HomeReviews & TechReview: Neon Velo Performance Apparel Cycling Kit

Review: Neon Velo Performance Apparel Cycling Kit

Neon Velo are not an easy brand to define but in a nutshell it would be accurate to say they are an up-and-coming UK cyclewear brand. The thing is, the Neon Velo story began around 2014 with boutique road cycling tours in the mountains of Switzerland, Italy and France, the riders were all decked-out in the ‘team kit’. There is also the Neon Velo Cycling Team which is heavily into Cyclocross and competes in the US and UK, the current accolades are a first and second overall placing in the UK Cyclocross National Series. It means they are not just a cyclewear brand. For the average punter however, Neon Velo is about cycling kit.

premium cycling kit review comparison

The brand is defined by subtle colours (very much in trend) and sometimes a splash of colour to amplify what is otherwise an understatement. Neon Velo have a narrow range with six cycling jerseys and two stand-out because they include that ‘splash’ of colour. There is a Rapha-esque navy blue jersey with pink sleeves and the team jerseys that feature a fluro coloured swirl on the arm. Otherwise, the jerseys also share a common style with white space on the back of the jersey onto which the logo is position. Crisp and clean. There is indeed a philosophy to this, brand director, Simon Farrell explains,

“Our time on the road is something we see as therapeutic. Cycling is our escape, our time, our place and our freedom. As cyclist we are always one ride away from a happy place. A place our team riders and brand staff have named their ‘Whitespace’. A space where you rediscover yourself, rebuild your energy levels, escape life stresses and reconnect with life.

neon velo range

Our ‘Whitespace’ ethos is the reason that a lot of our jerseys have the Logo placed in a whitespace across the back of the shoulders. The Neon-Velo logo represents you, your shoulder carry life’s stress’s and the whitespace is where you go to escape from that. It was something that just made sense at the time and has since become a core value to everyone involved with the Neon-Velo brand.”

review cycling gilet

Before putting the cyclewear under the magnifying glass, Farrell stressed the importance of their real world cyclecross testing and development. “As a brand we believe Cyclocross allows us to really test and refine our products and does so in an environment that pushes them to the absolute limit. It is for this reason that we now race exclusively in the mud.”

We also believe the average cyclist gains far more from this type of product testing ground, than they would, from wind tunnel testing and or aero dynamic development. After all, nobody wants to invest in a super aero, light weight jerseys, that has been tested by pro road team with disposable income and equally disposable team clothing. Only then to find, that its good for only a few months of use. Our products take advantage of our cyclocross heritage while using a typical ‘Pro-Fit’, but offers the durability that an average cyclist both, needs and expects when paying for top end boutique cycling apparel.”

Now that we have the low-down on the brand values and testing, let’s take a look at the cycling kit from Neon Velo.

Inspecting Neon Velo

For review I received a kit in black and white style. This included the Pro Fit Aero Jersey Black, Base Layer Vest White, Lightweight Gilet Black, Pro-Fit Bib Shorts Black/White and the Classic Socks both as a white pair and black pair. All in all, a black and white affair which makes it supremely easy to mix and match with the bike or other gear.

neon velo roadcycling gilet

Mixed between black or white panels are bold bold and subtle typography, NEON and VELO are emblazoned on other leg of the knicks and there are also NVPA acronyms positioned in key locations. The broad white panel on the back of the cycling jersey and gilet (with Neon Velo logo in the middle) is good for providing contrast and visibility in traffic. And so that you know, NVPA standard for Neon Velp Performance Apparel. All-in-all, except for the Black/White contrasts, it is not a loud kit so if you need a bit more bling, look at the other colour versions.

design bib knicks

For the sizing of the cycling wear, I referred to the size chart and based on this selected the size L for every item. Often with other brands I may have size XL bib knicks though for Neon Velo, I followed the recommendation. The result is a race-face, a close fit but not too tight that it is uncomfortable or feels like compression wear. I was happy with the fit of all of the items except the gilet, which I will come to soon. A side-note before looking at each individual garment, this is produced in Italy and purely with this in mind, you can usually expect a high level of quality and that Italian-made gear usually sits in a different price category compared to a lot of Asian made wear.

