Up until now, I’ve been hesitant to try a wool bike jersey for a number of reasons. First, I live in Georgia and the Colorado girl in me would say an Atlanta winter hardly justifies the need for wool. Also, most of the wool (sweaters) I’ve owned in the past didn’t feel soft against my skin. And then there’s the worry about maintaining wool apparel so that it doesn’t shrink, pill, or fade. Despite all my objections, the Icebreaker Grace Crewe Jersey had a distinctive look and lightness that I just had to try.
The Icebreaker Grace Crewe is a short sleeve jersey which I’ve found to be ideal for late winter and early spring riding here in the south. I’ve only previously worn long sleeve wool base layers in cold temps (30s or below) but I’d usually end up overheating after 20-30 minutes of exercise. The lightweight Icebreaker wool kept me warm and comfortable riding in temps into the 60s and the side mesh panels helped prevent overheating while keeping the overall weight of the jersey feeling light. Since the Grace Jersey is a crew neck versus a typical zip neck collar style jersey, I can wear it as a base layer in winter or as a jersey in the spring before the heat and humidity of summer arrives.
This simple dark gray jersey doesn’t scream “girly” with excessive bright colors and patterns like many women’s mountain bike choices. Instead its form fitting nature and subtle tones create a stylish look on the trails. Small details like the single rear pocket with flat zipper and slightly longer back panel affirm this top was designed with a mountain biker in mind.
When most people think of wool garments they think it can be rough and scratchy against the skin. Fortunately, Icebreaker uses merino wool, one of the softest types of wool available. In fact, I hardly noticed any difference in softness between the merino wool jersey and my other polyester-blend mountain biking jerseys. Thanks to my own personal BAACODE tagged inside the Icebreaker Grace Crewe, I traced the origins of my jersey to the merino growers in Irishman Creek Station in New Zealand to find this soft and fluffy fleece!
Merino wool. Photo courtesy icebreaker.com.
Much to my relief, I had little reason to be intimidated by the care instructions for my Icebreaker jersey. I have been washing it in the normal cycle and even drying it (technically a no-no) and the jersey has held up well. I’ll probably skip the dryer from now on though; if there was some shrinkage I wouldn’t know it since the jersey has a bit of stretch to it already. Maybe I ought to skip the washing and drying altogether – supposedly the record for wearing an Icebreaker top non-stop is 196 days in extreme conditions!
Icebreaker products are designed to last thanks to the award-winning merino wool and flat lock stitching; in fact my Grace Crew jersey has a pretty good chance of outliving my mountain bike! Get this jersey if you want to look and feel good on the trail.
Thanks to the folks at Icebreaker for providing the jersey for review.