Rider – Height 185cm (6’1″), weight 69kg (152 lbs), shoe size US 11/EU 44.5. Wearing size small jersey, small bibs and large socks.
As much as I was into this kit before seeing it in real life, upon opening my mail from La Passione my excitement jumped up another level. It looks sharp straight out of the packet – the bib short colours were thick and rich and the jersey felt nice and light with a soft but thin material. Over the months I’ve been wearing this kit combo, I’ve found that I regularly have people checking it out and asking me what it is. It’s not wild or overly flashy, it doesn’t have an intense, sparkly colour combo, it’s just overtly classy. It looks slick, it looks pro, it fits flat and well and turns heads through its elegant styling.
I went for the Diagonal White Summer Jersey – with blue and red diagonal lines that makes for a very classic look, choosing to pair with the navy blue Square Bib Shorts that helped put the outfit a bit more on trend (navy is the new black and all that). I wear matching white Giro SLX shoes and a Giro Synthe helmet generally, so a natural addition would be to go with some white socks for this outfit, and I went as white as white could be with a pair of Swiftwick Aspire Sevens. If looking sleek and classic is your thing, these are an easy go to. There’s just something eternally cycling about matching white shoes and socks.
The jersey is a definite winner. It ticks a lot of boxes for what I look for in a jersey. It’s tight fitting and pretty race cut, lightweight with a detailed technical fabric, it has good grippers and feels soft and comfortable. The material is made up of three types of lightweight, high stretch Italian Fabrics. It breathes really well, due to the micro-mesh layer across most of the back and on the side panels of the jersey. This is a summer jersey at heart and thrives in the hotter to mid-warmth months, which is also reinforced by the SPF 50+ protection fabric.
The fabric has good stretch to it, and I find fits really nicely, with little to no loose or bunchy bits. The silicone grippers on the arms, stomach and back help hold everything in place – they’re not too tight gripping, but grippy enough. Another feature is the 3/4 zipper, which has it’s pros and cons. For a lightweight summer jersey, it’s not always ideal. If you’re out on a 30ºC day climbing big hills you might find yourself turning to something else (like the La Passione full-length zipper option), because you lose the ability to completely unzip the jersey and cool down. This could be a personal hang up, but after just doing a big stint in sweltering heat in the Adelaide Hills around the Tour Down Under, I found myself wanting that extra bit of coolant. However the big plus side to the 3/4 zipper is how it makes the rest of the kit look. With a 3/4 you start to eliminate a lot of the bunching problems that you get with a full length zipper. That, paired with the silicone gripper around the waist means that the jersey stays in place really easily and doesn’t bunch up like a trouser pant. With a combination of the slimline zipper used, this really helps the jersey look sleek and super pro. One thing I will complain about though, is the fact that it doesn’t zip well around the top of the neck – it’s hard to zip down past the neck and hard to zip back up completely – an issue I hope is addressed in later models. Overall though, the La Passione jersey has a lot about it to love.
The Navy Blue Square Bibs, although I imagine were initially intended to go with the Navy Square Jersey, match the Diagonal jersey super well. White and navy blue fit together for a really classic look. The hints of colour and colour placings on both items tie in really well together. The fabric is a really deep and dark true navy on died lycra – so no white or lightening of colour when stretched, a feature I highly recommend when producing kit.
The leg length is nice and long (very pro looking, although when combined with the high waisted cut can make quick toilet breaks a little more challenging than usual) and they sit in place, due to the large silicon gripper and ‘Zaffiro’ material; a technical 44 Super Light Power Lycra which has great compression and ‘shape retention’. It’s a pretty tight fit, but nothing unwelcome.
The bib straps are really well thought out – they’re divided into two parts, a smooth lycra like that used on the front of the jersey and a ventilated lycra that’s used throughout the rest of the strap. The way it’s divided is so the smooth material is on the top part of the strap and therefor over your pointy bits. I regularly say how much I like bib strap detail, and this is a great idea for comfort.
The chamois is pretty firm and not overly complex (they use a Cytech/Elastics Interface Pad) – which I actually really like. Often something too plush and spongy is really not needed unless you’re doing 6hr+ in the saddle – if the foam is too thick it just sponges up sweat and you walk around in a wet nappy (nice mental image, I know). The firm feeling of this (still soft, but firm for memory foam anyway) is a nice change, and without too many separate cuts of foam, it just covers everything smoothly and efficiently and feels comfortable.
The socks from Swiftwick are a perfect combo for this kit. Although La Passione do their own socks (coming soon at this stage), I found it hard to look past the way a high cut bit of white #sockdoping looked with this kit. And as I said above, white socks and white shoes are a timeless combo (albeit inconvenient to keep clean).
I’m gonna say straight up – I’m so into these socks that they have become the benchmark to which I base the performance of all other socks. I know that’s a big call, but they have everything going for them. They’re a good length, nice and high. They stay up and in position and hardly move throughout a long ride due to a tight knit, 200 needle count. They breathe and wick away sweat well. Their sole fits snugly and doesn’t bunch up and create hot spots, with support of all three arches of the foot.
Really the only thing this sock doesn’t have is a custom division with fun patterns and designs. Luckily they come in a bunch of colours (now available in the ‘Sevens’ model too) – but still they are blank colours. Apparently they used to have a custom division, so we can only hope they bring that back (*hint hint nudge nudge*.
All in all I’ve been super happy with this kit and sock combo. On top of everything being really good quality, it’s also not gonna break the bank which is obviously a bonus. It’s been one of my go-to outfits throughout the summer and it’s going to be sad to have to stash it away through winter. However I guess there’s an excuse to try out the winter range…
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