Pro Fit Aero Jersey Black – 121g

premium cycling jersey review

I counted six different fabric types used in the construction of the jersey and overall it is fairly light-weight (121g) and breathable. The wind-facing front sections and arms use a slightly more dense and elasticised polyester while more breathable grades are used in other sections. The mid-sized collar incorporates a nice feature, a type of sweat band on the inside which is also elastic and helps keep it trim and smart. The elastic hem around the waist has a lovely silver pattern on the inside (which is also used for the knicks). The sleeves are long and silicon grippers are fairly ‘sticky’ you have to ease them on when you put the cycling jersey on, but they are super comfortable while riding and stay in place.

cycling jersey gripper

Overall the fit is superb with just the right length (for me) on the front a back, neither too long or short. As it is a race fit, if I am feeling bloated it is doesn’t help enhance my figure… but then-again, black is slimming. The rear of the cycling jersey has three nicely sized pockets and an additional zipper pocket. When it comes to attention to detail, for the stitching of the pockets, inserts have been used which help prevent the pockets from tearing. There is nothing worse that forking out your cash for premium cyclewear which feels the pinch when you fill the pockets and starts to tear. Inside the pockets there is ample space, not only due to the height but also because they are sewn with a fold that allows them to more easily expand. This is such a thoughtful detail as it is so well done. Bananas, mini-pumps, tools, gels, bars, spares and a phone, you could probably ditch the saddlebag if you wanted.

cycling jersey stitching

cycling jersey iphone

I rode both with the matching gilet and without on warm days, but always with the Base Layer Vest. In combination I was really happy with the moisture wicking. I could feel that it was a race fit and not as leisurely as a comfort-fit jersey which is a plus if you want to feel and look fast.

design printing cycling

A minor criticism of the jersey is that the print is ever so slightly offset on the weave of the fabric (on the back section). This is a detail most people probably won’t notice and certainly has no effect on performance.

Base Layer Vest White – 61 g

base layer neon velo review

I really, really liked the base layer, the armless vest was airy (as it should be) but a little plushy. This automatically makes you take more care when handling it and makes it feel like one of your favourite t-shirts. While riding in different weather condition I could sense that the base-layer working well wicking away moisture.

neon velo bib knicks review

nvpa neon velo performance apparel

Against the white fabric, three small black tags with branding create a nice accent so if your jersey is unzipped, it looks smart. Overall a good base layer that I feel performs well in cooler and warmer weather conditions any can be easily paired with other kit.

Lightweight Gilet Black – 91g

gilet neon velo review

The Neon Velo gilet has a lot of good characteristics, let’s start with these. It is well constructed and at 91 grams, can be folded and fit into a jersey pocket without being a massive burden. It includes a high collar along with fairly robust zipper that is easy to ‘operate’ while riding. Infact, it is a double-zipper so you can also unzip the jersey partial from the bottom. If you have ever had a gilet on and needed to rummage through your jersey pockets, you will appreciate how beneficial it is to partially unzip the vest from the bottom to give you the space to fish into your pockets.

neon velo gilet vest review

Though it is light, the front panels provide good wind protection, though it will reach it’s limits against gilets with thicker fabrics during wintery conditions. The material will also provide some splash protection (though I didn’t get to put it to the test) and the rear of the gilet is a breathable mesh… exactly what you need when you are suffering up a steep climb. Reflective tabs are sewn into the back, a feature I always like to see on cyclewear… so there are a lot of good things about the Neon Velo Gilet. Up to now I would would also want to claim that it excellent.

cycling vest reflective vest

cycling kit layers

Despite all of these traits and the obvious quality of the construction, it was let down by the sizing or the tailoring. In comparison, the cycling jersey (discussed above) was a size L and a perfect fit however this gilet, also a market as size L, was was cut a bit differently. That may not usually be a big deal for a gilet however there was far too much space in the collar which subsequently caught a lot of wind while riding. The wind continuously raced through the vest causing it to flap away noisily. That’s right, I am the type of rider who needs a virtually silent bike.

cycling jersey collar

While it provided good wind protection for the chest as well as breathability, the noisy flapping was a frustration. If you are wearing a neck-sock (such as from Buff Headwear) this could be a solution. I am not sure if you could simply size-down for a better fit (as the arm holes may become a little tight) so I suggest enquiring with Neon Velo and seeking their guidance.

