Svelte Heritage Jersey – A Rapha Alternative?
In the past, whenever I’ve try to explain to somebody the concept of Discerning Cyclist, I say it is a website devoted to either: 1) “stylish cycling clothes” or 2) “stylish clothes that you can cycle in”.
While these might semantically seem to be the same thing, I have discovered they are two completely different entities that conjure contrasting images.
‘Stylish cycling clothes’ are quintessentially cycling clothes. They are for those who ride road bikes. They are lycra alternatives. More fitting to the sport of cycling. When you wear these, you are quite evidently “a cyclist”.
‘Stylish clothes that you can cycle in’ are everyday clothes. You wear them to work, to the pub, to meet with parents, friends and family. They also boast functionality that makes them good to ride a bicycle in. When you wear these, you are not immediately pidgin-holed as a cyclist.
Although annoyingly more wordy, I now describe Discerning Cyclist as the latter. That is the utopian vision. Good quality, every day clothes that are great to cycle in.
I understand at this point that few people care too greatly about the semantic differences of these two phrases – but a while ago I was sent the Svelte Heritage Jersey, and this to me really clarified the difference between the two.
Svelte Heritage Jersey
Svelte produce exceptionally stylish cycling clothes. Minimalist in design and of excellent quality, there is no doubt if you want cool looking performance cycling wear that Svelte’s products are more than capable of rivalling the likes of Rapha.
The Svelte Heritage Jersey, in particular, could be compared to the Rapha Classic Jersey. The minimalist design of both are very similar, with a full-frontal zip, three large rear cargo pockets, sealed rear pockets (one zipped on both as well as an extra-button pocked in Svelte) and comprised of merino wool (although Rapha’s version is mixed with polyester). One difference that leans in Svelte’s favour, though, is the price tag. While the Heritage Jersey certainly is far from cheap at £90, that’s still £20 less than Rapha’s option.
As you would expect of a ‘proper’ cycling jersey, the fit of Svelte’s Heritage Jersey – which is described as ‘athletic’ – is extremely snug. Typically in terms of clothes sizes, I am very medium – it’s rare I ever fluctuate from this, however with the Svelte jersey I would probably be tempted to go up a size if I wear to ever get another product as it was pushing on being too tight around the neck and chest. If you have a chunky neck or particularly large chest, I would certainly recommend doing so as the top is quite unforgiving in this manner. Alas though, this also shows my lack of experience with proper cycling clothes and especially jerseys.
There’s no kidding that this is a very sleek and stylish cycling jersey overall. The minimalist design with embroidered Svelte logo on the lower front left of the jersey is understated and exudes cool.
That said, this jersey isn’t for me. But that’s simply because of what it is: stylish cycling clothing. While it looks a damn sight better than logo-ridden cycling jerseys, it’s still built primarily for cycling, not day-to-day life. I would feel very self-conscious wearing this off the bike. However if stylish cycling clothing is what you’re looking for, you really won’t get much better than this. I’m just a stylish clothing you can cycle in kinda guy.