Sunday, December 30, 2012

Modern "Commuting Wool Top" (Shirt)

For Christmas I received a very nice cycling shirt, made of Merino wool by Bontrager (which is part of Trek). I was a little surprised - I didn't realize that they made anything like this. I googled the full name of the thing and found it on their site and in various outlets, although I get the impression it may be discontinued - it was half price at several places and on the Bontrager site I was unable to find it either using browse or their search.

Perhaps Bontrager couldn't figure out how to market what is quite useful simply as what it is - a wool cycling shirt. They seem to have wanted it to serve as a fashion statement "on and off the bike."
On the bike, to the office, to the market, to the pub, around the city. If that sounds like you, then the 100% merino wool long sleeve Commuting Wool Top has the go-anywhere fashion and on-bike performance you need to transition seamlessly from riding your bike to looking right at home, no matter where your bike takes you.
Commute Shirt
The Bontrager wool commuter "top" (shirt)

In the list of "features" they continue to focus more on form than function: "Midweight, casual, high-collar long sleeve wool top for short commutes and trendy destinations." The "high-collar" part is simply a collar designed with buttons so that it can be buttoned up to create a high collar for windy or cool conditions - clever. There is also a single buttoned pocket on the back, off to one side, since cyclists may not have pockets in their shorts.

Certain features are pointless or silly - yes, there is a reflective edge to the one pocket, but in the dark this would contribute effectively zero. Even stranger are the epaulettes - are those a fashion feature for the hipster (or whoever) at the pub, around the city, etc.? For men I associate epaulettes like these with tour bus drivers and the like. And I don't understand why they don't call it a shirt or a jersey instead of a "top."

Adm. Arthur K. Wilson (LOC)
Now here are some epaulettes

The shirt is also a bit oddly sized, even by the standard of cycling clothing. I received and XL, which fits just right - but I am usually a medium for shirts, not large, so to have an XL fit is a little unusual. The site does say, "If you prefer a slightly roomier fit or are in-between sizes, consider ordering one size up" but this seems more than that - also the only sizes available are XL and XXL.

The MSRP is $79 which isn't that bad in my mind (given what I paid for a Merino wool "base layer" shirt last year) but it seems to be available from some outlets for half that, which seems a great deal.

No comments:

Post a Comment