This is going to be broken into two parts. Today you get the initial impressions and a look at the goods, tomorrow I’ll tell you all about how they perform on the bike. So without further ado…
There is no article of cycling clothing as important as the one that sits between you and your saddle. A lousy set of bibs can turn a good ride into a bad one. A good set of bibs should simply let you get on with the job at hand, which should be enjoying the ride. Likewise, a jersey needs to perform the same task, but whereas it won’t steal as much enjoyment from your ride if it’s not perfect, it nevertheless needs to be comfortable and deal with larger amounts of heat and sweat, while storing things that bibs don’t.
I was recently provided a set of Cinettica’s newest kit to try out. If you don’t know the brand, Cinettica is the rich uncle of Australia’s much-loved and value conscious Netti family. The Lexus to your Toyota, if you will. They took a bit of a sabbatical over the last couple of years, but they’re back with a pretty solid lineup of gear that will happily munch up the kilometers. One of the points that they want to get across to you is that, where some higher end brands are made in Italy but source their materials from Asia, Cinettica sources their materials from Italy and puts them together in Asia. Seems pretty logical that better materials are more important than where they are stitched together if you want a top set of kit (providing that they stay stitched together). So? First impressions?
Take them out of their bag and what you will immediately expect is that these should be comfortable. The materials used are soft and light weight, with different types used in different areas. The straps are a finer mesh from the waist up and the material connecting them in the back is a lighter mesh to address the sweaty back and keep you cooler. The straps, from half-way up the front to where they join in the back, are a stretchier material stitched into the rest of the bib to avoid any unnecessary pulling on the shoulders of even taller people, and the fibres are also impregnated with a grippy substance so that they stay in place.
The legs have seams that keep clear of the saddle, so no chaffing there. At the end of the legs you’ll find a nice, wide cuff with the same grippy material found within the straps. It’s not sticky, just a little grippy.
The Cytech Endurance 2 chamois uses a fine stitch with no rough edges and thins out considerably towards the edge, so chaffing shouldn’t be a problem there either. It’s cut to mirror the shape of a saddle with a cut-out, having a thinner section of padding running down the middle to relieve pressure. It stretches in all directions, and is also perforated to aid with air-flow and breathability.
Much of the same can be said for the jersey. It’s quite a light material all over, but some spots are still lighter than others. The cuffs on the sleeves, but only on the back half, are the least breathable as they use the slightly heavier elastic material to keep a tidy fit for those of us with little stick arms. The rest of the sleeves, front panels, and sides use what appears to be the same material as for the bib legs, which is to say soft and quite light. They are connected out front with a smooth zipper that goes all the way down, but not quite all the way up – Cinettica has decided to use a small v-neck for the purpose of avoiding any unnecessary contact with the neck, which, again, seems to make sense. We’ll see if it works in practice.
One large panel spans most of the back, which is the same ultra-light material connecting the bib straps in the rear. Same for the pockets. The finer mesh is used under the arms. An extra, waterproof/water-resistant pocket (it’s not seam sealed) is found through a discrete vertical zip on the side of the right pocket, which also provides a small hole for earphones to run up the inside of the jersey. Nice touch. The cuff running along the bottom of the jersey is reasonably wide and uses the same light grip that the bib straps, legs, and arms use. The three usual pockets are deep enough to not have to worry about anything falling out, and I would say seem pretty roomy. Whether this results in saggy pockets will be revealed when I get out on the bike.
In general, the material for both the bibs and jersey seem like they’ll be very comfortable for hours at a time but don’t seem like they’re going to be heavy on the compression, so I’m expecting a fitted but not tight fit. Whichever way that goes, whether you like it or not will come down to rider preference (the specific benefits of compression materials generally being a bunch of marketing hoo-haw). Cinettica is aiming this kit at a slightly more premium market for reasonable-to-long rides, so I’m expecting this to perform pretty well in the comfort category.
Aesthetics are completely subjective, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to actually criticize this kit. It’s minimal. Black bibs with a subtle and reflective “Cinettica” on the legs, a small logo stitched onto the left hip (we’ll see if this patch becomes noticeable on the ride), and a small reflective tab on the side seams. Black jersey with the middle pocket in a bright orange and the same small logo stitched onto the right pocket. That’s it. The v-neck… function over form?
Overall first impression is positive. Both bibs and jersey use a premium feeling selection of materials and look to have put them all in the right places. The stitching looks nice and tidy, and, especially the jersey, looks like a technically well designed bit of kit for what is essentially a very modest price-tag.
I have had a few long rides in this kit now, so tomorrow I’ll be going through the finer points of what you can expect while turning your pedals in Cinettica’s latest and greatest.