Alé Clothing Review: In these dark times we need something to look forward to. A warm summer and some great rides wearing new kit will be a dream come true. Chuck Peña previews summer and new top kit from Alé Bikewear – The PR-S Bullet jersey and R-EV1 Agonista Plus bib shorts.
As I write, the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy, Spain, and France have banned outdoor recreational cycling. The Classics season is a write-off. The Giro is at least postponed. And the Tour de France is still in question.
Summer bike riding seems like a faraway proposition right now, but when summer arrives hopefully we’ll be back to something that more resembles normal, including riding outdoors instead of Zwifting. And if you want to get back to riding in some new post-coronavirus kit, have a look-see at the new Alé PR-S Bullet jersey and R-EV1 Agonista Plus bib shorts that the folks at Alé sent to PEZ before all this madness set in.
For those not familiar with Alé (pronounced like the French word allez), it’s an Italian company with roots in cycling that go back 30 years. In the pro peloton, their kit is worn by Groupama-FDJ and Movistar. They also design and produce most of their line in Italy.
PR-S Bullet Jersey – US$139.99
As is the current trend, the Bullet jersey is intended to be an aero jersey. So it’s a form-fitting/race fit. But comfortable and not overly tight. The jersey material is soft and smooth to the touch — “silky” is a good description. And although the seams aren’t flat-stitched, you really can’t feel them so shouldn’t cause any chafing.
I’m a 5′ 8″, 132 pound ectomorph and a size small (what I usually wear in most cycling jerseys; unless it’s a club cut — in which case I generally opt for an extra small for a tighter fit) fit me just fine. In particular, I liked the way sleeves fit my arms — they just seem to mold to the shape of your arms without constricting them. As a general rule, most cyclists have relatively “skinny” arms so if you’re a gym rat with bulky biceps, I’m going to guess that the sleeves will feel a little tighter.
You know the minute you first pick up the Bullet jersey that it’s warm/hot weather kit because it hardly weighs anything — a fairly feathery 105 grams
The light shining through gives you some idea of how the mesh material provides air flow
Another giveaway that the Bullet is a warm/hot weather jersey is the low collar. Not quite collarless, but also not a mock collar — somewhere in between.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a jersey these days that isn’t full-zip
Not wrap-around, but the back of the jersey has gripper material to help keep it place
Three deep rear pockets plus a zippered pocket to keep stuff like ID, credit card, and keys more secure
The underside of the sleeves a different mesh that provides even more air flow/wicking
If you’re familiar with Alé, you’ll know that a lot of their kit embraces the “Euro flouro” look. One of my favorite cool weather kits is their PRR Camo long-sleeve thermal jersey and thermal bib shorts that combines a camouflage motif with flou yellow.
Chuck in his Alé camo kit
In contrast, the PR-S Bullet jersey is more muted. It comes in four different colors — none of them flouro. The graphics are just enough to catch your eye, but not loud. A good description might be just a touch of modern to a classic look. If your stylistic tastes lean more conservatively, the Bullet jersey might suit you — especially in blue.
It wouldn’t be Alé without flou, but subtly and sparingly on the PR-S Bullet jersey
R-EV1 Agonista Plus Bib Shorts – $184.99
The Agonista Plus bib shorts are definitely a classic look: basic black with the Alé logo at the hem (but if you want something with more pop, they’re also available with a flou yellow logo).
Just a touch of Alé flou on the Agonista Plus bib shorts
And the design is relatively tried and true (why mess with something that works?):
- Y-back with a vent/mesh back material
- Wide (4.5 cm), soft bib straps
- High cut front
- Flat-stitched seams
- Relatively wide (7 cm) leg gripper panels
The Agonista Plus bib shorts weigh in at 166 grams on my scale
Just as the Bullet jersey is designed for warm/hot weather, so are the Agonista Plus bib shorts. The side panels and the front of the bibs section use Air Cell Lycra® that has a mesh structure for air flow/ventilation.
High-cut front and notice the mesh panel for air flow/wicking
Y-back with a mesh panel
The straps are wide and soft, so very comfortable
There’s probably as much stretch mesh material as regular stretch material
Like the Bullet jersey, the Agonista Plus bib shorts (size small, which is what I usually wear) fit comfortably snug without being overly tight. The best way to describe it is that it compresses but without feel of compression. Whereas some of my bib shorts require a bit of squeezing into like a pair of skinny jeans, the Agonista Plus bib shorts slip on relatively easily. And the material is soft and smooth against the skin. Honestly, these may be the most comfortable bib shorts I’ve ever worn.
As is now common, a wide leg gripper panel that is more comfortable than the silicone grippers of old
The light shining through gives you an idea of how “airy” the Air Cell Lycra® side panels are
Of course, the make or break of any bib shorts is the chamois. Alé uses what it calls the 8HF Shammy that is supposed to be good for up to 8 hours of saddle time. I haven’t been able to get out for that long a ride yet in the Agonista Plus bib shorts, but have no complaints on rides of 2 hours or so (the chamois provides enough padding for comfort on my Selle San Marco Shortfit Carbon FX saddle without being too bulky — there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re riding in a pair of diapers). I have no reason to believe they won’t be up to the task of much longer rides.
Like virtually all modern chamois, the 8HF Shammy is dimpled to provide air flow and uses padding of different firmness/density in different areas
The central channel of the 8HF Shammy is designed to provide perineal relief
Wishing for hot and humid weather
We’ve had a couple of days here in Babylon on the Potomac that have been warm enough for me get out on rides wearing the Alé Bullet jersey (with a base layer underneath — it’s not that warm yet) and Agonista Plus bib shorts. But where this kit will really come into its own is when the heat and humidity soars. All the lightweight mesh material will help create the closest thing to air conditioning on a bicycle.
Let’s get through the COVID-19 pandemic and bring on the scorching heat and sweltering humidity of summer!