My partner in crime, BB, groaned when I informed him I thought we should switch our clothing manufacturer to Jakroo this year. I like to tinker, and being a good partner in crime means BB will often follow my lead when I have suggestions or ideas.
BB and I have gone through several manufacturers, which include Voler, Hincapie, Verge, Pactimo, and JVelo. Each kit we put together was loved by some and loathed by others. There were a couple of reasons for the switch. Hernando took a full time job at Jakroo, they are headquartered in the East Bay, and they supported the Hellyer Team Pursuit Program, so I was curious to try them out.
Designing with Jakroo was straight forward and painless. Turn around times were reasonable and well communicated. The company is still small, so there was the occasional missed email and clarification needed, but it was on par with more established companies. In short things were smooth and we were treated well, despite our low potential, and small order size. The design team got a little punchy when we started to tweak the details at the 11th hour, but they held their tongues and politely kept us in check.
I usually don’t think about the process, except for when BB and I fight amongst ourselves about the design. We didn’t do that this time, and I credit the format the Jakroo provided the kit mock ups in. Jakroo provides a 3-D style rendering, which provides a clear idea of what the kit will look like on a virtual cruciform. This helped us make critical look and feel changes because we could get a sense for how the color pallet, a design, and lighting will effect how the jersey appears.
On Hernando’s recommendation we ordered based on our normal sizing preferences. We didn’t receive a sizing kit, so I don’t know if they offer one. Fortunately the sizing advice worked out great, and the kit fit nicely right out of the bag. As far sizing similarity goes I’m put this closest to Hincapie or Voler.
We ordered the Peloton Pro Bib and Tour Race Cut jersey. The bibs are awesome. I loved the thicker material and the compression band for the legs. They are perfect weight for NorCal. Solid, but slick and streamlined. These are not “summer shorts” you will not have to worry about when it rains or gets cooler on your way to the coast. Unlike some bibs we’ve tried in the past, the compression band worked. This was a relief, because the gummy stuff that comes on similarly priced bibs drives me insane.
The chamois was quality stuff, and did not cause any fit issues in my neither regions. Some shorts, like Verge, never felt right and the best thing I can say about the Jakroo chamois cut is that I never noticed it. Chamois is a no news, is good news feature for me.
I like the material for the jersey but I found the race cut left too much took in my chest for my liking. The good news is I have smaller man boobs than I thought. The bad news the race cut jersey felt baggy, and I could see folds every time I glanced down. My next order I’m going to upgrade to the pro cut/slim cut, which fits tighter, and should form to my Dolph Lundgren like chest perfectly.
There are two features I relayed liked on the jersey. First off the sleeves are really blingy. They use cool material that really pops out any color you use, and the fit was great for guy sized arms. Also, the sleeves did not have the rubber like cinch that comes on many team kits, so I didn’t have to spend an hour ripping out the seems. T
The second small item I noticed was on the back there is a little zipper/storage area for an ID card and some cash. It’s a small detail but a cool add on, that made me feel like I got a free moon roof on a new car purchase. It was like a Rapha jersey for half the price.
Our verdict? Jakroo is a keeper. We feel we can tweak the design some more, but the fit and feel of the Jakroo items are solid and are good for male riders. The Jakroo sizing is a more reasonable for normally sized riders, like my posse, which veers towards the bigger end of the cycling spectrum.
Flandria will weigh in with her review of the women’s fit, and a public order for NorCal Cycling News kit will be available soon.
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