First-look review: Morvelo Nth Series jersey and bibshorts
For those unfamiliar with Morvelo’s story, the company was started by a couple of graphic designers in 2009. Morvelo expounds a simple motto, “ride everything”, which is most evident in its collection of films including the recent Doorstep Epic adventures that tap into the essence of bike riding.
Morvelo’s catalogue comprises a wide range of apparel for men and women with an online store for easy purchase. At present, all pricing is in pounds sterling, but the company ships to a large number of countries at very reasonable rates (orders over £100 are shipped for free).
Morvelo recently introduced a premium range of road cycling apparel dubbed the Nth Series. With an emphasis on performance and quality, each garment is purpose-built for racing. Thus, Nth Series jerseys and bibshorts utilise sophisticated fabrics and offer a closer, more athletic fit. They are also more expensive.
One of those sophisticated fabrics is called Dri-Clim that is used for the back and underarm panels of Nth Series jerseys. On the inside, there is a micro-fiber layer that is very effective at wicking moisture while on the outside there is an open weave that accelerates evaporation. The result is the promise of a drier, lighter jersey while the rider is sweating with the effort of racing.
The front and side panels of the jersey are made from a close weave polyester blend while the sleeves are finished with laser-cut silicone bands. At the front, there is a full-length YKK zipper, while the rear is equipped with three rear pockets with a fourth zippered compartment for the middle pocket. Finally, Morvelo adds a silicone band to the hem of the jersey to help keep it in place.
The Superlight version of the Nth Series jersey has all the same features, however a lighter Lycra blend is used for the front and side panels that is better suited to very hot conditions. The jersey continues to offer the same level of UV protection (SPF50) as the Nth Series jersey.
Nth Series bibshorts combine compression fabric from the Italian manufacturer MITI with dual density padding from Elastic Interface and Schoeller’s ColdBlack treatment to provide the rider with support, comfort and protection from the heat. Flat-lock stitching is used to keep all the panels of the shorts together while the leg hems are finished with silicone bands that offer plenty of grip and “a smooth PRO finish.”
The straps of the Nth Series shorts are made from mesh but Morvelo adds what it calls BibLock to the top of each strap, a small panel of fabric that resists lateral movement to keep them in place. And to help keep the rider cool, the mesh extends down the back to where the hem of the jersey sits.
The Nth Series jersey is available in two designs that Morvelo calls Pois (black with coloured dots) and Turtle (black and cyan with a floral print) with matching Nth Series bibshorts. Morvelo also offers the bibshorts in four classic colours (black with white, red, blue or yellow details). The Nth Series Superlight jersey is available in one design (Unity) with matching Nth Series bibshorts. There is a choice of six sizes for all Morvelo garments (XS-XXL). For more information, visit Morvelo.
RRP: Nth Series and Superlight Jerseys, £75 each (AU$160); Nth Series bibshorts, £100 ($212).
Nth Series Pois Gallery
Nth Series Superlight Gallery
The Nth Series jersey and bibshorts offers a very different fit to the Flandrien kit I reviewed last year. Everything is much tighter for the same size (medium). The shorts offer a lot more compression, especially around the thighs, while the jersey is shorter and much closer fitting.
There is very little stretch in the fabrics used for the Nth Series bibshorts, which reminded me of Rapha’s Pro Team and Capo’s Drago bibshorts. Morvelo’s silicone hem bands are also quite tacky, so I found myself requiring more time to pull on the Nth Series bibshorts. Once on though, I quickly forgot all about the tight fabric and enjoyed the comfort offered by the elastic padding.
The Nth Series jerseys were much easier to put on though I’m not convinced that silicone bands are necessary for the sleeves. I found I had to run a finger around each sleeve to help it find a natural seat but otherwise they went unnoticed.
With hot weather only just arriving, I can’t comment on the effectiveness of the Superlight and Nth Series jerseys in those kinds of conditions. I spent my time wearing the jerseys in combination with a base layer and arm warmers. The Superlight jersey has a stretchier feel to it than the Nth Series jersey (indeed, it reminded me of the Lycra La Vie Claire jersey I wore during the early ‘90s) otherwise they felt equally light and airy.
As always, I’ll leave it up to the individual to decide the appeal of Morvelo’s styling. I found the combination of the Pois jersey and bibshorts a little overwhelming—too many dots!—but the jersey worked well with plain black shorts. Similarly, I preferred pairing the white Unity jersey with plain black shorts, perhaps in unconscious regard for rule #14. That Morvelo offers the Nth Series bibshorts in a choice of classic and patterned styling should help buyers find a combination that suits their taste.
Overall, the Nth Series jerseys and bibshorts are decidedly race-oriented and best suited to slender frames rather than stocky builds. The tight compression offered by the shorts in particular won’t have much appeal for enthusiasts. Pricing also limits the appeal of the Nth Series, but I expect that committed riders/racers that appreciate Morvelo’s styling will have no trouble justifying the expense.