Review: Velocio Utility Bib Shorts and Ice Dye jersey – art meets aero
The American-based brand has released another stunning design created in collaboration with Vermont artist, Caroline Damon
Since launching with a women’s kit collection in 2014, Vermont-based brand Velocio has gone from strength to strength. Its unique approach to clothing design – each piece is made from authentic patterns and heavily tested by athletes before it makes its way onto the shelves – and its commitment to sustainability and creating community has long set it apart from its competitors
Velocio’s transparency about its manufacturing processes and acceptance of the responsibility that comes with creating high performance cycling clothing has made it a popular choice among consumers too – knowing where the clothing you’re wearing has come from can make purchases a little more guilt-free. A glance around cycling hotbeds like Girona and you’ll likely see the Velocio logo scattered across brightly coloured jerseys and bib shorts as riders zoom over warm Spanish roads.
In fact, riders wearing Velocio usually always stand out from the crowd, the brand is constantly releasing new patterns and colourways, from delicate neutral numbers to stunning, eye-catching shades. Its Special Edition Ice Dye jersey is no exception, and might be the best yet from Velocio. Designed by Vermont textile artist Caroline Damon, who hand dyed a base fabric to create one-of-a-kind patterns which were then photographed and printed onto Velocio’s Signature SE jersey, it’s like nothing we’ve seen before on a cycling kit.
Paired with the brand’s newly-released Utility Bib Shorts, which feature pockets on the sides and rear for extra storage, the striking Ice Dye jersey serves as a great option for all-day adventures in the summer months. It’s undeniably a stylish outfit, but does it perform well technically, too? We tested it to find out.
Ice Dye SE Jersey
Velocio is so assured of the quality of its kit that it offers a “signature guarantee.” This means that products can be tried for 30 days and returned after that time period if a rider is not fully satisfied with the garment. Not only does this give peace of mind to the buyer, it also incentivises the company itself to ensure that every single garment lives up to the highest standards. This was evident to us when wearing the Ice Dye SE jersey.Made from a high gauge Italian knit fabric, the material feels sturdy and the seams appear durable and hardwearing. It’s impressive that Velocio has managed to achieve this while maintaining a jersey which has a breathable, lightweight feel. Even when riding in the hottest conditions, the material was high-wicking and didn’t soak up moisture. The material also features UPF30 sun protection, another asset in the summer months to protect skin from harmful UV rays.
The Ice Dye jersey has the same compressive fit that’s seen across the majority of the brand’s garments. Velocio argues that this reduces fatigue and chafing, as well as providing support. I found the jersey to be exceptionally comfortable, it didn’t flap in the wind and was fitted without being suffocating and still provided the desired amount of flexibility. The hem on the rear of the jersey and on the arms ensured that it stayed in place throughout the ride, even when used on an off-road ride which involved a lot more movement in the saddle. I wore a size medium and I found the jersey to be perfectly cut for a women’s specific shape, it was flattering while also being comfortable. Velocio also boasts a broad extended size range from XXS to XXXL.
The flagship feature of the Ice Dye jersey is the bold and unique colour. The 'ice dye' pattern has been created by pounding ice on top of fabric, sprinkling a selection of powdered dye on the ice and letting the ice melt, resulting in a one-off pattern that’s then photographed and printed onto jerseys. But despite this being the selling point of the garment, it doesn’t mean that Velocio has allowed any attention to detail slip elsewhere.
The jersey features a double YKK zipper, reflective logos and trim for added visibility in low light as well as an anti-sag pocket construction and security flap on the top edge to protect valuables. At £149, the jersey isn’t cheap, but the quality and manufacturing processes go a long way to justify this cost. The unique pattern and story behind the colours also makes this jersey stand out from the rest.
Utility Bib Shorts
In recent years, more and more kit manufacturers have begun to place importance on women’s specific features on cycling kit. Velocio has been at the vanguard of this trend with its ‘fly-free’ feature, likely the most advanced and simple solution for nature breaks for female riders on the market today. Thanks to the extremely elasticated fabric and a clever construction, the ‘fly-free’ means that riders can simply pull the shorts down without removing any outer layers, or having to fiddle with straps or clips to reattach the bibs to the rest of the shorts.
The ‘fly-free’ bibs are seen on the Utility bib shorts, as they are across Velocio’s entire range of bib tights and shorts, but it’s not the only handy feature on this garment. Perfect for long-distance adventures and gravel riding, the Utility bib shorts have pockets on each leg and on the rear of the shorts too. Not only does this add extra storage solutions, it also gives the option to ride with a t-shirt or casual jumper without needing to sacrifice the practicality of pockets.
Velocio has managed to achieve this without adding extra bulk to the shorts, using laser cut material to create the pockets. The Utility bib shorts are made from new ultralight, woven, recycled fabrics which I found to be breathable as well as compressive. Microfibre leg grippers and bib uppers also ensure that the bib shorts stay firmly in place throughout the ride, especially important when riding on rough terrain. Reflective detailing also makes the Utility Bib Shorts a good choice for endurance rides when the light begins to fade.
The chamois was supportive without being bulky, and I used the shorts for rides edging over five hours without feeling any discomfort. In hot conditions, the Utility bibs were breathable and ensured I stayed fresh throughout the ride – especially important on long haul rides. I found them to be a little longer in length than Velocio’s Concept bib shorts which was useful to ensure that there was enough space for supplies in the pockets on either side of the bib shorts.
The Utility Bib Shorts retail at £235 which is a hefty investment, but it’s worth considering the amount of potential use that these bib shorts could get. They can be worn casually with a t-shirt, on long haul off-road rides and for all-day adventures on the tarmac, too. The comfort and premium feel of these bib shorts, combined with the added storage space means that they sit at the forefront of cargo bib short offerings on the market today, clearly tried and tested by riders who spend hours in the saddle.