Monday, July 29, 2013

{Part 2 - Women's} Road Holland Review: Cycling Clothes for the Rest of Us

Recently, I wrote about the men's jerseys available from Road Holland, but I wanted to take the time to write separately about the women's product. If you are interested in some background information, or are in the market for men's cycling gear, please see this post first. In addition, I am going to do my best to get through this short review without chastising myself or my body. Also, please forgive any cheesy smiles/poses along the way. I generally ride alone, so having pictures taken brings out my inner-ham, apparently. But, on with thoughts on Road Holland.

The first thing I took note of with Road Holland is their sizing. By most cycling clothing standards, they offer generous options for women, ranging from XS-XXXL (from a 32.5" - 47.5" chest). I will be the first to admit, however, that this does not meet the needs of every cyclist on the road; but it is nice to see that effort has been put in to offer sizes outside the typical range (which is generally up to an XL, or a 39-40" chest measurement). In their shorts/bib offering, the sizing is pared down even a bit more, going up only to an XL (31" waist/37" hip max). Being a "bottom heavy" gal myself, I would love to see this extend as well. As with the men's section, I hold out hope that the sizes will extend even more in the future to include those who require larger sizes.
Road Holland's, The Harlingen
As for the actual garments, I was able to test out two different styles of the Road Holland jersey. The first is their long sleeved version, The Harlingen. This option is currently available in road black or royal orange. Because of dog hair issues in our house, I went with the orange, hoping that it will allow me to keep it (at least appearing) more fur-free over the long term. It's not that I roll around in their hair, but it manages to find its way on to most things we wear. But, I digress...  The Harlingen appears to have solid construction and is made of 61% polyester/39% wool (the garments themselves are made in Miami, FL). It feels soft to the touch and is easy to wear, zip, and remove when needed. Yes, foolishly I tested out a long-sleeved jersey in the midst of summers' heat. Call me crazy. I actually found a cool morning to wear it though, so it wasn't as bad as it seems. Come fall/winter, I think it will be a nice option to have in the cycling wardrobe.
The oranges don't quite work together here, but I suppose they are different enough to not appear
as though I'm attempting to match the bike?
This jersey comes equipped with the standard three-pocket design in the rear, and also comes with one smaller zippered pocket on the right side. The pockets are deep enough to hold snacks, maps, and so on, and things seem to stay securely in place. The one thing I really found myself wishing for with this jersey was thumb holes. Maybe I have short arms or I've grown used to wearing long sleeved items with thumb holes sewn in, but I really think this could be a good addition on future iterations of this jersey. It's a nice option to have, even if one isn't going to use them every time the jersey is worn. I would also love to see additional color choices. I definitely love black, but due to the hair issue mentioned earlier, I do my best to limit it, and despite the fact that I seem to have a lot of orange items in my cycling closet, I'm not really the biggest fan of orange (apologies to both my much loved Miami Dolphins and the local Denver Broncos).

As far as sizing goes, I am wearing an XL. I fall squarely into the size range for this size, but I think I could have easily gone up to the XXL to have some extra room. The fit is not uncomfortable, however, if one prefers a looser garment, I would suggest sizing up.
The Aalsmeer
I was also able to try out The Aalsmeer. It comes this year in three different colors: road black, bright white, and nantucket red (I opted for the nantucket red, and again, it's in the XL size). This short sleeve jersey is very similar to the long sleeve option described above with a couple of differences. The first is that the short sleeve jersey has two rear zippered pockets. I think both left-handed folks and those who want to secure more items on their body will appreciate the extra spot on this top.
As you can see, I've crammed things into the pocket - quite typical for me
The other difference is that the short sleeve version is made of 100% polyester mesh, rather than the partial wool blend. I have to admit I was hesitant about this because I really love my wool jerseys for breathability and comfort, but this truly wasn't a bad option. It feels just as soft as the wool/poly blend and did a good job with keeping me cool while riding.
The neckline is somewhat typical of most jerseys. I found that I actually had a significant amount of room to spare, even having it fully zipped up (unlike the men's version Sam tried - his fit, but there wasn't a lot of wiggle room). In other words, I didn't feel the need to unzip the top as I have on some other jerseys I've worn. I really love the color of this one too.

In addition, I have discovered a very small slit that is sewn into the inside of the middle rear pocket. I suspect this could be used to run earphones through the back of the jersey as it's just large enough to get a very small ear bud through. Perhaps this is not the intention at all, but it's actually rather nice to not be strangled by iPod wires (if one rides with headphones) or have them precariously dangling around the handlebars, making for some interesting braking situations (not that I would know anything about that sort of thing).

My one actual riding issue (and it's been the same issue with every other "grippy-bottom-banded" jersey I've ever tried) is that it does not want to stay down while riding. For quite awhile, I've just assumed this is due to my excess girth, but when talking to Sam, he said he has the same problem... they just don't stay put. Perhaps one day there will be a material available that actually keeps the jersey in place? I don't think this is the fault of this specific jersey, but rather an inherent problem with movement on a bike and the materials used for cycling gear.
Overall, I really like the product Road Holland is making, and I hope that as they move forward they will continue to incorporate sizes for larger folks. It's still early on in their business, and these things take time, but if you'd like to see additional sizes or other items, I would encourage you to drop them a note and let them know your needs. In the mean time, I'm getting out on my bike. After all, I have a century (okay, two) on its way and seemingly never enough time to actually ride.

**Quick edit to say that Road Holland is currently offering 20% off to those who would like to purchase any of their gear/accessories through the end of August 2013 via this link, so if you've been wanting to try it out, this could be the time to save.

*As with the men's review, I was offered a great deal on these jerseys in exchange for a photo. However, no request was made to write about Road Holland or their products. Any opinions, thoughts, etc that are not stated to have come from Road Holland or their website are my own.

6 comments:

  1. Even though, I had some comments on the men's, those look awesome! Must be the better model! Good write up.

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    1. I appreciated your thoughts on the men's line because honestly, my only feedback is based on what I can feel of the fabric myself, and the thoughts/feelings from the male of the house - who is small - even by small guy standards.

      I think in regard to the women's line, there is still room to expand the sizing, but I think it's a great product and look forward to seeing this company do well in to the future.

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  2. You look great! All that working out seems to be working!

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    1. Aw, thanks. I have a long way to go, but all the working out doesn't seem to be helping. I'm learning to appreciate the body I have though, rather than wishing for something else. :O)

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  3. My new long-sleeved Road Holland jersey just arrived. So excited! I stumbled upon your post after searching the web for other people's experiences with the 'bigger female' sizing.

    Great work!

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    1. I hope it works well for you, Jaclyn! :O)

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