Pro-Fit Bib Shorts Black/Black – 181g

bib knicks material

Like the rest of the kit, the bib knicks are also well made and have a thoughtful design. The large elastic braces are comfortable and link in with a lighter and breathable mesh on the rear. The bib knicks are designed to sit high enough and will neatly conceal your stomach for that extra-slimming effect. The mid-length legs have 7 centimetre elastic powerband (with the shimmering silvery grippers on the inside). The stitching throughout is appropriate with flatlock and overlock stitching in the right places. A secret pocket is included, this is covered-up by a jersey and although it is too small for a phone or wallet, you could stash a gel or maybe even a compact race-radio in there.

cycling knicks quality

pocket bib knicks

bib knicks grippers

cycling bib knicks gripper

Inside the knicks, the entire chamois curves up forward into the groin area which is not only more comfortable, it also means you can lean forward into an aerotuck position and be afforded more comfort.

cycling knicks chamois review

I like the construction and style of the chamois but needed a bit of settling-in at the start of each ride. The chamois construction spits in the middle which is good and provides a bit of a gap for the perineum. The front part of the chamois had a bit too much padding (in the two prongs) for my liking and became noticeable on very long rides particularly when I was in the dropbars. My personal preference is less padding in the front section to suit my riding style for longer distance road cycling tours but I can see how this was a considered part of the construction to suit riders with a more relaxed riding position (Gran Fondo) or upright riding position such as Cyclocross and Gravel Riding.

neon velo chamois

black cycling kit

For additional context, I prefer to ride with a saddle with a cut-away and for the review used both my regular racey Prologo Nago Evo Pas and also a wider Scicon ELAN (also with cutaway) designed as a MTB / Road cross-over saddle with a tendency to accommodate a more upright position than aero. On both saddles, riding in an aerotuck (on the dropbars) I gradually became numb (down there) and from experience, this is solved with a more upright riding position (though this is slower), using a different knicks/chamois, using a different saddle or a combination of these three things.

neonvelo cycling kit review

For all of the cycling wear reviews on Bicycles Network Australia, we tend to remind readers that chamois and knicks are highly personal so it can be trial and error for riders to identify the perfect kit. The Neon Velo bibknicks are no different so I can still recommend these but suggest doing some homework and looking at the chamois style to see if this is likely to be a good match for your riding preferences.

Classic Socks White / Black – 34g pair

A pair of black and a pair of white socks were supplied by Neon Velo with the kit to review. They were identical except having the reverse colour and half-calf-length style sock, the standard in pro-cycling. Constructed as lightweight and breathable socks (with coolmax material), the socks use different weaves in the different parts of the socks along with elasticised sections for a snug fit. If you have ever seen socks being made by a machine, it looks complicated but the result is that the socks that don’t appear complicated. The Classic socks are straight forward the chances are that they will fit very with cycling gear.

neon velo classic black cycling socks review

neon velo socks review

Neon Velo call these ‘Classic’ black / white socks although they are far from being simple socks as they tie in fit, comfort and breathability very well. Indeed the design is classic and I have suggested that they will easily pair with any kit and shoes. It goes without saying that the white socks are more likely to attract and display road grime so my practical mind says that the black versions are better. But if you want have the rest of your riding bunch debate your sanity, you can also mix it up with one black and one white sock… is that even allowed?

For the £15 price tag, some riders will be seeking a bit more colour and style so take a look at the website as there are a few other designs with a dash more colour.

Neon Velo in Summary

As a modern cyclewear brand, Neon Velo has a consistent style and offers enough colours options and accents across the fairly compact range so that most cyclists will find their favourites. The bold branding mixed with the subtle branding make you look like part of the team but there is still enough neutrality that lets you pair the kit nicely with your bike, helmet, sunnies and shoes.

If you consider that Neon Velo are a race-fit jersey, knicks, base layer and socks are built for purpose, then the looks may just be a secondary aspect. As the brand says, it’s ‘Performance Apparel’… it really is and the price-tag confirms that performance usually has a price. It is the price tag that will knock a lot of cyclists out of the running for this gear. with £15 shipping, this would position a single jersey delivered to Australia at around $242 and then tax would also be levied on the import. The flip-side is that Australia riders, this also makes it fairly exclusive.

The vest sizing is one detail that, in my experience, needs to be improved. And beyond personal preference (for chamois style and design), the cyclewear from Neon Velo delivers a race fit that is still comfortable and has all of the details you would expect from premium cycle wear.

Pro Fit Aero Jersey = £120 / ca. AUD $215
Lightweight Gilet = £99 / ca. AUD $177
Pro-Fit Bib Shorts = £170 / ca. AUD $305
Base Layer Vest = £39 / ca. AUD $72
Classic Socks = £15 / ca. AUD $27
Shipping £15 / ca. AUD $27

For details and ordering visit Neon Velo Website

Christopher Jones
Christopher Joneshttps://www.bicycles.net.au
Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a design agency, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.
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