“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Oscar Wilde may seem an odd choice to be quoted on the outer packaging of a brand based out of San Vendemiano in northern Italy, but the Irish playwright’s words are certainly more than apt for the EVO, the top-of-the-range offering from De Marchi which has been hand-making cycling apparel since 1946 and was the first cycling clothing company in the world to receive ISO quality certification.
First impressions of the De Marchi EVO are impressive. The100% Italian-made kit arrives beautifully boxed and, even without putting it on, sends all the signals of a premium product.
The EVO comes in a number of colour options. The review kit is a white jersey with black trim and black bib shorts with white trim – and it looks pretty slick. Nothing too brash, mind you. But it’s fair to say the De Marchi designers have been a little more ambitious than many of their rivals of late who seem obsessed with the concept (or is that non-concept?) of monochromatic minimalism.
The EVO jersey and bib shorts look good, feel good and are wonderfully finished. The contoured, body-hugging fit – De Marchi refers to this as ‘Body Framing Technology’ – is definitely snug, designed to stabilise the clothing (including rear pockets even when full) for optimal comfort and performance. Having worn the kit on multiple rides of various durations I can vouch it delivers on this promise in spades. Sizing definitely errs on the smaller side however, as is reasonably common with Italian brands. My advice is to upsize by at least one notch on your usual kit. Or plan to lose a few kilos.
Closer inspection reveals the De Marchi EVO jersey and bib shorts are remarkably complex garments. A considerable amount of science has gone into creating both as well as ensuring they work seamlessly together. Pre-shaped fabric panels have been designed to closely mirror the motion of the body when riding, perhaps no better demonstrated than by the eight-panel bib shorts which feature De Marchi’s IDS (Independent Dynamic Support) EIT (Elastic Interface Technology) chamois – which is, in effect, two chamois. Each is made from a proprietary multi-foam insert that’s able to move quite independently of the other which allows it to shape even more closely to the contours of your derriere and nether regions. Active silver fabric is also used to maximise the bacteria-static and anti-odour properties.
De Marchi describes EVO as “its best fitting kit ever” so it’s no great surprise top-shelf fabric technology has been used throughout. Pro-grade Extra Stretch Lycra has been carefully blended with carbon yarns, and even something called ‘Dry3D’ titanium on the front of the jersey, to ensure excellent breathability, anti-bacterial and moisture wicking properties. A triumvirate of distinctively coloured ‘Air Control’ vents have been strategically welded into the upper backs of both the jersey and bib shorts to further maximise ventilation and body temperature regulation. ‘Dry3Pro’ light mircofibre is used on the sleeves and side panels of the jersey. The bib straps are made from a decidedly comfortable carbon fibre mesh. While high-elastane Pro-grade 360 Lycra features in key areas of the bib shorts, delivering a compression-style fit around major muscle areas such as your quads and glutes. If you’re anything like me you’ll also be pleased to know the EVO’s asymmetrical leg grippers work extremely well, keeping the cuffs of the bib shorts nicely in place, rather than migrating ever-further up your legs over the course of your morning roll.
The functional excellence of EVO continues with a maximum UPF 50+ sun protection rating; important if you’re riding through the unforgiving heat of an Australian summer and don’t fancy suffering from heat stroke or melanoma. The jersey has a full-length front zipper with chin protector and four good-sized rear pockets, including one touted as being ‘phone compatible’ with a zipper plus an internal hole I can only assume is to accommodate your headphone cord. It’s also worth noting the jersey and bib short designs also incorporate subtle reflective striping – good news if you’ll be riding at dawn, dusk or after dark.
As you’ve no doubt guessed by now the De Marchi EVO gets a huge thumbs up from this reviewer. Brimming with outstanding levels of style, comfort, innovation and quality, it may not be the cheapest kit in the shops this summer, but there’s little doubt it’s one of the best.
Jersey RRP: $264.95
Bibs RRP: $284.95
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