There’s nothing wrong with basic black cycling apparel. I have plenty of black kit from jerseys and bibs to jacket and vest. Black is no-nonsense, hardcore and bad-ass.
Except once in a while you want to kill the monotony. That put me on the hunt for a stylish Fall/Autumn long sleeve jersey with character. A little style, a bit of cool and flash. A jersey that, naturally, would look awesome with black shorts.
That said, it’s hard to escape black. This despite the fact that as the dark days move in, black is not exactly hi-viz. Now sure, you can find a good number of Fall jerseys in a range of solid colors but discovering a more distinctive design takes some intensive google.
Fortunately, they do exist. I’ve discovered a few delicious things from Cafe du Cycliste, Velocio, Rapha, Pedla and Voler. Give these a look and see if you’re ready to style it up for Autumn.
First up, Cafe du Cycliste, based in Nice, France. I’ve always liked the personality of their apparel. Tres distinctive, very French. Over the years, they’ve had a number of pieces that are like nothing else on the cycling planet.
My call would be the Clemence Autumn jersey ($204). Mid-weight, big on breathable and perfect for Fall and Winter. What’s truly unique is the multi-colored wool shoulder panels that build in extra warmth. I suspect people will either love it or not — but that also gives the jersey a slightly retro, classic look. Comes in burgundy, yellow, and yes, black, but with the riot of colors on the shoulders.
Rapha has plenty of high-end gear that celebrates a passion for all things two-wheeled. If black is verboten, consider the Brevet Windblock jersey ($126 on sale). They describe it as half merino jersey, half wind-protecting vest. Sounds like Fall, right? It comes in four colors but for dialing up the chroma, we like the dark purple — it really pops.
Velocio is another cycling apparel that puts an emphasis on style. As in fabrics from the Lombardy region of Italy. However, this jersey is inspired by French cycling hotbed, Brittany — the Breton SE long sleeve ($179). I like the bold color blocks and white stripes over a deep blue background. Slice of classic and modern. It’s light-weight thermal thanks to an Italian milled dual knit fabric. Layer with a vest, slip on arm warmers and you’ve got the colder temps under control.
Ahh, Fall in Melbourne, Australia. Pedla puts an Aussie spin on a cool weather jersey that looks aero and warm. The LunaHex ($265) is part of their Winterproof collection. There are several colors but I’d ride with the bold plum color, eye-popping graphics and a cool pattern down the sleeves. The story here is about a stretch fabric with enough warmth to keep you moving fast. Love this jersey but I’m thrown by the aero meets Winterproof designation but at this high price, maybe they’ve pulled off both. Color me curious.
Our last entry in the search for a not-black, stylish jersey for Fall comes from Voler. Their Black Label Citron Super Thermal Jersey ($139) is the answer to a fast-dropping thermometer. The greens and yellows say Fall and the fleece lining, and water and wind resistant DWR coating keep your core nice and cozy. The blue hues version is also a nice option and the price is wallet-friendly.
Bonus pick: an impossible to miss, color extravaganza from the nutballs at Cycology. The 8 Days Men’s Long Sleeve jersey ($99) is a drug trip of hues and graphics matched with a thicker stretch fabric and brushed fleece lining. It’s kwazy, it turns heads, it scares motorists. It’s about as far from basic black as you could possibly ride. Go forth, ride colorful.