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by Matt Wikstrom
June 1, 2016
Photography by Matt Wikstrom
The word Arenberg has strong connotations for road cyclists. The association with professional racing is powerful and immediate, and a good choice, I think, for a performance-oriented clothing brand.
Established in 2015, Arenberg’s principals reside in Sydney, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden. The company’s goal is to provide cyclists with highly functional garments that can contend with challenging conditions with a minimum of fuss and flair.
Arenberg’s styling takes its inspiration from Scandinavian design and typography. The styling is not only fresh and distinct for cycling, it also makes for a clever juxtaposition with the brand’s chosen name.
The company makes use of Swiss and Italian fabrics to create the garments in their first collection, simply called Collection One. There are four garments on offer — a short-sleeve jersey, bibshorts, wind vest and a rain jacket — all of which are manufactured in Italy.
Arenberg’s Wind Vest, Tech Jersey and Bib Shorts.
Arenberg’s Tech Jersey is built from a lightweight Lycra blend (80% polyester, 20% elastane) to contend with mild-hot temperatures. The front and side panels are mesh-like with tiny screened-windows positioned at regular intervals to encourage airflow. This fabric also offers a generous amount of stretch compared to the back panel of the jersey.
There is a full-length zipper at the front of the jersey, three pockets at the rear, and longer-than-normal sleeves with a simple hem. An elastic band runs the entire length of the waistline with silicone backing for extra grip.
The Bib Short uses a dense, stretchy Lycra blend (78% polyester, 22% elastane) for the leg panels and a lighter, even stretchier mesh for the braces. The elastic padding is described as “pro-level” with multiple densities while the legs are finished with a simple band of fabric lined with silicone microdots.
Arenberg’s Wind Vest makes use (unsurprisingly) of a windproof material front and back. Light elastic at the armholes helps insulation along with a high neck, neoprene backing for the full-length zipper, and an elastic waistband with silicone backing.
Arenberg makes clever use of contrasting fabrics and a rubber printed logo on the bibshorts.
There are no pockets at the rear of the vest, but rather, a full-width vent that means there is no need to lift the hem of the vest up in order to use the jersey pockets. Light elastic strips keep the vent closed when not in use.
All three garments (as well as the rain jacket) are available in a choice of three colours — black/white, black/yellow, or grey/orange — that can be combined to form a co-ordinated ensemble.
The styling is clean and spare, and I found it immediately appealing. The shiny rubber logos on the short legs were a nice touch, as was the subtle contrast in fabrics.
Arenberg warns that their sizing runs a little small, which is not unusual for Italian-made garments. While I would normally wear a size medium in other brands (eg. Assos and Pearl Izumi), Arenberg’s size guide pointed towards a large jersey, bibshorts and vest, and they were all a good fit.
Arenberg’s designers have a taste for Scandinavian styling and fonts.
Two things to note about the fit: the length of the jersey is generous, such that it reached well below my navel (I stand at 178cm with long limbs). By contrast, the inseam length of the bibshorts was a couple of centimetres shorter than many other brands.
Out on the bike, each of Arenberg’s jersey and bibshorts performed exactly as expected, providing ample comfort without any slipping, pinching, itching, or chaffing. The padding was effective for at least a few hours, while the stretch in the shorts meant that no time was wasted when taking a nature break.
The Wind Vest provided a close, warming fit without constriction, even when my pockets were full. The rear vent is perfectly placed, so I could fish out my phone, wallet and spare tube without much effort (or more often, it came in handy when adding my phone or the spare tube I inevitably forget to pack before closing up the vest). And the fabric was silent, even when I had the vest opened after the day warmed up.
Aside from extra length of the jersey, I couldn’t find any shortcomings for Arenberg’s kit. The styling still has plenty of appeal after a several weeks of using the kit, and with the company teasing about a technology project that will integrate with its clothing, I’m looking forward to seeing what Collection Two has to offer.
All of Arenberg’s clothing is available in their web store in a choice of five sizes (XS-XL).
RRP: Tech Jersey, AU$160/US$121; Bib Shorts, AU$240/US$183; Wind Vest, AU$175/US$133.