Monthly Archives: July 2012

Freeda Roam Honey Bee Cycling Jersey Review

Being both a designer and cyclist, I’ve always been frustrated with women’s bike jersey designs. Apparently most cycling clothing manufacturers believe that women want one of the following: swirls or flowers. Occasionally they’ll throw in a geometric pattern or two but for the most part floral and swirls dominate the female cycling jersey design scene. Oh, and lots of pink.

I’ve often thought about designing my own, but single-run custom printing can be expensive, and honestly I haven’t found the time to create my own. If I have any spare time, I prefer to be riding out on the roads or trails.

A few years ago I discovered Twin Six. T6 knows good design. I quickly became enamored with them but like with all new things, the newness wore off. Don’t get me wrong I still think they are a great company and love their clothes, but they seem to neglect the female market by offering more designs for men. Another problem I have is that all their designs look-alike with similar color palettes that are dominated by black. Black is a great color. I love black. I also love to be seen by motorists on the road and safety outweighs the “cool” factor. I’m not talking neon colors here (although I do own a few safety orange and yellow items) but some color would be nice. I always feel invisible when wearing my black and dark red T6 jersey and invisible is not a feeling you want to have when riding down a road with cars whizzing by.

It seemed that all of my cycling clothing problems were solved when I stumbled upon a new company called Freeda Roam. Wow! Designs that are truly beautiful and unique without swirls or flowers! And oh look, simple color palettes that use only 2-3 colors! Colors that stand out and that are safe without being obnoxious!

I knew that I had to order one and without a doubt the Honey Bee was my favorite design, Speedway and Freeda a close second. Lucky for me Honey Bee was the only design in-stock to ship immediately. All other designs are on a 2-week lead time as they are printed to order.

The checkout process was quick and easy, and within a few days my jersey arrived.

Freeda Roam Honey Bee Women's Cycling Jersey Front

Front View – Fitted but not overly tight.

Freeda Roam Honey Bee Women's Cycling Jersey Sleeve

Sleeve View – The stretchy material allows for a perfect fit in the arms without cutting off circulation or feeling restrictive.

Freeda Roam Honey Bee Women's Cycling Jersey Back

Back View – Simple design with the traditional 3-pockets.

I had ordered a size small, which is the same size that I wear in Twin Six and Pactimo, so I feel it is true to size. My initial excitement over aesthetics quickly were replaced my some quality concerns. I am use to a slightly better quality jersey, and the sewing and finishing were a bit of a disappointment.

To demonstrate this, I have compared it to my all-time favorite jersey from the Dairyland Dare which is made by Pactimo.

Freeda Roam on the left, Pactimo on the right.

Freeda Roam VS Pactimo Quality Comparison Collars

The collar of the Freeda Roam jersey was a bit scratchy as the seams are exposed which could rub and irritate skin.

Freeda Roam VS Pactimo Quality Comparison Pocket Stitching

This is an inside view of both jerseys to showing the sewing on the back pockets. As you can see, the Freeda Roam only has a single stitch, while Pactimo goes with a more durable double stitching. The tops are also enforced and over-stitched, making it more durable. The single stitch could be a problem over time with taking gels and phones and route maps in and out of the back pockets countless times.

Freeda Roam VS Pactimo Quality Comparison Waist Band

Here we have the bottom hem. Freeda Roam states on their website that they do not use elastic. From their FAQ page:

Some ladies like it, some don’t. Our jerseys do not have elastic in the arms or waist. Our pattern is designed to keep the jersey in place without the uncomfortable constraints of elastic. However there is elastic in the back pockets hem to help keep your essentials in place.

I knew that before purchasing it but I have to say that I am a lady who does like elastic. Having wider hips, I find the elastic holds my jersey in place and I don’t find it uncomfortable or constraining.

After trying on the jersey the scratchy neck was certainly bothering me and I immediately thought about returning it. I even contacted the company asking about their return policy (they were very polite and the return process was easy, by the way). Then I decided that I really loved the design and the price wasn’t too bad (cycling jerseys are notorious for costing a fortune) and it wouldn’t be worth it to ship it back. I figured that I could just use it on short rides.

