Don’t think you are too cool to wear a jersey with a donkey on it.
Donkey Label (DL) is one hard working brand. I know this from the many emails conversations with Paul Krumrich, who runs DL, they continue to prototype and test a whole range of stuff that should keep you guys and girls excited. Their short sleeve jersey has been test proven in this very manner and that has made it a compelling jersey to look at – if you want a performance based jersey. It’s not the only good thing either, like a lot of products we review it’s handmade from the best possible fabrics for the job. I still don’t know what they put in the water in Minneapolis but, it seems like a great place for producing cycling gear and for the inspiring personalities that add to the wonderful world of cycling.
I’ve actually had this jersey a long time [six months], it first got used on my return to England, well we got two, both Jamie and myself have done our best to put them to work. I managed to get in a dozen rides before I started suffering with back problems and then Jamie got locked in a room coding almost day and night. I was optimistic that I could soon finalise my thoughts but, my back didn’t really recover and an MRI put a complete stop to cycling (it was way too painful anyhow). After nearly three months I tried cycling again and the jersey of choice for my rides was the long waiting DL jersey – that I wanted to conclude my thoughts on for this review. I only managed three rides which ended in severe pain and a larger prescription sheet. I did however reach my conclusion of the DL jersey (I suffer for my passion!).
I’ve used super light jerseys for a while and have a couple in my cycling wardrobe for hot weather especially my time cycling in Taiwan. The DL jersey beats my other light jerseys by a kilometre or three. Not only in construction but fabrics and design as well. When I say design I’m talking about the jersey not the printed graphics on it. Talking of which the Donkey Label logo jersey might not be everyones choice, personally I like it and in DL words; “Don’t fight your identity, don’t think you are too cool to wear a jersey with a donkey on it, embrace it and roll.” and if that just doesn’t sit well with you there are a bunch of other designs to choose from.
Both Jamie and myself agreed it’s probably the comfiest jersey either of us have worn. DL do things a little differently and there are no silicon grippers anywhere. In principal that concerned me but in use it was never an issue. The sleeves are longer than just about any short sleeve jersey I’ve ever used, this is a good idea if used in sunny conditions to give you good sun protection and as the bottom half of the sleeve is soft thin lycra they’re very comfy and just don’t rub or bunch up. They use the same material for the collar and this is cut a little high at the back for good sun protection.
In all, there are three different fabrics employed on the jersey. All of which are put to good use and cut to give on the bike comfort. My first rides did just that on hot fast rides in June in perfect comfort jersey wise. Same goes for Jamie. We enjoyed this jersey in those conditions, I couldn’t of asked for a better jersey come a hot day. Then my back went pop and Jamie ended up in the coding dungeon. It gave me time to reflect on the jersey. It struck me as a good jersey to wear under a proper waterproof with arm warmers and a thick base layer. Perfect choice I thought. When I was asked by my physiotherapist to try riding my bike I got to test out my idea out and I was right. Riding my bike was wrong though!
I’m really surprised by this jersey, it’s usually something that a much larger company should be producing, well they do but, they don’t do it quite like DL and my choice is with the DL. Not because they’re a small independent company that truly love cycling it’s just that they make the right jersey to fit this part of the ‘jersey market’ properly. It would work well for anyone who wants to ride a bike fast as much as it would for someone needing a jersey for hot weather, that also suits being layered up well due to it’s heat shifting qualities and lightness. The only thing is you have to be carful not to trash it especially in the wash, given that, I treated it badly washing it, and it stood up to that with flying colours.
I really can’t wait to don this jersey again and although the northern hemisphere is heading in to winter I would urge anyone to add this to their collection. If you live in the southern hemisphere then it’s perfect timing! I know I always bang on about this, these jerseys are handmade in good working conditions, in this case the US. It’s really worth bearing that in mind when you can. Given the level of material and construction these jerseys are up there with the best. Like all super light jerseys though just be careful not to snag them on anything. Although the DL jersey is holding up well, like a donkey does. NOTE: UK buyers can contact iL Soigneur if they want to buy this side of the atlantic.
Review date: 27 October 2013