it's a condition of entry that the less you get in cycling, the more it costs. i agree that this is a supercilious and facetious attitude to take, for the less to which i refer, mostly concerns the enemy of the pelotonese: weight. not so long ago, i replaced the sram rival groupset that arrived with my chris king cielo with sram red, something that was able to happen through the courtesy of sram uk, and a very fine groupset it turned out to be. in fact, it continues to be a very fine groupset to this very day.
however, the cost of the latter in relation to the former is up by a factor of three, meaning three times as much of your hard-earned in order to carry out the same gear changing and braking functions, features that sram rival carried out with aplomb. i have often said that all groupsets, at point of purchase or installation, work exactly the same as their siblings, but it's likely that the more expensive versions will continue to do so for longer, but that is rarely the criteria by which each successive group is judged.
i do not intend to add to the narrative by recounting the differing and relative weights of each component, spread across offerings from shimano, sram or campagnolo, for weight-weeniness holds no intrinsic personal attraction, though i do find myself somewhat au fait with those who dwell on every gram. it is this insatiable desire to lighten every part of the bicycle that accommodates an increased spend to gain less for more rather than vice versa. disappointingly, this rarely stretches as far as personal weight loss, and it saddens me to say that it would not be a lonely occasion on which i have seen a large person riding a bicycle replete with every manner of weight saving device known to flexible plastic.
i cannot say that this attention to weight detail has made itself known in the clothing and apparel industry for reasons that may be all too apparent. it's not that the subject has been all but ignored by those wishing to clothe us in some of the finest fabrics mankind and nature can provide, but issues of warmth, moisture transfer and comfort are those of principal concern. after all, few of us would attempt to climb the stelvio pass clad in levis and an anorak. happily, this separation of thought allows the frame and component manufacturers free to find a way to trouble the scales less and less, while the garment part of our world is unfettered in its quest to improve our comfort and, subsequently, our performance on that lighter bike.
there are, of course, those intent on providing all the little details that encompass the foregoing. white coated bods in switzerland have laboured to offer us a jacket that owns a substantial degree of originality. the way that it goes about doing so is, to be quite frank, rather nifty.
cervo rosso's doppio jacket has the ability to convert from a sleeved jacket to a particularly fine gilet. though the current splendid sunshine has reduced its efficacy even in sleeveless fashion, the diaphanous nature of the fabric is inclined to encourage wearing in conditions of only a few degrees of temperature less. the really clever bit is how the sleeves are separated from the rest of the garment, something that those possessed of a greater degree of balance and skill aboard a bicycle could probably do while continuing to ride. i, on the other hand, have no intention of even trying.
previous offerings of removable sleeves have concentrated on each sleeve as a separate entity. cervo rosso have bypassed this awkwardness, by joining the sleeves across the shoulders and back of the jacket via a zip starting life just below the right collarbone and ending at its opposite member on the left. the rear flap is held in place by a square of velcro. it is but a simple operation to either remove or replace the sleeves without the jacket ever leaving the safety of the torso. and should you be wondering just what you'd do with this unrequired appendage when removed, the gilet section features a substantial internal rear pocket intent on caring for the removed sleeves.
those sleeves are most accommodating of whichever jersey you wish to wear below, ending in velcro-lined straps enabling the cuffs to open or close by varying degrees. to carry the necessary cash for coffee and a cheese and apple chutney sandwich, there's a neat vertically zipped pocket on the left breast, and jacket/gilet closure is by means of a full length front zip, leading to a high, adjustable collar.
though islay and much of west scotland is currently being baked in morning to night sunshine, the characteristic almost gale force wind has seen no respite, something the doppio is more than able to deal with. in addition, when it does rain, its water repellent fabric ought to keep all but the heaviest of showers at bay till i get home. the fit is on the loose side (medium tested) but not anything that could be described as flappy, and those sleeves really do remove and replace as easily as described; i am not noted for my skills in this department and i found no difficulty whatsoever. and believe me, i tried this out over and over again because i couldn't believe it was truly this simple.
what i didn't like, though while riding it is certainly out of sight and out of mind, is the cervo motto it's your ride written vertically in script on the back. the jacket is among the more stylish on the market, it carries out its intended job with aplomb and i'm afraid i think it undermines its approach just a tad to emblazon this writ large. such a comment, however, is entirely subjective and has no true bearing on the efficacy of the doppio whatsoever. in total contradiction to my opening gambit of acquiring less for more, cervo rosso's doppio jacket offers two garments for the price of one, with simplicity of operation as an added bonus.
when the sun goes away, and islay remembers just how inclement it's supposed to be, this will be front and centre of the cycling wardrobe (i should just point out that this is sort of a figure of speech; you can't actually cycle my wardrobe).
the cervo rosso strada doppio 2.0 jacket retails at £107.10 ($178.50) and is available in sizes small to xxl from the cervo rosso website.
saturday 25th may 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................