when you put it on it is very comfortable indeed.
This is about the going rate for a merino long-sleeve from a smaller brand like PEdAL ED, though you can get pure merino (Vulpine's Alpine jersey is about the same price).
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The label suggests hand washing in cold water. I ignored that entirely and used the coldest (40 deg) and gentlest setting on our ageing washing machine without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I think that PEdAL ED has done exactly what it set out to - made a comfortable and stylish jersey that's a pleasure to wear for general riding duties.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
General comfort, and specifically the slinky cuffs which keep draughts out while feeling super-comfy against your arms.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much - I wasn't wholly convinced by the look of the elbow pads, but that's a subjective view really.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This works well as a layer in the winter or on its own as things get a little warmer. I've used it loads and really enjoyed wearing it. It's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Commuter - something with disc brakes, drop bars and a rack My best bike is: Rose X-Lite 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, mountain biking
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.