long, long ago in a galaxy far far away, at least so it seems, when you purchased a new bicycle, it arrived with an owner's manual and what i like to refer to as a swiss cheese spanner (one of those, fits everything doohickies). the spanner was invariably so badly made that it either bent when used, or it was impossible to fit over the appropriate bolt because the rest of the spanner got in the way. the manual, however, had pragmatism written all over it (well, actually mine had raleigh, but you know what i mean).
the contents bore relevance to the exact bicycle to which its little plastic packet was attached, offering advice on how to maintain the moving parts, to what pressures the tyres ought to be inflated, and even adjustment instructions for the sturmey archer three-speed hub gear. for those younger than a certain age, this may appear to be a work of fiction, but i can assure you this is all true. if only i'd kept mine in order to prove it.
though i have no real evidence or statistics with which to reinforce my contention, it seems remarkably co-incidental that, when production moved to the far east, it was not only the bicycles that became generic. if you're lucky, the little booklet with the appallingly bad illustrations will have at least the name of the manufacturer printed on the cover, but in most cases that i've seen, the only words featured on the front are owners manual, invariably without the apostrophe. the contents mostly have no relevance whatosever to the cycle of which you are now the proud owner.
explanations of how to fit front and rear 15mm track nuts on a bicycle fitted with quick release skewers are by definition, bound to cause confusion. diagrams showing three front chainrings when the bike has bendy bars and skinny wheels could prove awkward when it comes to gear adjustment, and since almost everything is now affixed with allen or torx bolts, that swiss cheese spanner is merely decorative.
i'd dearly love to take a campaign to the world's bicycle manufacturers requesting that they either re-instigate manuals relevant to the machine which they accompany, or provide a web address from which it might be possible to download a pdf of the very same. however, prior to girding my loins for a lengthy period of to and fro communications, i think i at least ought to educate myself to rtfm in the first place.
endura very kindly despatched the rather ineptly named fs260-pro jetstream iii (sounding remarkably like the order code for a light aircraft) for the purposes of review. subtitled, athletic wind protection, i figured i lived in the very place that might do it justice; and vice versa. however, having donned a baselayer and endura bowmore single malt jersey, i was about to top them all off with the jetstream when i happened to notice the text at the foot of the hang tag. for though it paid tribute to the description above, appended to the end was the word jersey.
the jetstream, though close-fitting and thin of constitution, resembled a lightweight jacket, one that was about to have provided several hours of overheating had i continued with my initial dress code. both the back of the jersey and the rear panels of the sleeves are insulated with roubaix fleece, while the front of both torso and sleeves are of a rustly windproof polyester fabric.
my first outing was unfair on both rider and jersey, since though windy, at that point we were still experiencing the last vestiges of scotland's so-called indian summer. though i am guessing those windproof panels are also intended to be at least modestly breathable, i fear both my exertions and unseasonable warmth had it in for them from the start. it would have been a good idea for me to have worn a long-sleeve baabaa merino baselayer, not because of any chill factor, but due to my arms perspiring profusely as if in a sauna.
in fact, overall, on that first outing, the end result was hardly favourable. though the windproofing is amongst the best there is, a bit of cooling wind would have been most welcome in order that i felt less like a cooked cyclist. as mrs washingmachinepost continually reminds me, i have to choose my battles, which, in this case, meant waiting for another day of lower temperatures and persistent wind. considering this is the west coast of scotland, i did not have to wait terribly long.
the wearing of a long-sleeve baselayer turns out to have been a good idea, for though lower temperatures start to make the jetstream look a tad more sensible, that windproof fabric, aided and abetted by the roubaix fleece is still not as breathable as one would like. though long-sleeved merino will never make the rider cooler, it does considerably reduce the clamminess that results from bare arms inside the sublimation printed jersey sleeves.
practicalities, however, it owns in spades. the collar is commendably high to keep out pesky winds and the full-length front zip has a suitable garage at the top to prevent nipping any exposed skin. the zip is also assisted by an internal baffle. the three reflectively topped rear pockets are substantially constituted and most helpfully for the carrying of coffee and cake money, there is an almost concealed zipped pocket amongst the three. the hem has a wide strip of silicon gloop to keep the jetstream in place when riding athletically.
whether you admire the contrastingly coloured darts on the arms and torso is of personal preference, but i do think it a nice touch to have the endura name on each sleeve. it's probably also worth mentioning that, though endura make no claims as to any waterproofing qualities, i did get caught in a couple of light showers which it shrugged off very confidently.
overall, it is a well-made and well-fitting jersey, one that looks as if it ought to be a jacket. when the weather turns colder, i might just find that it's true vocation is exactly that, but at present, perhaps a zipped vent under each arm might help ameliorate that feeling of clamminess in moderate temperatures. it's available in red as reviewed, and in blue, black and white. size ranges from small up to xxl and retails at a very reasonable £67.99.
monday 14th october 2013