For the past few weeks here in NYC it's been Jakarta hot out. We've found ourselves breaking into a sweat like Mel Gibson in "The Year of Living Dangerously" just thinking about riding our bikes.
In such conditions, we put a premium on any piece of kit that is super light and super breathable. Fortunately, this year we expanded our kit order to include the Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey (Superleggera = Italian for “super light”). Being put into such heavy rotation recently by many of the guys on the team recently, the timing is right to share our impressions.
We’ve been putting the Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey through its paces on 60-80 mile training rides on the weekends. These rides typically are of 3-4.5 hours in duration in hot and sunny conditions, with temperatures cracking 90 degrees. There have been times when our Garmins gave road temperature readings in excess of 100 degrees. As a point of clarification, the jersey is, in principle, fine for racing as well. However, the extensive use of mesh fabric used in the Superleggera’s construction isn’t ideal for pinning on race numbers and we’d be concerned about this resulting in tears in the jersey. That said, any racers that have access to race dot magnets would be able to put them to good use with this jersey to secure their numbers without needing to worry about damaging the mesh fabric.
True to its name, the Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey is made up of a combination of LG’s light Kite Mesh and CB Mondo fabrics. Almost the entire area of the jersey – all but the upper chest and back panels – is made up of the mesh fabric for optimal moisture management and to keep a rider as dry as possible. A construction feature that we’re especially fond of is the use of the more open, mesh fabric on all the rear pocket areas – typically an area that can heat up quickly if your pockets are loaded with a tube, tire-iron, mini-pump, and food.
Also, the outside pockets on either side are angled, which we find provides for easier access to whatever you happen to be reaching for. One final pocket feature that we found particularly useful: there's a partition in the back-middle pocket, which can serve as a cell phone-specific pocket so that water/sweat does not wick into the phone.
As for the CB Mondo fabric that is used in the upper chest and back panels, this is a four-way stretch micro-filament known for its softness and comfort. The jersey construction also includes pre-shaped shoulders. This is a feature that we’ve experienced on other LG jerseys, and overall it’s something that we find enhances comfort, especially when riding down in the drops. Lastly, the jersey’s full-length zip enables more ventilation if needed (but in all honesty the all the mesh in the construction doesn’t make unzipping a necessity; this is more an issue for those who want to rock the Ibon Mayo look). Overall, the Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey is truly superlight (at less than 100g), highly breathable given the preponderance of mesh used in its construction, and wears like a form-fitting, second skin.
With the abundance of mesh construction, the question naturally arises as to whether the jersey is rated for sun protection, or whether it’s important to apply sun screen, especially on your upper body, shoulders and upper arms. On this front, the use of the CB Mondo fabric on the upper back helps. Also, the jersey is treated with a protector and carries an SPF 50 rating. Remember those pictures of a sunburned Chris Froome from two years ago? We didn’t suffer a similar fate with the Garneau Course Superleggera Jersey.
How has the Superleggera performed? In our view, performance and comfort are about as good as it gets.We’ve gone through upwards of 8 bottles on these long training rides, sweating out most of that. The wicking properties of the materials are very impressive with the mesh in all the right places. You can actually feel the heat emanating from your body as you’re riding at times. The Superleggera is a form-fitting jersey with strong aerodynamic properties. However, one of our riders did experience some bunching of fabric in the upper back area that he felt compromised fit quality. Despite the preponderance of mesh material, we feel the jersey is very robust. Care should be taken to avoid snagging it on anything or pinning on race numbers.