The chance to review some performance-oriented clothing was too good to pass up when Conquest put forth the Performance 1 bib-knicks (Conquest calls them bib-shorts), jersey and base layer. My usual wear is a combination of plain-jane Netti knicks and a not-so-technical roadie jersey, with baggy shorts for commuting duties. Despite many years on the bike, I must confess that until these arrived, I was a bib-shorts virgin. But I was keen to make the leap, to look “pro” for a change, and perhaps to go faster (well, maybe that’s a bit too much to hope for).
While base layers, jerseys, and bib-shorts appear to be Conquest’s only offerings, they are all squarely pitched as technical performance items. Putting their gear on, the immediate feeling was of wearing something a bit tighter than usual, and looking very pro. Whether I was or not, well, that was up to others to judge, but it felt good.
The Conquest gear all comes with its own mesh washing/storage bag, which is great for keeping your stuff in order on the shelf or in a drawer. Who hasn’t gone to pull a jersey out of a pile only to have ALL of them come tumbling out? The bib-shorts need to be more or less rolled up to fit in the bag, but it doesn’t seem to impede the washing of the items. While it can be a bit of a pain to put them in the bag, wash them, take them out, hang them up, and then put them back in the bag again, I’m sure it will extend the life of the items somewhat.
On the first ride, there was no bunching, twisting, shifting or slipping as I pedalled. The full length zip on the jersey came in handy as I did my Michael Rasmussen (sans PED’s) impersonation through Akuna Bay to cool off a little. The base layer didn’t ride up or bunch under the jersey, and my first ride in bib-shorts had me converted almost right away. I’d always wondered whether they would be as good as I’d imagined.
When I first looked at the pad in the Conquest bib-shorts, I thought “it’s a little smaller than my current gear…”, and I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, it was to begin with. The padded area is narrow, and short. Unlike my current wear, which has a good ‘tail’ area upon which to rely, I found myself sometimes wishing for another few centimetres of padding. This was mostly cured by making sure they were positioned correctly when putting them on and looking a little like a MotoGP rider in leathers before getting onto the bike. That said, they may not be to everyone’s liking as far as coverage goes. The white contrast cuffs are tight enough to not slip or ride up, and look quite good.
The base layer is a tight fit, much tighter than anything I’ve worn, but not uncomfortably so. Very elastic, with the breathable qualities you’d expect from a base, only when it was very hot did it feel as if I shouldn’t have worn it. For the self-conscious, it also helps to hide the black bibs under the white jersey. It’s longer than my current jerseys, and appears to be made to fit under the Conquest jerseys. I found myself tucking it up a little when I wore it with any other jerseys.
The jersey is a tight fit and perhaps not for the self-conscious. It’s all going to be on show. The pockets are a reasonable size, without being roomy. Enough for a phone, a few energy bars, and a spare tube. There’s a nifty little side-access zipper pocket on the left side, which I found to be a good home for my Garmin (when my stem mount broke mid-ride), or a mobile phone (an iPhone will fit). Again, the performance oriented nature of their garments mean you’re not going to do a day-long ride carrying three bananas, a sandwich, two tubes and a phone in this jersey. The detail at the top of the jersey zipper was a nice touch, and stops the ends of the zip touching your neck when its all the way up.
The styling and visual appearance of the apparel is very neat without being over the top. Simple sleeve and leg bands, the makers name, and the stylised Conquest logo on the jersey arm are all you get, which suits me just fine. Nobody can level the familiar “mobile billboard” accusation at you with this gear!
In all the Conquest gear I ended up in the 2XL sizing. For a guy just over 6’2”, and 87kg, this is somewhat unusual. Every other piece of cycle clothing I wear is L or XL, and some of my casual t-shirts are even a medium size. Once you accept the smaller sizings of the Conquest apparel, and get on with riding in it, the number on the tag is irrelevant. But for those of us over ideal BMI, or taller than say 6’3”, you might struggle with the fitting. The variation between the XL gear I tried on initially and the 2XL I ended up in wasn’t huge, but it was enough to make the XL uncomfortably tight on my frame. Given this, you should pick your sizes carefully from the Conquest sizing chart. By their measurements, I should have fitted the XL quite nicely, so perhaps erring on the side of ‘a little bigger’ is best.
Conquest aim to take out some of the deliberation out of guessing the perfect size and, except for their sale items or cycle wear that is damaged or shows signs of wear, their customer friendly returns policy states: “If you’re not sure if a garment will fit then order two or three to check the size. We make it easy for you to try a few sizes and then return the ones that don’t fit for a store credit or full refund.”
Do you or don’t you?
Consider buying Conquest cycle gear if:
- Performance matters
- You’re not afraid of tight clothing
- You want to feel good, and possibly look good doing it, on the bike
Performance 1 Jersey $125
Performance 2 Men’s Cycling Bib Shorts $140
Short Sleeve Cycling Base Layer $62
Conquest Australia provide different ranges of cycling wear with the Core and Performance ranges as well as complete kit bundles and custom cycle wear and team kit. For a complete overview of these and to purchase the products on review visit:
www.conquestcyclewear.com [broken link]