Ohio-Sport Pro Jersey and Streamlined Shorts

CHARLES LEE | 8th June 2016 | PRODUCT REVIEW

When Ohio-Sport came knocking on the door of Togoparts to introduce its line of cycling jerseys, I must admit that I did not even bat an eyelid.  As a matter of record, I am not a connoisseur of cycling apparel.  If you ever get a chance to peep into my wardrobe, you will see that my arsenal of biking wear consists of no more than five pieces of Fox Racing tees and a seven-year-old Team Volvo-Cannondale jersey which was purchased from eBay.

The reason for my nonchalance was intuitively easy to grasp:  There are already countless types and designs of jerseys on the market.  With every apparel manufacturer telling the same story – breathable material with quick-cooling technology and contoured fit with reflective details – seasoned cyclists and laypersons like me have no way to distinguish which are the good ones.  Furthermore, with the unbearable El Nino heatwave that has been stinging the Asian region for the past few months, I could not think of any cycling jersey that can be worn more comfortably than a piece of SAF-issued singlet.

Nonetheless, after some nudging from my Account Manager, I acceded to his request to carry out a product evaluation on the Ohio-Sport’s Pro Jersey.  Sensing my reluctance, my Account Manager egged me with a side bet on a bottle of Heineken that the Pro Jersey is a much better jersey.  Just when I thought that I will be snagging a free beer at the end of the review, I was proven quite wrong.  By the Pro Jersey.

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The Pro Jersey and the Streamlined Shorts

The Pro Jersey is Ohio-Sport’s top-range cycling apparel.  Speckled with black lines against a backdrop of lime-green colour, the highly-reflective Pro-Jersey sports a clean striking outlook, offering strong visibility to other motorists and road users.  The illuminative artwork is applied consistently across all of the 22 Pro Jersey designs that are available in the market.  Even though I am not a fan of bright-coloured apparel, I agreed that the designers at Ohio-Sport have taken road visibility issues into serious consideration when crafting jersey designs.

Made of wool, cotton and synthetic fibres, the fabric of the Pro Jersey felt soft and cooling to the touch.  Many of the jerseys that I have tried previously were coarse and prickly.  The Pro Jersey is light.  In fact, I could somewhat feel the weight difference when I held the Pro Jersey on one hand and my Cannondale jersey on the other hand.  The fabric also held up well during an elasticity test, returning to its original form despite being forcefully stretched apart for no lesser than 10 times.

The streamlined cycling shorts (half-tights) that accompanied the Pro Jersey comes in standardised black colour.  In fact, black is the only shade across the 15 types of streamlined shorts introduced by Ohio-Sport.  Apart from the padding, the shorts is relatively functional-centric and frills-free.  There is neither any pocket nor compartment to keep one’s keys or coins.  Personally, I did not have any grumble on the minimalist design of the shorts since my personal belongings could still be kept in the rear pockets of the Pro Jersey.

Are they good?

Being a regular T-shirt guy, I encountered some difficulty when I put on the Pro Jersey and shorts.  There was some initial “tightness” and the first thought that came to my mind was that the sizing might be wrong.  However, the discomfort wore off quickly after I did some stretching to loosen the elasticity.  If a reason has to be given, I would reckon that the “tightness” was due to the jersey’s and short’s unseasoned fabric.  This issue should go away after a number of washes.

Wearing the Pro Jersey outfit on its maiden ride was quite an experience!  After settling in, I felt comfortable without the feeling of being wrapped up.  Engineered with breathable fabric and designed to fit around the contours of a person’s upper body, I could not recount a moment of feeling restricted when I was in the Pro Jersey.  The apparel’s sleek-fit and aerodynamic qualities became noticeable when I realised that my ride was carrying more speed than the rides that I went for when I was in my usual.. ahem.. SAF-issued singlet.

The Pro Jersey is designed with a full frontal zip.  I was glad that I did not encounter any “mechanical” issue when I made several adjustments to the zip in an attempt to stay cool during that late afternoon ride.  Personally, I am quite finicky over the quality of a zip and I apportioned a significant weightage on the “smoothness” of a zip.  One thing is certain – the Pro Jersey scored full marks for the zip section!

Leveraging on Ohio-Sport’s proprietary ‘Cool Comfort’ technology, the fabric used in the Pro Jersey is touted to have the ability to effectively move perspiration away from the body to the surface of the fabric for fast evaporation.  Readers, my advice to you is that there is no need to cast doubts on this claim.  This is because I really did not feel any stickiness even after wearing it for a long afternoon ride.  If not for the fact that I have to carefully assess the Pro Jersey as a product reviewer, it might have gone unnoticed that my sweat-soaked Pro Jersey had effectively dried up before I could finish my iced mocha at the kopi-tiam.

The Pro Jersey comes with 3 rear pockets and they are able to accommodate such small-sized items as keys, small bike tools and flip-phones.  If you are one of those who cannot live without a large-screened phone or are going for an overnight riding expedition, I would suggest the use of a hydration bag that comes with big compartments.

A bit of a let-down from the Pro Jersey is its standard collar design.  Whilst most modern cycling jerseys are fitted with low collar for increased comfort around the neck region, the Pro Jersey adopted the traditional windbreaker style.  Although the performance of the apparel would not be affected in any way, zipping up the collar to the top caused some discomfort for me.  Riders who perspire easily in sauna-like Singapore would agree with me.  It would be a bonus to see a low-collar version in the near future.

The streamlined cycling half-tights that accompanied the Pro Jersey fared pretty well too!  Relying on the same kind of breathable fabric technology, the shorts featured excellent ventilation qualities and I was able to stay cool throughout the ride.  Leg movements were unrestrictive and one does not have to worry about having to adjust the height of the saddle to stay comfortable.  Although my walking posture appeared to be a little awkward due to the padding, I was glad that the adequate amount of cushioning had kept me comfortable on the saddle.  Without the padding, soreness and numbness will set in.

Cleaning the Pro Jersey and the shorts were fuss-free.  All it took was a small sprinkle of detergent powder, a basin of water and some hand-scrubbing.  Because of the molecular nature of the fabric, the grime and dirt were washed off easily.

To buy or not to buy

I hate to admit that I am quite reluctant to part with my money to give my Account Manager a treat (I know I am a scrooge)!  As much as I want to be the winner of the wager, it was nonetheless a pleasant revelation to me that a little-known brand like Ohio-Sport could produce high-quality biking apparels like the Pro Jersey and the streamlined shorts.

If Ohio-Sport can expand its marketing efforts to promote its jerseys, I am quite certain that we will be seeing a new winner in the biking apparel industry.