By Brandon Bilyeu & Sheri Rosenbaum
Men’s Sport Long Sleeve Jersey:
Women’s Sport Long Sleeve Jersey:
- 100% Merino wool fabric
- Made in USA using Australian wool
- Machine washable
- Snug but comfortable fit
- Excellent temperature and moisture management
- High Quality
- Men and Women versions available
- Rear pockets sit a little high
Women’s: $150 (introductory price)
How obtained: review sample from company
Colors: Black, Slate Blue
Website: Wabi Woolens
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 20+ hours
Men’s: S – 3XL, Tall Version available in M, L, and XL
Women’s: XS – XL
Men’s Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 38” (96.5cm) hips, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. I tested size Medium. The jersey fit perfectly so the size charts seem true to size.
Wabi Woolens – Made in the USA
Harth Huffman lives in Portland, Oregon and by day works as a teacher at a local high school. On the side he runs Wabi Woolens, a one-person company/passion project. Since 2008 Harth has been producing wool cycling jerseys and continually making improvements to his product. This review will cover the just launched fourth version of the Sport long sleeve jersey and Wabi Woolens’ first ever Women’s jersey.
Outside of the Australian sourced Merino wool, the whole of Wabi Woolens operation is US based. The wool is spun, knit, and dyed in the US and then sewn in Portland, Oregon, though not by Harth personally. Harth’s commitment to quality and complete control of product design is evident in the end product.
Classic Material, Modern Performance
The Sport long sleeve jersey comes loaded with the standard features expected of modern kit: full length front zipper, three rear pockets plus bonus zippered pocket, and a high cut front waist combined with a drop tail for a proper fit in the riding position. The fit is athletic, sitting just on the skin without being compressive and allows great freedom of movement. There is some natural stretch in the knit, but less than elastane-based jerseys. There are good sizing instructions on Wabi’s website, and Harth is happy to help with any questions.
The trim fit of the jersey is important to take full advantage of Merino’s natural wicking properties. I wore the Sport jersey without a base layer and it did a great job of pulling sweat off my skin. I felt warm and dry even when the jersey was visibly soaked with sweat. The moderately thick wool blocks wind decently and breathes well to keep the temperature in check. I was comfortable in the jersey up to the mid 60s F (18 C), added a gilet in the low 50s F (11 C), and used it as a base layer under a shell in the low 40s F (5 C).
The best word I can use to describe this jersey is “cozy.” It’s warm, soft, and embraces the upper body in a friendly hug. And it remains cozy whether you are in the coffee shop, riding along at a conversational pace, or dropping the hammer on your buddies. If sweater connoisseur Mr. Rogers rode a bike this would be his technical cycling sweater of choice.
Caring for Merino
The Sport jersey uses Wabi’s Sport weight Merino fabric that can be machine washed with minimal shrinkage (not to be confused with Wabi’s Winter weight fabric that has completely different care instructions). But washing is hard on wool, so it is best to wear the jersey several times between washings. As a very sweaty guy I had concerns about not washing after every ride, but the Merino worked its magic. I put ten hours of sweaty riding into the jersey before its first wash and there were no issues with smell or funk.
Hand washing is probably best, but machine washing is also acceptable with regular settings. Gentle detergent should be used and of course do not machine dry but lay the jersey flat to dry. Detailed washing instructions are included with the jersey and available on the Wabi website. I have now machine washed the jersey several times without issue. The jersey still looks and fits like new.
Wabi Wades into Women’s Gear
Harth, the founder of Wabi Woolens, contacted Sheri to test out their first-ever women’s jersey. It is the same high-quality wool as the men’s, except cut for a women’s figure, and is available in sizes XS-XL. The introductory price of $150 is a deal because this jersey will provide years of wear.
Sheri tested the jersey on several 30s to 50 degrees F rides. In the colder temperatures, she wore it with a light base layer or a light jacket for protection from the wind. For temps at around 50, she could comfortably wear just the jersey. One test ride took her through various weather conditions, including sun, ice pellets, a snow squall, and, finally, the last four miles of the ride, pouring rain. Yep, that’s Chicago weather. If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, and it will change. She was able to stay warm the entire ride, primarily due to the Wabi Woolens jersey.
Initially, Harth sent her an XL to test, but it was way too big. Then he sent a large which fit perfectly. The drop hem in the back provided ample coverage to protect from the cold winds. So be sure to consult the sizing chart, and if between sizes, Sheri suggests sizing down.
Ultimately, Sheri gives the Portland-based company’s first venture into women’s gear high marks. The high quality and performance of the Wabi Woolens jersey receive a 4.5-star rating.
Merino wool is an excellent material for cycling kit and Wabi Woolens has created a high-quality performance jersey that is very comfortable and cozy.
Brandon Bilyeu is an avid recreational roadie who lives in Regensburg, Germany. He’s a year-round bike commuter and is a mechanical design engineer by trade. Click to read Brandon’s full bio.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.