As long as you go careful with sizing and fit, Isadore's X Kompot Polka Dot is a comfortable long-sleeve top that has the potential to become a firm favourite in your ride wardrobe.
- Pros: Great value, nicely made, cyclist-friendly cut with extended rear
- Cons: Slightly strange sizing especially if you're broad-chested, no reflective highlights
A few weeks back I tested Isadore's Urban Jeans and, I have to say, I gave them a bit of a kicking. They were too expensive and, in my opinion, not made to a high enough standard. So it's nice to be able to state from the outset that Isadore's X Kompot Polka Dot long-sleeve T-shirt is about as far removed from both those areas of criticism as it's possible to get.
At £40 this is a fine bit of urban, leisure or even mountain biking cycle wear. The shirt is made in Portugal from 100% organic cotton and feels soft and light, yet retains a sense of hardwearing longevity. Essentially, it treads the fine line between being too delicate or too over-engineered very well.
There is also a small selection of nice details, such as the outer button and inner tab for retaining rolled-up sleeves, or the (very) extended rear cut, with an abundance of material to keep your lower back covered while in the saddle. Sleeve length is very good, too.
Indeed, in the saddle performance is top notch. It's airy and loose enough without flapping around to make you feel like a human spinnaker. It's also surprisingly adept at preventing too much chill from getting through. Now the weather has turned towards winter, I wouldn't suggest it be worn as anything more than 'just another layer'. But come spring and temperatures back in the mid-teens, you could quite happily get away with this and just a baselayer.
Which brings us to a few minor negatives. The first is that the relaxed neckline will expose said undergarment, meaning you might appear more Rab C Nesbitt than stylish urban road warrior. The second issue is that there are no reflective highlights. The polka-dot design is fun and eye-catching without being luridly high-vis during the day, but it's not particularly effective as an outer layer in the dark.
The third criticism regards fit. According to Isadore's own sizing guide, my manly 46in chest should very definitely require an XXL shirt. But that extended almost down to my knees and we had to send it back as the photos looked ridiculous. The replacement XL version you see here is a pretty good fit but sits just a little tight across the pecs. So definitely try before you buy, and ignore Isadore's sizing suggestions.
Well-priced and nicely made long-sleeve top with no question over quality but some issues with sizing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Isadore X Kompot Polka Dot Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Size tested: X Large (weight is for XXL)
Tell us what the product is for
Isadore says: "We teamed with Kompot to create this t-shirt, combining our cycling expertise and their flair for solid streetwear.
"A simple, elegant repeating pattern brings a fresh aesthetic to the classic t-shirt. Feature shoulders in asphalt grey invoke the road beneath the wheels, while polka dots link to the heritage of cycle sport.
"The t-shirt is lengthened at the back, reflecting the longer cuts of cycling jerseys and enhancing wearability, both on and off the bike. It's made with 100% organic cotton and is produced in Portugal."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Extended rear cut, perfect for cycling.
Available in three colourways.
Made from 100% organic cotton.
Produced in Portugal.
Very nicely made.
Good performance considering the relatively simple construction.
It won't last forever but looks durable enough.
A bit tight across chest.
Sizing guide is a bit misleading – if you have a big chest be careful!
Quite lightweight considering the amount of material involved.
Very nice to wear.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash at 30°C, do not tumble dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – it's a comfortable long-sleeve T-shirt/jersey whose performance belies its light weight.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It was warmer and more wind-resistant than I expected.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing is a bit of a minefield.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's not a huge amount to directly compare it with – merino tops tend to be more (quite a bit more) – but it's more than 'just' a cotton T-shirt... Rapha's Technical T-shirt is £55 (100% polyester), while Chapeau's bamboo Cafe Jersey is £49.99. Showers Pass' bamboo/merino Henley is £73.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
In terms of construction, performance and comfort, the X Kompot Polka Dot is very impressive. However, the slightly narrow chest and the potential to get the wrong size when buying online restrict the score to 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure