Review: Road Holland Jersey
Let’s just get it out there – most bike kit and jerseys are plain awful. They either scream LOOK I’M A RACER or fall on the same hackneyed design cliches (i.e. flames and skulls on men’s jerseys and flowers on women’s). Thankfully, within the last few years there have been many options for more subdued biking clothing. We have always been intrigued with Road Holland‘s classy and austere jerseys but never were able to see them in person. They offered us an opportunity to try out some of their gear and hopped on it! Road Holland sent us two jerseys to write about. I got the midnight blue version of the Utrecht a quarter zip short sleeve jersey and Laura received the Breukelen, a full zip long sleeve jersey.
Out of the package, the jerseys are really luxurious. The hand is fairly soft, the stitching and construction are top notch. This is quality stuff. The material is a 39/61 merino and poly blend. Up to now, all our wool stuff has been 100 wool so this is a little bit of a departure for us. What is nice about the poly is that adds a nice stretch and form to the jersey. Having owned several 100% wool jerseys, the looser knit jerseys have a tendency to develop sag over time (especially if you put things in the pockets) losing their form.
The men’s Utrecht in Midnight Blue is a really great garment. In perfect honestly, I picked a dark color because I knew a light colored jersey would not fare so well on multiple days on the road. It has a band of orange and white across the chest, an asymmetrical bit of orange on the zipper (with a little piece of the fabric acting as a catch for the zipper), a nice understated logo on the breast, 3 pockets (1 zippered pocket) in the back, a pass through hole for ear buds and some grippy elastic at the waist.
Laura’s Breukelen is a warm grey with a slight sheen. Instead of a band across the chest, there are bands across the bicep. It also has some orange at the zipper around the neck with a zipper catch and the logo in a slightly smaller placement. A great touch is a repeating tulip pattern at the neck. It’s one of those design elements that aren’t obvious but when you notice them, it’s obvious that there was a lot of thought into the garment.
Another plus ,is that although the men’s and women’s jerseys have a similar visual language, they are not all matchy-matchy.
Not Just a Pretty Face
We received the jerseys the day before we were going to ride 84 miles fully loaded from Portland to Corvallis to THEN do some Cycle Oreon Weekend rides and THEN ride back the same 84 miles back to Portland. Needless to say, we were going to do some real riding in them.
I pretty much wore mine every time I was on the bike for four days straight. The temperatures for the weekend ranged from the 50s to the 80s. I combined the Utrecht with some Pearl Izumi sun sleeves to protect my arms from the sun and keep them cool (they really work!). The more form fit of the jersey helped wick moisture and the wool kept me from ever feeling clammy. The zipper helped with venting and I didn’t ever feel overly hot. A lighter colored full zip jersey would probably work better for hot days.
Laura wore hers mostly during the cooler mornings and into the early afternoon with a wool tank as base layer. For her, the ideal temperature range for the Breukelen would be the 50s to 70s. During the evenings, she used it as a light sweater – perfect for the cool summer nights. One thing she really appreciates about the design is how she can wear her jersey everyday and it blends well with her non-cycling clothes. It doesn’t scream – I’M RIDING MY BIKE TODAY.
After those 4 days of continuous riding, they’ve become our favorite riding jerseys. They are functional but also look great. They also seem to do a pretty good job at fighting odors so far. My only concern is how they will hold up to long term use and constant washing. We were absolutely brutal to our clothes and gear during our 15 month US tour. These might not be appropriate jerseys for something like that, but for long training or weekend rides, event rides or short multi-day tours these would be perfect!
HIGHLY RECOMMEND ++
-Great material and fit
-Excellent design and details
-Can be worn on and off the bike
-Made in the USA!
-A little spendy but on par with other wool jerseys
-Unsure of long term hard use durability
Russ July 24, 2012 at 9:26 am
Thanks. Camera is the Olympus EP3.
Grant July 24, 2012 at 10:15 am
Thanks for writing this review. If you all get the chance, I’d love to see a follow-up review down the road, especially regarding durability and smell. I generally stick to wool and cotton because for me, synthetic blends start to stink horribly after a couple of months. However, I’ve never found cotton and wool to be as durable as synthetic. It’d be great if a tough jersey didn’t have a “stink memory” quickly recalled by a bit of body heat.
Russ July 24, 2012 at 10:21 am
Grant. Will do. That is something we are interested in as well, since up to this point we’ve only used 100% wool gear.
Kevin July 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm
I bought a Road Holland jersey a little over a year ago and it’s great. I went with the brighter orange color since I commute and do a lot of city biking and wanted to be as visible as possible. And I bought it for the very reasons you brought up: it doesn’t scream, “I’m cycling” (even though it functions as you’d want a jersey to function). It’s gone through multiple washings and is still holding up fine. Money well spent.
Jonathan Schneider July 25, 2012 at 6:57 am
Russ – thanks for a great review! Durability is one of the strong points of the fabric. I’m super anal about all of my clothes – not just my riding ones – and hate when things start to look old before their time. That is one of the things that attracted me to this fabric. It wears like iron.
The reason is the inclusion of the poly. The fabric is plated – on the inner side is the wool and on the outer is the poly. Therefore, you don’t get that “pilly” look that wool so often gets with time. The poly helps retain the garment’s shape and beautiful luster. (I know it sounds strange to speak of riding gear that way but luster is about the best word I can use!).
I have jerseys I’ve washed more than a hundred times and they still look great.
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great review and great pics. May i know what kind of camera that you use?