Wool cycling apparel is technical gear in disguise. Case in point, the Ibex Giro FS Long Sleeve jersey ($155). It’s not built on petrochemically-based fabrics but instead relies on high-end merino wool.
You’d have be deaf, dumb and blind to be unaware that merino wool is getting plenty of buzz these days. Everybody from Rapha to Patagonia to Ice Breaker to Helly Hanson is creating cool outdoor apparel from the ultra-sheep.
Ibex has been in the game longer than most and the Giro FS is the proof. Merino wool is well known for it’s excellent cooling and warming capabilities and Ibex has really delivered the goods.
What we first noticed about the Giro is that while it looks lightweight, it keeps you warmer than you’d guess. We were warmer than expected on cool morning rides and the bonus with wool is that it layers well and has plenty of flexibility. Depending on weather, we’d add a wool base layer or vest or use Giro as base layer itself with the addition of a more robust jacket.
The Giro is a three season jersey and again, wool just has the ability to adjust when the temperatures rise. Now maybe you can find a $300 jersey from Assos with a lab test report claiming better wicking, but we’d doubt the numbers — or whether you could notice the difference. The Ibex Giro is high on adaptability and soft against the skin, too.
As far as fit, the Giro does a good job of skirting that line between athletic fit and a more casual, less hardcore racer cut. One of the best things about the Giro is that it doesn’t scream for attention. You look damn good without trying to proclaim you’re training for the Tour de France. The sleeve length was generous, there’s a rib collar and cuffs and the tail is just the right length so when the three rear pockets are loaded you’re not sagging lower.
A word about wool: you get what you pay for. This is superfine 18.5 micron New Zealand Merino grade. The weave it tight, smooth and beautiful and we can attest that after repeated washing (gentle cycle) it doesn’t lose shape or definition. The fabric feels substantial, like it plans to be around for the long haul.
In our humble opinion, the real benefit of wool cycling apparel is the versatility. The Giro FS makes a great road jersey and it switches easily to a terrific mountain bike jersey. The lack of graphics, wild colors and multiple stitched fabrics give you a timeless and classic jersey you can race in but also one you slip on for that ten minute recovery ride to the coffee shop.
There’s an honesty and authenticity to wool that recaptures a but of retro cycling history but the modern refinements in merino make it a good match with carbon fiber bikes and Shimano Di2. The Ibex Giro FS comes in black, mineral grey and bronze metal.