Cost: Jersey – $130 MSRP; Bib shorts – $140 MSRP
How Obtained: review sample from company
RBR Sponsor: no
Time tested: 30 hours; several hundred miles
Quality Fit and Comfort Hallmarks of High-End Kit
I’ve been wearing Hincapie Velocity bibshorts and jerseys for several years now. They are my regular “go to” bike clothes, particularly for longer rides. They have likewise become the standard choice for my team kit, so I was happy to say yes when offered a chance to review the new Hincapie Edge line of clothing, which incorporated feedback from the BMC Racing Team.
My initial impression was that this is good-looking, understated gear. Wearing the kit on the road provoked positive, unprompted comments from fellow riders.
The company claims that, due to the close fit, the clothes provide an aero advantage. I wear a medium and when first putting on the bib shorts and jersey had to wiggle my way into them. (These are clothes that will definitely tell you how well the diet is going.)
The jersey utilizes TourTek Lite fabric to wick moisture. It’s light and noticeably more breathable than the Velocity line. There are mesh stretch panels for ventilation, and reflective “HyperOptic Elastane” material for enhanced visibility.
On the Road
After the appropriate wiggling, I was on the bike. The close fit of the material was noticeable for the first few miles. In fact, on meeting with the group for the first ride a friend of mine thought I might be wearing a skin suit.
What initially seemed tight made sense in the saddle midway into the first ride. This kit is obviously made by cyclists for cyclists. The fit works well, and the clothing “disappears” on you, whether in the drops or on the hoods. By that I mean it becomes unnoticeable and moves as you move.
Due to the specific fabric in the bibs, there was some very slight slippage on the saddle. As with the kit overall, I stopped noticing it a few miles into the ride, but it felt slightly different than other shorts I’d worn. The gripper material for the legs is excellent. It stayed in place, left no marks and was always comfortable.
Hincapie claims that there is a compression effect from the clothing as well. This is always going to be hard to measure, and whatever gain there might be was simply too small for me to notice.
The same can be said about the claimed aero advantage. It’s true that there is no excess material, but any real aero gains would just be too difficult to note. However, it was clear that the close fit enhanced the evaporation of sweat.
Light Weight, High-Wicking Fabric Works Well
Here in North Carolina we have hot and humid summer days (much like a broad swath of the country this summer!). Most of my riding buddies start to produce rudimentary gills around this time of year. This was where the kit really stood out for me. Due to the lighter weight, the close fit and the high-wicking characteristics of the material, I was able to stay cooler than normal. It meant I was able to hang in just a little longer on the hills and attacks.
The material also dries very well, as I found out when caught in a downpour. Although soaked through after the rain had passed, I was not uncomfortable on the bike as the clothing dried out quickly.
The full zip on the jersey was appreciated, allowing me to unzip and dissipate some of the NC heat. There is a mesh pattern built into the top back of the jersey that allows for airflow and further cooling. The three pockets on the jersey are placed exactly right. They allow easy access, have a snug fit and are a generous size. I was able to take a rain cape, an extra bottle, phone, gels and bars with me on a ride. The pockets allow items to be easily retrieved and stowed.
The bib shorts chamois is excellent; it is the same one as used in the Velocity line. This is a key reason I rate Hincapie shorts so highly; I am always comfortable in the saddle, even after piling on the miles. These bibs are all-day comfortable.
I have had to take no special care when washing this kit, and there has been no road odor retention, either. They clean up as good as they look and perform.
I’ve used the kit for around 30 hours now, and it has become my favorite line of clothing. While not inexpensive, this is some of the best-value clothing from the higher end manufacturers. Once on the road, the quality of fit and comfortable nature are apparent. I highly recommend this set.
Just keep in mind the tight-fitting nature of these clothes if you decide to make a purchase. You may want to go with the larger size should you have any doubt.
Paul Smith regularly reviews products for RBR. He’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in thePiedmont area of North Carolina. He commutes often, and his car is worth less than any of his bikes. Click to read Paul’s full bio.