Competitive Cyclist Team Panther Short Sleeve Jersey and Bibshorts
There's a tug between team jerseys and design jerseys. We hesitate to call non-team jerseys "blank" or "plain" as most of the non-team tops are designed with equally great attention to detail, just with no logos. We like both, but there is something about team wear that is exciting. Some say that wearing a uniform creates the illusion of belonging to a group. For us, it's more that team jerseys are, at their best, art in the service of a message. That the message is services the need of a business is fine with us. The best television commercials rival the best television shows. A beautifully-designed map is exciting as a good story. Since we're in election season, a well-designed ballot makes voting easier than a poorly-designed one.
We now turn to the Team Panther Presented By Competitive Cyclist jersey and shorts. Like the Competitive Cyclist site, the design is simple and spare. This is an example of design amplifying the sponsors' message. Like this site, there is lots of white space with bold lines in black and grey, with a little red, calling attention to the sponsor names. White is an interesting palette choice. It connotes youth, purity, a blank slate, as well as following the website design.
You know who the two primary sponsors are at a glance. Their presence dwarfs the clothing supplier and the supplier's name is more prominent than the equipment suppliers. We expect that the placement reflects the degree of involvement of all mentioned on the jersey.
While it's hard to tell that Panther is an expedited shipping service from the name across the chest and back, the name almost appears to be a stencil font, as if they sprayed the name on a box, but transposing the typical black of stencil paint with white.
The black and red stripes, which appear to be navy blue and red in some pictures, capping the sleeves and legs seem more football jersey than cycling jersey. US Postal in 2004 went with the bold sleeve stripes and FDJ in 2010 is doing it as well. It's a rarity these days, as most jerseys work more colors into a larger sleeve design; a contrast to days of old when wool was the material of choice and seaming together wool panels was the only way to have design options.
The shorts are almost a rarity these days. Black is the central color, with white panels. The panther, in black and grey, appears poised to strike when the leg is at the top of the pedal stroke. There are only three sponsors on the shorts: Panther on the sides of the legs, Capo on the front of the legs and Competitive Cyclist in back.
In the jersey, all the panels are made of Capo's new dual-knit Micro Quattro polyester fabric. It's almost cottony soft (the people at Capo talk about it having a luxurious "hand"), thin, and stretchy. It almost seems like mesh when you look closely at it. The full zipper is Capo's standard 6mm lockable hidden zipper. The cut is similar to their Modena jersey. There's a silicone gel gripper all the way around the bottom.
It took all of one ride on a hot, humid day to get to like the jersey. The material is great in the heat. Hard to write if it was the fact the material is so thin, or if it wicks unbelievably well, but we never felt like we were overheating, even when it was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity. We rode with the top just about fully zipped, too.
If there was a drawback to the jersey, it was our sizing choice. The medium is just too large for our build (1.75m, 66.5kg) to fit close. There is certainly a school of thought that looser jerseys work better in summer heat. To us, we find the billowing distracting and it discourages us from unzipping.
The shorts utilize the same seven-panel design that is common throughout much of Capo's line. That's three panels per leg and one for the glutes. The black panels are made from 210g Power Lycra and the sublimated panels (sides and glutes) are 240g Power Lycra. The 240g fabric feels richer than the 210, but the big plus is that it's less see-through when worn or wet than thinner Lycras. Capo grippers are at the bottom and mesh bibs go over the top.
The one thing that was a bit surprising was seeing that the back panel looked almost deep grey rather than black. People probably won't notice this when you're wearing the shorts, but if you're examining them in your hands, you can tell. This is do to the difference in the technology that produces the panels. The main black panels are dyed for eight or more hours while the sublimated panels are dyed for something like 30 seconds.
The chamois is Capo's MLD4 Elastic Interface (EIT) chamois. It's a stretch pad with four different densities, topped with a smooth Silver Ion anti-microbial layer. This is a long-distance chamois.
The shorts, size medium, fit and feel great. We did some rides over four hours in length in these shorts and the chamois was comfortable the whole way. The mesh bibs are light and minimal. The shorts have also done great in the wash, though a few months is hardly a complete road test of how shorts stand up to machine washing.
The Team Panther Presented By Competitive Cyclist jersey and shorts work on both the design and function fronts. The aesthetic speaks to the message of Competitive Cyclist; the wearing of it is a pleasure.