Velocio’s objective with its Concept range is to create clothing without limits. In the development of the Concept range, Velocio wanted to create a kit that ticks all the performance boxes but is still comfortable enough to wear all day. That’s quite a tall order especially when you factor in Velocio’s commitment to sustainable production and ongoing contributions to cycling community and culture. We have been riding the Concept bib shorts and Merino Jersey for a while now to see if it’s more than just a proof of concept, and how they stand up to the competition.
Design and aesthetics
The Concept range is designed with performance in mind and this is evident in the Merino jersey. It features the same form-fitting design as the standard racy Concept jersey with a deep V neck, short front and second skin tightness. The most significant difference is the material choice, Velocio has used Italian milled ultrafine merino wool and to help get the desired race fit, nylon & elastane has been added. Merino is well known for its superb temperature regulation qualities, even when wet, which make it a great material for cycling clothing. The light, thin material is very soft to the touch too and the high level of stretch helps the jersey conform close to the body. There is a YKK CamLock zipper with zip garages, a silicone gripper around the lower hem and the standard three open and one zipped rear pocket setup. The jersey is also UPF30 rated for added protection from the sun.
The bib shorts use a multi-panel construction that forms a pre-shaped race-fit and compressive finish which Velocio claims to form a ‘unique aero construction’. The panels have a mixture of materials with most of the shorts using a slightly ribbed fabric to give the shorts their compressive strength. The rear panel which covers the back and rear of the legs is made from a more breathable material which is pleasingly soft to the touch. The rear panel extends high up the back and features laser-cut holes to further enhance cooling. Mounted to this rear panel are two ribbed straps which are decently wide to add support without chaffing or bunching. The front of the shorts are fairly high cut and combined with the compressive nature of the material, does make mid-ride toilet breaks a little trickier. Leg length is a touch longer than other bib shorts and a thick microfibre leg gripper securely holds the bibs in place without pulling my wild gravel man leg hair or causing discomfort.
Without a decent chamois, a pair of bib shorts are useless. Rather than spec an off-the-shelf pad, Velocio designed a proprietary chamois with contour-shaped high-density foam, anti-vibration inserts and an aerated base. The pad is suspended within the shorts using a floating design for more natural movement when pedalling and to reduce the number of seams which could irritate.
Graphics across both pieces are minimal with a subtle logo on the breast of the jersey and a larger reflective logo on the centre pocket. The shorts feature reflective logos on each thigh which help visibility plus a small logo on the small of the back and top of the thigh. Previously only available in black, the Merino jersey is now also available in navy with matching bib short colours.
If I’m honest, first impressions left me doubtful. The thin merino fabric of the jersey felt very delicate, the chamois felt too thick and when I first tried the bib shorts on they had a noticeably compressive fit in one very particular area that doesn’t need any compressing. However the more I rode the Concept bibs and Merino jersey the more it became my absolute go-to over summer and the straddling months.
The bibs are quite compressive although they have relaxed a little where it was needed after the first few rides. They have quite an aggressive pre-shaped fit, but once on the bike, they are supremely comfortable with no hint of leg creeping or chamois rub when putting down efforts. The leg length of the size medium comes up a touch longer than the rest of my bib shorts but feels perfect. The compressive material is thicker than most other bib shorts too which is probably why they are a touch warmer than other bibs although this is probably down to the higher coverage around the lower back and around just under the belly button. When it got hot they weren’t uncomfortable though and the extra warmth was appreciated when temperatures were cooler.
The chamois felt unusually thick on the first few rides, however, once used to it I found it very comfortable. The pad doesn’t have any shear to it as you might expect from a thick pad and feels locked into place when riding. When in the saddle the chamois’ positioning and bump absorption make it very comfortable – even on those all-day wet weather gravel epics that really test bib short comfort. Despite the extra thickness it still drys quickly and any moisture was dealt with before it became a problem.
The jersey impressed me so much I included it in my Gear of the Year for 2020. Merino isn’t quite as good as artificial fibres at dealing with heat however the fineness of the Velocio’s Merino blend helps keep you cool. On evening rides the benefit of Merino was obvious, as temperatures dropped the Merino concept jersey would flip from cooling to warming by adding that little extra insulation needed after the sun dipped below the horizon. The same can be said should you get caught in a rain shower and the jersey is quick to dry. The light softly elasticated material feels great against the skin and once on its barely noticeable. Sleeve length is on the longer side – which I liked – but leaves you with very odd tan lines just above the elbow.
My one criticism of the jersey is the pockets. The light material is wonderful to wear but struggles to support the weight of a normal multi-tool which can cause a bit of bouncing and drooping when riding. The pockets can feel overloaded quickly too as they are quite shallow which also means any slippery items stored in them can be a flight risk – in this example, my iPhone.
Durability has been remarkable with the shorts and jersey still in one piece after months of repeated rough and tumble off-road riding and hurried careless washing. The bib shorts’ material and Merino has so far been resilient to plenty of rolling around in the undergrowth and the logos aren’t showing any sign of peeling. The seat of the shorts shows no signs of ghosts of saddles past yet either.
Velocio’s Concept bib short and Merino jersey quickly became my default kit over summer and shoulder seasons. The high-level compression in the shorts might be too much for some however on-the-bike comfort is superb. The jersey is another excellent piece and will appeal to riders who are looking for an unrestrictive yet performance fit for long days in the saddle.
The price on both the jersey and bib shorts is high, but the quality is there. Considering I basically lived in them for four straight months, riding road, gravel and MTB, both jersey and shorts are still in perfect condition which shows you will get a good return on your investment.
Tech Specs: Velocio Concept bib shorts
- RRP: $289 / £225 / $359
- Sizes: XS-XXXL
- Colours: Navy, Black
Tech Specs: Velocio Concept Merino Jersey
- RRP: $189 / £157 / $239
- Sizes: XS-XXXXL
- Colours: Navy, Black