As the top-shelf cycling clothing gets better and better, technology gets pushed down the line, and now the low-end clothing is as good or better than the premium offerings you could find several years ago. This shouldn’t be news to anyone taking a close look at cycling, but even though we see this stuff every day, the reality hits when we pull on bibs, zip up a jersey, and go for a ride.
Capo’s Serie A Jersey and Bibs are toward the bottom of the company’s offerings. They fit in just above the Modena threads and below the Pursuit, and will likely step down another level next year as Capo improves their high end. The jersey material is the same fabric you’ll find in most of the custom team clothing they produce. The spandex, 210g PowerLycra, used to be what you found on their fancier shorts.
The look is modern while still being fairly conservative. The elongated text has some movement to it and the contrast from black to red to white is classic. Logos are on the shoulders, the chest and back, while the side panels share the black/white with diagonal stripes as the shorts.
Where Serie A is different is in things like the fit and chamois. This is their Corsa Series, considered traditional by Capo, which is slim but not tight for the jersey, and panel-wrapping but not complicated patterning for the bibs. The chamois is their Anatomic Lite, a one-piece stretch pad with 2mm of low-density foam on the sides and up to 12mm of high-density foam under the sit bones, with a channel between the blocks.
The jersey is made out of several Micro Quattro panels. This is the same material as the Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist team top we tested. It’s kind of like traditional sublimated jersey fabric (called Michron by Giordana, Drop by Capo, others use other names), only softer, lighter, and meshier, with better stretch. We’ve seen the same fabric in some Castelli jerseys as well. It’s great fabric; we rode 90 miles on a high-80s day and the jersey was comfy most of the time. As we overheated on 10-minute climbs, we first unzipped (locking the zipper in the up position makes it easy to use one hand to tug at the jersey and open it), then poured water over our back and shoulders. The jersey cooled without getting waterlogged. Wearing it on a slow ride in mid-60s weather feels almost like we’re wearing nothing at all.
The fit is supposed to be close without being tight. At 5’9″, 150lbs, and a cyclist’s build, the jersey was somewhat close on the torso, but loose on the sleeves. With skinny arms, this was only surprising because the sleeves have an underarm panel. Mesh is a common usage for these underarm panels, but here, it puts the sleeve in a better riding position, as when your arm is not in it, the sleeve sticks straight out. The diameter of the arm hole left our sleeves flapping in the wind, but bigger-armed riders or those who don’t like tight sleeves will appreciate it.
There are also two surprising features at the back of the neck. One is that the collar is made of two pieces and seamed in the middle of the back. This is supposed to help with fit, but we noticed little difference. The second is that a small strip of material is sewn in over the seam that connects the collar to the jersey. Never had a problem there before, but a little extra comfort can go a long way.
Capo bibs seem to keep getting better and better. Power Lycra may or may not work in terms of squeezing the legs for better performance, but it helps keep everything in place beautifully. These take a bit more work to pull on than the standard medium bib we typically wear, but once on, the chamois and everything else stays put.
It might be hard to tell from the pictures, but the ‘Capo’ sublimated panels are made from the heavier 240g PowerLycra. This material takes to sublimation better than the thinner stuff. They also made the sublimated quad panels short. See the ‘Capo’ on each leg? The heavier material ends just above the white line. This means the rest of the panel is thinner for greater warm-weather comfort and is also less likely to wear out—sublimated leg panels seem to be where our sublimated-panel shorts typically start falling apart first, particularly at the hip.
An unusual feature of the bibs is the Power Lycra going halfway up the front before the stretch mesh begins. Some like the way this keeps the legs pulled up, but for those with bulkier torsos, this means the bib is running up the side of your chest and less likely to feel restrictive. It took us a little while to get used to this placement, but eventually we didn’t notice it except when we were pulling them on.
The Anatomic Lite chamois in the Serie A bibs may be at the bottom of Capo’s pecking order, but it’s super comfortable, and an improvement over the one we tested in the Panther team bibs. First, the cover is patterned. We don’t know why this kind of subtle texture has been more comfortable, but it has. The second is the dense foam blocks and the channel they form. We were told it was a four-hour chamois, but five hours was plenty comfortable and short rides felt good, too.
After a month of riding and several washes, the stuff still looks new and feels good. We used to just toss everything in on warm wash and dry on high. Now we’re a bit more careful, cold washes for the cycling clothes and low drys.
Traditional has gotten pretty pro these days.