Swobo Short Sleeve Merino Jersey
Green. This Swobo Short Sleeve Merino Wool jersey is officially known as "Army". You might think of it as Forest Green. It's a fabulous color—racy, yet understated. My first impression was that it would make for a really cool, retro-styled mountain bike jersey. When I ride, I prefer to look less like a neon alien from outer space and more like an approachable member of the human race. My reasoning stems from my penchant for mechanical and navigational mishaps that require interaction with local members of the species. Baggy shorts and a subtle, suave wool jersey definitely fit the bill.
Green: The idea behind the "new" Swobo. It's been to our surprise and delight in recent months to observe the reappearance of Swobo clothing in the cycling marketplace. It seems that they have it all right. They produce stylish, functional clothes and they're making a serious effort to be accountable for their contribution, beneficial or otherwise, to our planet. I like that. They have followed a precedent, set by companies like Patagonia, and will be contributing 1% of their annual gross revenue to environmental concerns. If that isn’t enough, they are sourcing recycled, organic, and natural materials to allow consumers to make responsible choices for cool-ass bike gear.
As for the jersey itself…way cool! Forget what you’ve heard before about "scratchy wool." The new Merino wool from Swobo is silky soft right out of the package. The cut of the jersey is also excellent; it fits well while riding, and it doesn‘t look dorky while off the bike. I can envision wearing it off the trail and into the grocery store if necessary. That really means a lot to me. I cut my teeth on Lycra and Spandex and had never even seen a wool jersey. After years of synthetic jersey use and abuse, the time has come for me to put wool to the test.
I pulled it on for a trail run through the park. Again, it felt luxurious against my baby soft skin (ha!). The temperature outside was right at 50 degrees. After a few miles, I realized that the Merino wool might have been a bit overkill. This is a very warm short sleeve jersey! I believe that it would be ideal for a 50-something degree bike ride instead. While I worked up a good sweat, the Swobo jersey never felt clammy thanks to the fact that the merino wool does a nice job of wicking the moisture from the surface of the skin.
Thanksgiving morning promised to be brisk for a road ride. I met the guys from the shop, and we set out, with the temperature in the high thirties. I layered the Swobo jersey under a long sleeve, insulated jersey I’ve had for years. I expected to be dressed on the chilly side of comfortable. I hoped the temperature would rise as we rode. It did. Off came the gloves. Zip went the outer jersey. And again, the Swobo Merino proved to be a warm short sleeve jersey. I loved it. Layering becomes cumbersome for me in the winter. This jersey, however, can probably replace two layers of Lycra for me. I think it will become a staple.
First, the knitty…I think the craftsmanship is excellent. It seems that there are no drawbacks to being "still sewn in the seedy part of town." The stitching looked great. There were bartacks at the stress points between the three ample pockets on the back of the jersey. The flat seams at the shoulders bode for chafe-free riding for miles and miles. The ribbed cuffs on the sleeves and neck are super comfy. Furthermore, the sleeves are longer than your average jersey. They hang nearly to the inside of my elbow when riding. I think this may contribute to the perceived warmth of the jersey. I'm looking forward to wearing it on more cool rides.
I've long heard and read that wool doesn’t retain odors like synthetic fabrics do. After a total of four separate usages, without a wash, I think I agree. I’m wearing my Swobo as I’m writing this, and it still smells pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, I take a bath from time to time, but the freshness of this jersey surprises me.
Now the gritty…can I cope with the fancy wash instructions? By "fancy," I mean: Machine wash in cold water, probably don’t machine dry it. Historically, I’m the kind of guy who washes and dries everything in hot. I size accordingly. Now, I have a girlfriend who shakes her head in amazement when I do my clothes and won’t let me even touch her laundry pile. I plan on entrusting the Swobo jersey to her for care and feeding.
The Swobo Short Sleeve Merino Wool jersey is a handsome unit, fits well, and comes from a company with cool ethics. The sizing is consistent with what I normally wear, and it's really comfortable. I think I'll enjoy for years to come, assuming I can manage to keep it out of the dryer. We have it in stock in five great colors. Check one out for yourself!