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.
Front View – Fitted but not overly tight.
Sleeve View – The stretchy material allows for a perfect fit in the arms without cutting off circulation or feeling restrictive.
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.
Freeda Roam on the left, Pactimo on the right.
The collar of the Freeda Roam jersey was a bit scratchy as the seams are exposed which could rub and irritate skin.
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.
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.