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Outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer GoLite has always stood by its philosophy of scrutinizing every gram of weight outdoor athletes carry around. By shedding every possible non-essential gram from clothing, equipment, packs, and other essentials, GoLite hopes to extract the utmost performance from users, encouraging them to be burdened with less weight and going farther, faster, and longer as a result. The applications for ultra-light thru-hiking and adventure racing are obvious. This form of weight weenie-ism easily carries over to the cycling world, and is apparent in their line of cycling jerseys.

The Cadence Jersey from GoLite features the proprietary C-Thru, developed as an ultra lightweight, quick-drying, next-to-skin fabric with the active outdoor athlete in mind. As an insight into the development of this remarkable fabric, marketing sources reveal that earlier experimental versions of C-Thru were deliberately spun so light in weight that after a single usage, the apparel from which they were made literally fell apart in the hands of testers. Back at the drawing board, GoLite eventually produced the current run C-Thru that is the mainstay material for much of their baselayer and cycling apparel line.

First Impressions

We got our hands on the Men’s version of the Cadence. It features a mini-collar and three rear pockets, while the Women’s version features a female-specific fit, a higher collar, and two rear pockets.

The Cadence is designed to be fitted snugly, but, having short sleeves, also allows for a more relaxed fit by deliberately upping the size. The double-stitched seams between panels were very sturdily sewn, if prominent. True to their reputation of weight scrutiny for each and every product, GoLite lists the weight of a medium-sized Cadence as 170 grams.

This jersey comes in five two-tone colour combinations: Red/white, green/blue, white/black, blue/white, and black/red.

The Cadence in Action

My primary usage for the Cadence was as a top for adventure racing. Apart from the obvious mountain biking, it had to go through a number of other disciplines that would fully test its features, as detailed below.

In use, there was no binding at common chafe-prone areas like the underarms & waistbelt, nor was there any discomfort at the seams. The material itself was soft and allowed the breeze to pass through quite freely. Initial training sessions with this jersey were very comfortable indeed, and I decided to race in it for the recent Sabah Adventure Challenge adventure race.

I took the jersey up to 9000 feet in altitude on a trail run as part of the race, with the temperature dipping to 20˚C. Where lesser materials, particularly cotton, would have been soaked in sweat, and would have felt cold and clammy – the Cadence was up to task. Fast evaporation of sweat ensured comfort, and I never felt too cold during our exertions, despite the clouds and gusting winds on certain exposed sections of trail. At the other extreme, I hardly noticed I was wearing it when riding in afternoon temperatures in excess of 35˚C – it was clearly helping me keep cool while keeping the sun off my back. Such positive moisture management properties cannot be emphasized enough: As per GoLite philosophy, quick-drying equals to less retained moisture, equals to less weight being lugged around the race course.

The generous 10-inch long chest zip was another positive feature, and did not snag even when using a single gloved hand to manipulate. The rubber zip tab was of a good size and was easily located by feel alone. It did not jangle about like a similar sized metal tab, when running particularly.

Despite its light weight, the fabric is able to handle additional high temperature heat transfer prints without melting. We added logos to our Cadence jerseys, and so far the prints seem to be holding very well.

Perhaps the most unlikely plus point of the Cadence is its inability to retain any body odour even after repeated days of usage and washings. While other blends of polyester fabrics, after several months of use, seem to turn into stink bombs the moment they get wet with sweat, C-Thru apparently does not trap the bacteria that causes such unpleasant smells.

What of shortcomings? Unfortunately, after exactly three machine washes, the heat transfer GoLite logo on the rear of the jersey was left in cracked fragments. The recommended method of cleaning would have to be washing by hand. In addition, the underarm and shoulder areas – contact areas for our backpacks during our movement – had fuzzy spots – indicating fabric wear – as well as a handful of stray threads. Clearly, long-term durability is going to be an issue with this jersey.

In normal circumstances (i.e.: Cycling both on and off-road), the rear pockets did their job. But when engaged in jumping into water from a height, swimming, or scrambling of any sort, I was left wishing for Velcro or a zip on one, two or all three of these pockets. Simply put, the elasticized pocket closures are unable to prevent first aid kit, gels, bars, or other small miscellaneous items from tumbling out and getting lost, should an awkward body position or impact force be experienced. As I habitually stuff such items into my rear pockets in order to save carrying a bigger pack, I found this aspect lacking in the men’s jersey. The women’s version does, however, have an internal zippered compartments for its two back pockets.

Conclusions for the Cadence

The ideal usage for such a jersey would be as a race day top in warm tropical conditions. The superior moisture transfer properties of C-thru ensure that the user stays cool. As a cycling jersey, it has few equals. As an adventure racing top, it will do, with either Velcro or rear zipper pocket(s) as a possible improvement to prevent stuff from accidentally falling out. It may well not last more than a couple of seasons if used regularly for training rides.