Lab-Gear got their start in 2001 with the idea to locally create cycling apparel for mountain bikers (and roadies) that was different than what was available. Since then the Sydney, Australia company has grown and offers clothing for both on and off the bike. Lab-Gear set us up to create and review the “semi-custom” Merino J jersey.
Here I go again throwing out some apparel jargon, “semi-custom”. What is meant by “semi-custom” is that you pick the fabric and thread color, as well, the measurements of the jersey. Lab-Gear makes owning a one-of-a-kind jersey easy and straightforward and with a few clicks of the mouse, you’re done. You have ten fabric colors to choose from, you can have short or long sleeve, quarter or full length zipper and for safety, reflective strips. You can see from the screen shot (as of 4/17/12) each jersey panel (orange color) can be made as you see fit.
The Merino J not only is handmade, it is made out of, wait for it, 100% Australian superfine Merino wool. If you’ve never owned Merino wool clothing you must change this dilemma as soon as you can. Why you ask? Merino wool has specific natural attributes that make it perfect for cycling. Not only is it soft, it regulates body temperature, wicks moisture from your body and unlike cotton, maintains warmth when wet. Merino wool, as most wool does, contains Lanolin, which has anti-bacterial properties.
Above is the photo sent with my order confirmation showing the panels for my jersey about to be cut.
As I unwrapped the jersey from its package, I couldn’t wait to see what I had created and how it fit. Being a tall, skinny guy, fit is always something I end up sacrificing either in arm length or trunk width in jersey’s. So being a “semi-custom” jersey I had this going for me and the fit was great. I opted to go with the full length zipper, which led to my only qualm is that the full length is slightly more robust and so bunching occurred in the stomach area, as if I was hiding something while in the crouched position. Beyond that minor item, the jersey kept me warm and dry through rain storms and cold rides. Even on warm ride, when sweating, the Merino worked its magic and kept me from feeling sweaty and gross. The Merino J held up well on continuous laundering, which is washing on delicate cold setting and line drying. Color has stayed true to the original over the three month review. For owning a one-of-a-kind, designed by you, handmade for you jersey for $115 (US Dollar) you really can’t beat it. As well, shipping costs from Australia to the US is not that bad paired with a quick turn around time, you are set.