Bellwether Phase Jersey and Forma Bib Short Review
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Bellwether is a brand that for many cyclists was associated with the recreational rider, not the cool-guy roadie. Their products were geared more towards the entry level cyclist with the lime green safety vests and the like. Recently though Bellwether has changed their game and has began making some high end, but not expensive shorts and jerseys. The Phase Jersey and Forma Bib short are perfect examples of their commitment to quality and value.
Starting with the Phase jersey I could see the quality and energy that went into this jersey. Multiple fabrics were in specific areas to create a specific effect. For instance, the upper back, down the center
of the back and under the arms have X Factor, a fabric that look like small dimples on the inside. This fabric spreads sweat over a larger surface area, so you can stay cooler. I’ve worn this type of fabric in other garments and found it to be scratchy and itchy. This was certainly not the case with the Phase. Other areas, the sides, front and neck had XForma fabric. This yarns in this fabric are designed to help with moisture wicking and have a soft feel. Not only were the fabrics well blended, the cut was well designed. The Competition Fit was snug through my chest and midsection, which I prefer. The arms have no elastic at the cuff so they don’t feel super tight. Other details were the three rear pockets that obviously weren’t just sewn on as an after thought. The two side pockets are angled for easier access and the rear pocket has a separate zippered section for those items you can’t afford to lose. Along the bottom of the jersey is a small silicone gripper band that keep the jersey from riding up on you. This is a great touch, and one you see on only the hi gh end stuff. On the bike the Phase did an excellent job of keeping me cool and comfortable. The different fabrics certainly did what they were designed to do, even after long rides of over 5 hours. At only $65 this jersey is a great deal.
The Forma Bib Short was just as well designed as the jersey. I immediately looked at the chamois and noticed it was slim with channeling and multiple densities. This is the mark of a manufacturer that listens to what the riders are saying. I found the chamois to be comfortable for those all day rides. The short itself is made of Power Lycra. This material is more dense and tighter than most other materials used for shorts. The concept behind it is that by adding a slight level of compression, the muscle are more efficient, thus adding to your stamina and endurance. All I can say is that they are noticeably tighter than other bib shorts.
On first pulling them on I was worried they would be too tight. But on the bike the Forma moved well and while it was certainly tighter than others, that’s the point of Power Lycra. The leg grippers were just right for me and I like the fact that they use silicon to keep things in place. The upper portion is made from TechMesh fabric and it kept me cool on hot days. I really liked the overall performance of the Forma. The chamois was comfortable enough for all day riding. The Power Lycra never felt too tight and in fact I think it helped make the bib short more comfortable since no fabric was moving around. I would recommend trying these on first before ordering online though. I remained cool due to the moisture wicking fabric of the bib itself. With a price of $100 this is another great deal from Bellwether.
Both pieces show a strong effort by Bellwether to step up the quality and construction of their products. Any bike snob would be happy with these products, but thankfully you don’t have to pay a lot to get great quality. For more info on the Bellwether Phase Jersey and Forma Bib Short, visit www.amazon.com.