Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Eclipse Custom Cycling Jerseys

You may have seen their site from stumbling around on on the forums and wondered "how can they make custom jerseys and ship them from China, 1 at a time, for $30." I thought the exact same thing and wanted to find out, not expecting much. I ordered a normal jersey, a sleeveless, and a thermal long sleeve, all in all the cost was less than $100 shipped. Of course I was skeptical. I typically wear a medium but their sizing chart had me closer to a large, so to hedge my bets I ordered the normal jersey in medium, and the sleeveless and thermal in large. The design process is built into the site and fairly intuitive, I chose the colors and made my own designs in .PNG format, uploaded and placed them on their designer. In a few days they emailed back with a confirmation of the design, looked like what I wanted so I gave them the go ahead. It took just over a month and I got my mysterious package from China...

I'll start with construction of the garments themselves, as expected, it's pretty cheaply done, but still within reason at the price. The normal jersey and sleeveless had really cheap zippers, the one on the thicker thermal works a lot better. I'd describe them as minimal - there's no seams covered, no extra fabric, it would be what you could make if you bought a pattern from a fabric store and made your own, if such a thing exists. The fabric itself feels fine, not as soft as a Castelli, Capo, etc. but not bothersome. The material of the thermal is pretty warm, and the normal jerseys are cool/breathable enough to use on hot days. The pockets on all the jerseys are usable, but it is strange how they are equally sized rather than the middle being larger. Next up is quality of the custom printing.

This is where I was surprised, the printing is as clear and well done as any other expensive jersey, it's perfectly aligned, bright, and exactly as I made it in Illustrator. Not much else to say about it, it's as good as it could be. Where things do get weird however is the fit...

First up is the sleeveless, which I ordered in large per their sizing chart. It was too big in the torso, usable for mountain biking but would have been a semi parachute on the road. I ended up giving it away to a friend, who is happy with it. The sleeved jersey is a bit closer, the torso almost fits, but the fabric scrunch in the front is pretty bad, exacerbated by the cheap zipper. The sleeves are also very tight. I've done several 20-30 mile rides in it, but don't use it for anything longer, the bunching in the front is too bothersome. There also isn't an extended "tail" in the back like most jerseys so if you don't use bib shorts you may be showing off your tribal tramp stamp. If you have a beer belly and Wiggo arms this would be the perfect jersey, but for the average cyclist something is going to be off. Lastly is the the thermal long sleeve, which was the best fitting by a long shot. The torso fits great, not nearly as much bunching, the back rides a little lower, shoulders fit, looks like it's almost perfect until.. the forearms. They are incredibly tight, almost to the point I can't get the jersey on. I've managed to break them in a bit but it's still noticeable. The thermal material is pretty warm, I've been using this jersey for mountain rides in the 40-50°f range and it's been comfortable. Again for faster/longer road rides the fit isn't sheer enough.

The bottom line is you get what you pay for, if you want something for riding around town, for show, making a joke "team" this is a great option. If you want a professional looking custom kit to actually ride in though you'll need to look elsewhere. 

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