This article originally appeared on Velo News
Based in Spain, Givelo speaks a modern Euro-brand language: simple lines in classic colors serve as a solid basis for a road cycling wardrobe. As a company based in Spain, the home of Mallorcan cycling vacations, the brand's fundamental understanding of the traditional road cycling aesthetic shows in the design. I sought out Givelo because of their Mayfly drop tail bib short for the drop tail bib roundup.
Givelo Mayfly Bib Shorts -- Size M $205
Pros: top rated magnet means it doesn't slip open during rides; a high back doesn't expose skin while keeping an effective drop tail design.
Cons: The white bib straps with black print may show through lighter, thinner jerseys, no reinforcement at the clip point.
Givelo Classic Matte Black Jersey -- Size XS $190
Pros: Flattering anatomical cut, smooth water-resistant material, large reflective accents.
Cons: Heavier jersey material means temperate weather rides only, zipper pocket against the skin means items in it can poke the rider.
Givelo LS G90 -- Size XS $135
Pros: Sleeves are long enough to avoid exposing wrists, mesh vent panels are thoughtfully placed
Cons: Tight reflective sleeve band may not fit large biceps
Mayfly Bib Shorts
Think Rapha, but from Spain (I'd also like to point out the difference in cost: $290 for Rapha vs. $205 for Givelo). The magnet design is like the old Specialized drop tail design if you're familiar with that: a racerback with a solid plastic clasp with some substance to it that connects directly to the lower back panel -- this is among the strongest magnets in the test of five similar designs. What this means is connecting the strap requires less fumbling, and once it's connected it doesn't come apart (which I've had happen with the other brands that use flatter magnets sewn into fabric), so I didn't live in unreasonable fear of mooning the rest of the group ride.
In the rating scale created for the drop tail review, where 1 is "That bad" and 5 is "Excellent," (to be specific: At level 1, bib straps "Slice into your shoulders like they’re cutting bread," while at level 5 straps "lay flat without fuss, are breathable, hold everything in place, and have a fun print as a bonus.") the Mayfly's strap is a firm 5. They're made of a mid-weight, solid poly-lycra blend, are seamless along their length, and are printed with the Givelo motto: "Don't Settle."
The straps and clasp have very minor downsides. First, because the straps are white and the print is black, they may show through a thinner jersey -- that's not a problem with the Matte jersey, but the G90 is not as opaque and the straps showed through. I personally think it's a flex when straps show through a jersey, under the right conditions, but everyone may not share that opinion. Further, if the straps were black and the text white, it would still demonstrate the delicacy of the jersey fabric without being quite so loud as the white straps.
The second issue is common to all drop tail bibs that use a racerback magnet design: riders with flexibility issues may have some trouble reaching up between their shoulder blades to grab the dangling strap after it's disconnected.
The last issue is the stitching for the clip is very simple and not much reinforced, compared to Rapha for example, and after about 10 wears I see a little hole where the stitching for the bottom clip gave out. It's been holding so far, but obviously I was concerned.
The chamois and grippers are both solid 5s. The chamois feels like sitting on a silken cloud: I had no complaints through what could have been an uncomfortable amount of seated climbing, where fore and aft saddle pressures are more intense. The grippers are very current; meaning there is no separate gripper fabric panel. Instead, like many modern brands the leg panels have silicone added directly into the fabric in the pattern of choice. In short, this means no sausage leg caused by the seam that connects a traditional leg gripper to the leg panel of a bib, and no skin-death under old-school solid silicone leg bands.
Continuing the modern design, the seams are thoughtfully placed to work with the human anatomy. I give them a 4 for a faux flatlock; the stitching and thread are fine, the seam around the chamois won't cause chafing, and the external thread is not a garish contrasting color. That's all anyone really needs for a classic, long-wearing, comfortable kit. The white GVL branding on the leg differentiates it from the other black bibs in the peloton (or in your closet).
Classic Matte Jersey
The Classic Matte Jersey keeps up with the bibs, and improves on current designs in important ways; it's a "modern classic," just like it says next to the zipper. In my opinion, the sleeves are the "correct" length for current trends, hitting just above the elbow (for most people, who are not above the height average for their width), and are made of a fabric that allows them to have a hem-less or raw-cut edge that doesn't curl. The hem is shorter in the front and angled downward at the hips to create a flattering silhouette on and off the bike, meaning it negates the unsightly zipper bump that can form when in the riding position. Zipper garages protect the bibs and your neck from the zipper ends. The elastic gripper at the bottom of the back panel is flat and smooth, as opposed to ruched, and holds the jersey neatly in place.
The piece has two standout features, one of which is successful and I love; the other does not appeal as much. First the good: the jersey has large reflective epaulets in addition to the expected reflective branding on the chest and rear pocket. Since the main fabric is dyed a rich black, the shoulder accents add visibility when rides start before dawn or run into dusk.
The other standout made me uncomfortable: the central zipper pocket placement is horizontal mid-back. This position means even when unzipped nothing will fall out, unlike jerseys where the zipper pocket is placed on the side, which I thought would be a plus. Unfortunately, this zipper pocket is sewn into the back panel of the jersey rather than sewn into the existing pocket panel like in many other jerseys, so whatever is in the pocket is right against the rider's skin. When I stored my rolled up vest in the central rear pocket under the zipper pocket, it pressed my key (stored in the zipper pocket) into my back. Obviously, that was not comfortable. Overall, however, I give the jersey a 4/5. In the future I'll only keep soft or flat items in that zipper pocket.
The G90 Jersey uses a more traditional platform, with the fourth, zippered pocket on the right side built into the pocket panel, which keeps it off of the rider's back. Store your key there without fear. The pockets are deep enough to hold a modern flagship phone and feature a no-slip lining at the top of all three. Angled side pockets provide easy access.
This long sleeve also has a reflective accent, but it is the only debatable downside of the jersey. Instead of being positioned on the shoulder panels, the reflective accent is a slightly less-elastic band around the forearm. Riders with significant biceps (I'm looking at you, sprinters and bodybuilders) may have problems getting this onto their arm. Luckily I have the forearms of an emaciated cyclist, so even with an elbow injury that made it painful the first time I pulled it up, it fit very well once on. For my 5'11" frame, the 23-inch sleeve length of the XS left no wrist gap between the glove and cuff. As a bonus, the long-sleeve features mesh panels under the arms to keep sweat to a minimum.
For cut and fit, I give the G90 a 4.5 out of 5, with half a point off for the tight reflective band. That said, visually the horizontal arm band is another feature reminiscent of Rapha. At what point do we categorize brands as “Rapha-like,” rather than “classic,” when Rapha is becoming synonymous with classic consumer cycling style? I can’t say, but the big British brand’s influence on Givelo is clear. The one non-clothing issue I am currently having which I hope will be fixed by the time of publication: the forced newsletter sign up that blocks page views or purchasing on the site -- and it doesn’t accept auto-form-fill. I have to wonder if that’s costing them sales, because I would not fill that out line by line just to make a purchase.
Overall, Givelo's kit isn’t a brand new concept, but every kit does not need to be a cutting edge art piece made of the newest material. The reflective epaulets and solid drop-tail bib that flatters a wide range of body types are in the brand’s favor, and the “classic” aesthetic is inoffensive looking at worst, and easy to match.
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