Here’s a quick peek at two new bits of clothing that have just landed in the palatial, plushly carpeted Bikemagic offices: the Whackjob Bamboo jersey and Berghaus Vapour Storm jacket.
Berghaus Vapour Storm jacket
Outdoor clothing giant Berghaus stopped making bike-specific clothing a few years ago, but is back - sort of - with this jacket, the Vapour Storm.
The Vapour Storm is part of a complete range of clothing, packs and footwear for outdoor multi-sport use, including mountain biking. The Vapour Light range is aimed at adventure racers, but as adventure racing involves similar requirements to general UK mountain biking (we sweat lots, we get rained on) the vapour Storm looks worth consideration.
The range has been developed by Berghaus’ MtnHaus skunkworks process, which includes input from outdoor sportspeople and adventurers and, it seems, madmen: famed pro downhiller and stuntman Rob Jarmanis part of the team.
Vapour Storm is made from Gore-Tex Active fabric, the latest super-light, high-breathability three-layer fabric from the waterproof cloth maestros. There’s been some debate in the outdoor community about just how breathable this stuff really is; that is, whether it measures up to claims of being the most breathable fabric ever, and whether you can actually tell when you’re sweating up a hill anyway. The consensus seems to be that it’s good, but it’s not that much better than regular Gore-Tex in practice.
What we can tell you from pulling it on is that the Vapour Storm fits nicely, and the Active fabric has a nicer handle than a lot of waterproof cloth, including Gore-Tex Paclite which tends to be a bit stiff and plasticky.
While this isn’t a bike-specific garment, it does have a longer back than a typical jacket, it rolls fairly small and at 338g for a size L it’s not going to weigh you down too much.
It’s intended to be a simple waterproof for travelling quickly so it’s not festooned with features, but what it does have look well thought-out. There are vents at the back and sides to help let sweat out; thumb loops hidden inside the asymmetric cuffs and enough understated reflective patches to make you visible without making you feel like you should be directing traffic.
The Vapour Storm is part of Berghaus’ spring/summer 2013 range, and will be available in March 2013 priced £230.
Whackjob Bamboo jersey
Whackjob is a small UK company, based in Devon that specializes in natural-fibre clothing with an emphasis on sustainability. That’s led them to do a lot of work with bamboo fibre because it’s soft and comfortable, has good natural moisture-wicking properties (unlike, cotton which gets soggy and stays that way) and is highly sustainable (no pesticides or herbicides and absorbs lots of CO2 as it grows).
The Whackjob Bamboo jersey is derived from their bamboo Trail Tee but with riding-specific features including a long back; on-bike cut; v-neck and Raglan sleeves; and a handy little pocket for keys and change. The large and extra-large sizes have roomier sleeves so you can wear them over body armour.
We haven’t yet tested the on-bike comfort claims, but we can tell you that the fabric is amazingly soft and silky. We like that the label and washing information is all printed in the neck too, rather than being on additional labels.
The Whackjob Bamboo jersey costs £35 from Whackjob.