I ended up wearing it on 2 rides this week – a 36 miler and a 50 miler. After riding almost 100 miles in it, I have to say I am glad that I didn’t send it back. The collar ended up being fine after a few miles (to the point where I forgot about it) and the jersey stayed down despite the elastic.

I do admit that I still have some concerns about it holding up over time, but hope to get enough miles out of it before needing to put it under my own sewing machine. It’s only been washed it once so time will tell how it holds up to laundering. (Always wash in cold water and line-dry to ensure garment longevity.)

I’ve gotten a few compliments on the Honey Bee jersey so far and I like that it is unique. As far as I know I’m the only girl in the county with this jersey. From a design standpoint it is spot on – they created a bee theme design without going overboard. My husband even said, “They could have gone with the obvious and added a honeycomb pattern, but they didn’t”. I salute the Freeda Roam designers for that. Simple, clean design with a nice 2-color palette. Cheerful and feminine without being pink or flowery. Bright and visible without being neon. Chic without being all black.

Overall I would recommend this jersey to other women cyclists who are tired of the design options out there and are looking for unique cycling clothing. While not as comfortable as other jerseys I’ve owned, it was comfortable enough for me to pedal out a 50 mile ride in with no major complaints.

Looking forward to their new fall 2012 designs. With the 2-week lead time on most designs, I hope they come out with their fall designs soon before it gets too cold.

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Removing Spoke Reflectors

I’ve been meaning to remove my spoke reflectors but haven’t gotten around to it. The topic of spoke/wheel reflectors came up today while on a 30 mile group ride and I learned that a friend just removed hers. I can’t look like the only rookie of the group! 😉 Time to remove these ugly “useless” things.

Stock Spoke Reflectors

Of course safety is of extreme importance to me, so I wasn’t going to remove them without installing a new safety feature. Enter Lightweights. Step 1: Remove the heavy, old wheel reflectors with a screwdriver.

Step 1 Remove Spoke Reflectors

I used a coin for my front wheel and it came off easily. The back wheel was a little tight and needed a screwdriver.

Removing Spoke Reflectors

They are a simple two-piece construction and were easy to remove.

Spoke Reflectors Removed

Now that I had my dorky spoke reflectors off, it was time to install my super lightweight, super cool reflector tape. For each reflector that I removed, I dropped 16 grams. Adding the wheel reflector tape only added 2 grams. That is a total savings of 28 grams! I’m not too concerned with the weight of my bike. Let’s be serious, losing the reflectors is not going to make me ride any faster, but it is nice to have a sleek bike.

Installing Spoke Tape

Let me be clear, it is not just about appearance, these pre-cut Lightweights for Wheels Power Reflectors are 400% more reflective than plain wheel reflectors! It really seems like a no-brainer – your bike looks better and is safer.

I first cleaned the spoked with Simple Green. Then I used the application guide ruler in the instruction booklet to perfectly position each pre-cut reflective rectangle. With a little rubbing and burnishing with your fingernail, you can wrap each spoke super tight. There is a white paper backing that is removed and while a straight-forward process, it is a bit time-consuming. Sitting outside enjoying the summer weather and listening to Pandora makes the process more enjoyable.

Wrapping Spoke Tape

My wheels have 36 spokes. My wheel is tilted in this picture, but they are indeed all lined up perfectly.

Finished Spokes

I didn’t want to wait until night to take a photo so this was taking during the day with a flashlight shining on it. My basic point and shoot lacks a slow shutter speed so I couldn’t capture the perfect spinning effect the way I wanted, but in person it appears as a continuous circle of light and is very noticeable even during the day. This reflective spoke tape, along with a good front and rear light, is far more effective than the stock plastic spoke reflectors. Don’t forget to add some reflective tape to your helmet or clothing!

My bike is lighter, brighter, safer and looks better. Why did I wait so long to remove them?

Here are some common reasons why people remove the stock wheel reflectors that come on their bikes.

  • They are “heavy”.
  • They make your bike look slower.
  • They can loosen up and slide around making noise.
  • They can make your wheels wobble.
  • They can fall off and litter the road.
  • Most people ride during the day, and if you are riding at night you should have lights anyway!

Do you have anything to add to this list?

Can’t wait to go on a night ride and try out my new 400% more reflective spokes. 🙂



Categories: Cycling | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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