The Giro brand instantly resonates with stylish, well-made helmets. We’ve been watching Giro’s move into the apparel and footwear markets recently, but not had the opportunity to sample their clothing. It makes sense to outfit the cyclist from head to toe, but clothing and helmets are very different!
Giro apparel has a distinct casual, hipster-retro style. It’s intended to be high performance, but not look racy or lary like typical lycra kit. Their branding focuses on their Californian heritage to leverage the laid back, beach-side casual persona.
The Wind Jacket and Wind Vest are constructed almost identically, from two materials: an ultra light weight ripstop nylon front and sleeves, with perforated polyester back panel for ventilation. Both fabrics have a soft feel that borders on luxurious, and the all-black materials present a neutral and confident style. The Vest has a piping running parallel to the zip on the front, but other than that it’s basically the Wind Jacket with the sleeves chopped off. To keep things simple (which Giro’s designers would appreciate) I’ll talk about the two items as one.
The zips are from YKK, with rubberized Giro pulls for ease of use, especially with gloves on. The zip has a nice little polyester garage on the neck to prevent nasty chafing or scratching. The back of the neck includes a short reflective piping, but in the daylight this piping is black to the eye to preserve the casual style.
The fit is relaxed. Our medium samples were generous without being potato sacks. We were wearing the right size, and without doubt the fit intentionally allows space to wear over the top of heavier street garments such as a t-shirt, rather than a euro fit race jersey. Accordingly, there are no pockets on the back of the garments to stow epic ride essentials.
In keeping with Giro’s metropolitan cyclist outlook, I rode the garments on my daily work commute, as well as longer rides. I felt that the understated look was a nicer fit for my 25 minute suburban trip than my standard roadie apparel, which regularly inspires insightful observations, such as ‘it’s not the Tooar dee Fraance mate!’.
Western Sydney winter mornings can be pretty cold (sub zero), and I was concerned about the insulation that I could expect. I was fine from about 5-7 degrees up, as the garments were surprisingly windproof when layered over a regular jersey and winter bib knicks. I encountered a couple of light showers, and I was kept dry too. This definitely surpassed my expectations.
On the technical front, the most obvious feature of these goodies is their lack of weight and bulk. Each has a small drawstring bag stitched inside: turn the garment inside out and stuff it in the bag. Even the jacket stows down to the size of a squishy, full term orange. The jacket weighed 86 grams, the vest 60 grams!
On the down side, the zip is hard to pull on the fly as the light material gives little support when combined with the loose fit. It would also be nice to see some more reflective features integrated. After all, these are entirely black garments targeted at city cyclists, for use in cold weather months.
I do my best to avoid reading about any item before I review it, but will always check the manufacturer website after I feel confident in the opinion I have formed. Giro asserts you should carry one of these on pretty much every ride, and I cannot disagree. Outside of summer riding at low altitudes, it’s a no brainer to stash one of these in your pocket before you hit the road or start with it on, and stash it later. You’ll look stylish too, be it on the road, at the coffee stop or arriving at the office.
RRP: $119.95 vest
RRP: $139.95 jacket
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