- by Tracey Matthies
- Published: 16 December 2013
SUB Active Wear’s range of women’s cycle clothing is touted as being “specifically designed by women who ride bikes for other women that ride bikes”. Being a woman who rides a bike, I received the gear I was sent to review with certain expectations in mind; I was both disappointed and delighted.
The package I received from SUB included two cycle tops, one each in Coral and Blue colors, a pair of ¾ cycle shorts, and a pair of regular cycle shorts. All were subtly branded which will suit those who don’t like their cycling outfits dominated by logos and brand names.
The SUB tops are definitely comfy to wear and ride in, but they are not cut or stitched to fit a woman’s body shape. Specifically, I was looking for darts at the breast-line and panels that were shaped to a waist. In this respect, they are no different to the jerseys in my husband’s cycling wardrobe. In fact, he even suggested he could wear the blue one! Request denied.
I liked the gentle fit at the armbands while the shaping at my hips also made for comfortable riding. The tops are 100% 140gm anti-wicking polyester pique and soft to touch. As a regular rider on country roads, I appreciated the full width reflective strip across the standard trio of back pockets, although the pockets did seem a little larger than I am used to. I had no trouble carrying my rolled up raincoat and the obligatory banana, but I chose not to carry my coffee money in the pockets because they didn’t feel quite secure enough. The possibility of turning up at a café without coffee money didn’t bear thinking about.
With all things cycling, it’s the little details that make the difference. There were two things about the SUB cycling tops that disappointed me and both relate to the finishing off of the construction. One was that the collars are only stitched to the inside of the tops at the seams. Several times I found the unattached inside edge of the collar tickling my neck and I would hook my finger in to try and stand it up until I remembered that the collar hadn’t been sewn down on the inside. This is the only time I have seen this lack of finish is a cycling top.
The second detail that disappointed was the finishing of the zip on the coral top. It extended right to the end of the collar and tended to scratch my neck whether the zip was fully closed or partly open. The zip on the blue top ended slightly lower than the end of the collar and was much nicer to wear.
The shorts were a completely different story and lived up to the “designed by women for women” tag. Despite a couple of minor niggles (more on them in a moment), I have no hesitation in recommending SUB’s cycle shorts in both regular and ¾ length. Two things stood out to me when wearing these shorts; the panels and the chamois.
SUB describes the chamois as having “tactical gender specific articulation”; I guess that means they move the way that women move. They are certainly a very comfortable chamois whether I’m riding my 40 to 60 km commute or tackling a 100km plus day on the Great Victorian Bike Ride. Not that anyone else can see it when I am wearing them, but I also liked the lilac color of the chamois.
The shorts are fitted with five panels across the front and four across the back, plus a section which rises above the back panels to join the waist band, like an inverted U. All of these sections supported this middle-aged new grandma’s girth very nicely, thank you. The ¾ shorts have fewer panels but were just as comfy, earning them a regular workout on my late spring commutes when it was still a little cool in the mornings and evenings.
Despite my heartfelt recommendations for the two styles of shorts, I must express my disappointment in two areas. The waistband of both the shorts and ¾ shorts was much wider than the elastic within, which was prone to twisting. My other gripe was that during the first wash of the cycle shorts, following the instructions to machine wash cold and use a mild detergent, the silver iron-on brand transfer inside the shorts showed cracking and breaking. It will only take a few more washes and the entire logo and washing instructions will be gone.
Overall, SUB’s Cycle Range is more hit than miss. The wearability and comfort of these garments outweigh the disappointments that I’ve described above. The traditional black of the shorts makes it easy to pair them with any jersey, while the solid colors and absence of floral or other overtly girly decorations on the tops will suit the tastes of many female cyclists.
SUB’s Cycle Range for women is available online at sub.org.nz with free delivery anywhere in Australia and New Zealand.
The tops are available in Coral and Blue from XSmall to XXXL and at the time of writing, are marked down from $79.99 to $45. The shorts are sold in black only from XSmall to XXXL, marked down from $99.99 to $50 and the ¾ shorts are $90, normally $149.99.
Photos © Justin Matthies