When looking for a new cycling kit you don’t come across the Odlo brand that often, although they do have an interesting and extended line up of bicycle clothing. The moment I could get my hands on a jersey and bib shorts from the new Vlaanderen series I jumped right in.
All weather cycling kit
The Vlaanderen series is a special one. At first sight it might look like a regular short sleeve jersey and bib short. It’s not. The Vlaanderen kit is for the ‘in between’ seasons. When it’s too hot for a full thermal winter kit and too cold for your lightweight breathable summer gear. And believe me, those seasons can last forever over here in the Netherlands. Although it’s a matter of personal preference of course, Odlo mentions temperatures between 6 and 16 degrees Celsius. Sounds about right, let’s go!
All weather bibshorts
Most bibshorts will do just fine for shorter distances. We need one for long days in the saddle. The first time I tried out the Vlaanderen bib was on a ride of 100 kilometers – not an ultradistance or anything, but long enough to tell something about the comfort. Starting with the ‘Endurance 2’ chamois. It’s thick enough where it’s supposed to be and supports my sit bones enough. Also it didn’t cause any friction or chafing.
In my opinion the top part of bib shorts is the second most important part for a comfortable ride. The Vlaanderen’s black fabric is surprisingly elastic, so once in biking position the suspenders do not pull into your shoulders. And although it’s stretchy, the bib shorts didn’t sag away from the body. The fit is perfect and the difference in comfort between poorer bibs is huge.
It didn’t take long before it started to rain. I was wearing legwarmers underneath and noticed halfway that the leg hems had not moved at all. The blue bands are almost entirely covered with minuscule rubberlike dots to prevent the hems from moving – even with leg warmers on.
I also noticed that the water-repellant fabric did its job according to the rain drops on my upper legs. After some more rain I got wet after all, but far more important, the rain didn’t cool me down, not even in the crotch area. The ride’s average temperature was 7 degrees. The thermal fabric does its job.
Thermal shorts – isn’t that strange?
Like most cyclist do, I prefer bib shorts over a full length bib tight. But when summer comes to an end, there is a time you have to switch. Long days in the saddle mean a lot of different temperatures and weather conditions. Regular bib shorts become too cold for the freezing mornings and evenings. You can use leg warmers but they do not cover your hips. With the Vlaanderen thermal bib shorts that is much less of a problem. When the sun finally comes out and the temperature starts to rise you take off your legwarmers and voilà, it feels like summer all over again.
Left: The stand-up collar keeps your neck warm. Right: The full zip is covered.
The matching jersey uses windstopper technology (Gore) to keep your upper body warm in faul weather. It’s water-repellant too so you don’t have to take out your rain jacket every now and then when it starts drizzling on and off again. It also protects you from spray coming from the wet surface. The jersey has a full zip in front. I like that. In particular because this Vlaanderen holds somewhere between a regular jersey and a jacket. The zipper is covered to prevent cold wind from blowing through. On top there is the comfortable collar to keep your neck warm and prevent stiffness.
The back of the jersey is elongated, such as in a jacket, and stretches out almost to the saddle when on the bike – your ass is covered. Odlo offers matching armwarmers that fit nicely in either one of the three back pockets. Because it gets dark at some point the bib shorts as well as the jersey have reflective elements for your safety.
Left: The stetchy sleeve hems are covered with minuscule dots on the inside to keep the sleeves in place. Right: Three standard back pockets and reflective elements for your safety.
The Odlo Vlaanderen series are perfect for the long periods between cold winters and warm summers. It’s a flexible and comfortable kit for cyclists that want to go out and ride no matter what the weather is going to be like. Add a couple of arm and leg warmers and you are good to go for long days in the saddle. Recommended.
Odlo Vlaanderen jersey € 149,95
Odlo Vlaanderen bib shorts € 129,95