S1-A riding jersey from Search and State is understated quality. Light, breathable, impeccable fit, solid construction and nicely designed.
You may well remember our feature on Search and State (SAS) a little while back and that they are a great company who has very high values when it comes to cycling apparel. Now the next bit is and has been a little nerve-racking. I have high praise for what SAS stand for and to review one of their products and it not be good, was going to leave me with a conundrum. Great company but the product…
Well, good news.
I love it. First thing first, the look of the jersey. Awesome! Hard to describe the fabric but I kinda think it looks like carbon fibre. A dark grey fabric that SAS describe as; Two-Toned quick dry microbial fabric milled in the USA. Basically a really nice fabric. It’s what I would call a classic jersey in shape. No extras just three slim pockets at the back, nice slender collar, side panels and the right length sleeves (not to short, not too long). Next up the construction. Flawless. No expense has been spared with all the right fixtures. For example, the collar has cotton piping on the inside to stop the neck pulling out of shape, it’s nice piping too, [I think that is the right word] the zip is a Riri® zip and the rear pockets have reinforced elastic. The zip… it’s a bit hard to talk about the quality and differences of zips, but this is the second piece of clothing I’ve used with a Riri® zip and you will have to trust me on how well they work. They work very well. The overall construction of this jersey is bomb-proof.
All this talk of being bomb-proof and looking like carbon fibre makes it sound thick and uncomfortable. Well it’s not, it’s light and pretty breathable. I tested this jersey in hot humid conditions and up to 30ºC it wicked fine. After this temperature, and on long climbs of over a mile in length it became sweat soaked. This really isn’t a detriment to the jersey. SAS don’t claim it can stand high humid temps and I’m yet to see a jersey that can. So for those who live in more temperate climes, this jersey is going to see you fine during the summer. I used it with and without a base layer and both combinations work great. Without [base layer] and next-to-skin gave no problems with rubs or irritations. It’s worth noting as this is a classic jersey the fit is also ‘classic’ and one could say racing-fit. So a large on me is nice and snug, but not tight or pinching.
Finally. Washing. As a nice light jersey how will it wash? The label suggests you hand wash. I did. Then thought, why not smash it through the washing machine a few dozen times. No problem. I agree with SAS’s label, but let’s face it, most of us are way too lazy for that. I think it may wear-out quicker going through the washing machine like that, but I reckon it will still see many seasons of use. My tip on this is to place it in one of those net/mesh bags. Or better still listen to SAS and take it in the shower with you.
Classic jersey made in the USA with the best quality fabrics and fittings. Hard to fault such a fine jersey. It's could do with slightly wider pockets, not much, just a little. It's really is rare to see something this nice, this simple and made with passion – in a world of augmented products – a breathe of fresh air. I'm really giving it 4.5 as I just want slightly wider pockets! I'm being so picky about the pockets.
Review date: 16 May 2012