The past decade has seen an explosion in cycle wear brands supplying riders with an enormous variety of cycling clothing… along with a handful who have pushed price boundaries to the extreme. Some of the brands continue to flourish, but in the competitive market place, some have floundered or disappeared completely. Body Torque, established over 30 years ago in Victoria by Felicity Dales, have endured and kept up with the times with their cycle-wear available both off-the-rack and also fully custom for cycling clubs and groups.
For review, I sample the Luminous Short Sleeve Jersey and Core Bib Knicks from their Athletic range and was able to uncover some great features.
Being a local Aussie brand that has been around since 1986 comes, you can bet your bottom dollar that their quality guarantee (with repair, replacement or full-refund) will be honoured and that you will be looked after. In February 2020, Body Torque announced a big change and now they are a division of Australian-owned Belgravia group of companies (BSA) and alongside workwear, schoolwear and other sportswear, Body Torque now benefits from the additional affiliations / licenses with other sporting codes. In essence, Body Torque continues as a supplier of cycling and triathlon wear.
The new corporate change to Body Torque has impacted availability of the range of off-the-rack wear and neither the Luminous Jersey nor the Core Bib Knicks and Sleeveless Base Layers can be easily located on the Body Torque website. At the time of publishing, some clever sleuthing meant that the garments could be located on the website however the off-the-shelf stock is being sold-off and Body Torque are now offering custom kit only.
But the show must go on and we are focussing on the cycle-wear garments provided for review. In terms of colour, I was able to choose the bright Luminous Jersey and pair them with the dark knicks and while any club or cycling group can settle on a design to suit (all with the skilled guidance and keen eye of Felicity), if you can avoid plastering your kit with too many logos, then you will have the chance to create some edgy and attractive cycling kit together with Body Torque.
Luminous Athletic Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey
Two things really caught my eye on the glance, the bright eye-catching colours and designs as well as the lightweight format, with only 173 grams it is at the lighter end of the spectrum.
The current trends in cycling kit design is shifting to monochrome and mulled colours with graphics that are an absolute understatement. The Luminous is not one of these and I appreciate that it is a bright and graphically pleasing design but doesn’t look like a safety vest. I’m a firm believer of the “Be safe, Be seen” approach to cycling, and this is more than just running suitable bike lights for visibility and defensive riding, the colours and visibility of this jersey are on the mark… but still feel sporting.
I also noted that ‘lightness’ of the jersey caught my attention when I first inspected it and this is down the the selection of fabric and patterns which Felcity Dales, Body Torque’s Managing Director and Founder, was able to elaborate upon.
“We chose 3 Italian Fabrics to combine for the benefits of comfort as well as the visual contrast effect. Two of the Fabrics are from Borgini which is their Carbon Infused Fibre Triangular weave fabric, used for the back with superior breathability, soft on the skin for all round comfort and stretch. The sleeves, front & side panels, and back pocket feature fabrics from Miti, which are moisture wicking and antibacterial, a great performance fabric.”
The lighter fabrics worked superbly while cycling through the hot and humid Gold Coast Hinterland, where the moisture wicking properties were tested to the maximum! But these are not just for the heat, the jersey performed equally well during the cooler days back in Adelaide. The all important UPF50+ rated fabric is essential for the hot dry days you often experience in Adelaide.
Two key construction features on the jersey surprised me as they go against the common trends seen on many current jerseys. The sleeves had a simple and clean hemmed edge rather than the wide elastic cuff with gripper. Likewise the longish length at the back, also with a simple hem. I queried this with Felicity.
“I have noticed some of the “trendier brands” being shorter in the body . haven’t had feedback to suggest making them shorter, although happy to do that, it’s just sometimes people don’t comment. With this style we finished it off with the binding so that it was less constrictive in the sense that it moves with whatever shape or size of the wearer, and body shape. So we wanted to offer a point of difference compared to our other styles. So yes, this was a deliberate choice.
“[the sleeve hem is] another point of difference from the Pro Euro Style to not have the wider cuff. We did have a silicon strip in the original version but felt we couldn’t maintain the quality with the measurement being the same each time, so I did away with that and we just hemmed it instead. We wanted to keep it simple and streamlined.”
Interestingly, the size guide for the jersey only goes up to XL, but I was supplied with the XXL jersey. I found the fit to be relaxed, and ideal for my body size and shape (which is far from ‘athletic’). I did notice one drawback of the slightly longer length and the fabric combination however. The higher elasticity of lighter fabric means that with full jersey pockets, the jersey sags more that they jersey when on a long day in the saddle and pockets a bit full, the jersey sagged more than usual.
My verdict is “Well done”. The sleeves fit well and whilst not tight, I didn’t experience any riding up of the sleeves during the ride, nor any constriction. Removing the sleeve gripper made it one less niggle getting the jersey on. The rear pockets incorporate a generous reflective strip along the base of the pockets, placed ideally to enhance visibility of the rider during night rides. The right rear pocket also included a lined ‘key pocket’ with a vertical zip.
Core Athletic Bib Knicks
I’ll unashamedly admit that I’m normally a ‘plain black bibs’ guy, so was a little apprehensive if the Navy Body Torque Core bibs would fit with the rest of my collection… yes, thats a first-world problem. But I could breath a sigh of relief as it wasn’t an issue. Beside that, they fit beautifully, appear to be well made and were comfortable.
As with the Luminous Jersey, the key fabrics and chamois are Italian. The ‘Aspen’ lycra (supplied by Miti Spa) features ’graduated compression and elasticity to improve athletic performance’. The fabric also has UPF50+ rating and odour/bacterial resistance properties. The bib straps utilise a mesh insert and are a medium width. Sitting well on my shoulders they neither slipped off or dug in tightly which indicates a perfect length. One issue with the construction of the shoulder straps is that because they are not particularly stretchy, taking a nature breaks is a more challenging.
On the bike, the Core Bibshorts felt very supportive and cosseting, without being constricting. Wearing the XL size, I was at the upper range of the size chart and satisfied with the fit and performance. The multiple panels were structured well and the seams didn’t create any issues or rub points throughout my many road bike and gravel journeys.
The chamois fitted to the Core Athletic bib shorts is the Italian supplied TMF® 4L™ that is designed for road cyclists for up to 6 hours duration. I reach up to 5 hours on long hilly rides through the Gold Coast Hinterland and with that can attest to the longer term comfort of the chamois used in these Body Torque bib knicks.
A subtle feature on the shorts were reflective sublimated logos that blended in well with the design. I wondered if they could be susceptible to cracking or peeling but that has not eventuated so is a nice feature you don’t see very often.
The Body Torque off-the-rack had a good of range contemporary designs and I feel a lot of cyclists would find designs that appeal within the collection. Though with the newest business changes and move to focus on custom cycling and triathlon kit the designs are obviously customised for each club or group. None-the-less, the retail of the cyclewear for review was competitive with $130 for the Luminous Jersey and $150 for the Core Bibshorts. Overall well rounded in the design, material selection, construction and fit.
Find out more: bodytorque.cc