Verge Schild CX Jacket Review
Cyclocross preparation and racing is all about the little details. While most road cycling equipment can be used in the fields and mud, kit designed specifically with the demands of cyclocross in mind can make training or race day just that much easier and more enjoyable. We took Verge’s CX jacket and pants out for a few laps around the circuit.
One of the appeals of CX is that it’s a common meeting ground for roadies, mountain bikers, and pretty much every other type of cyclist. Part of the vibe is that anything goes in equipment and gear. However, as with any other venture, the more you become involved, the more you realize that specific equipment and kit just works better. And with my passion for the fall season and cyclocross, I was very keen to see exactly what Verge had to offer in their cyclocross-specific Schild jacket.
Verge Schild CX Jacket
The big advantage of the Verge CX Schild jacket is its versatility. Whether you’re in the market for a thermal jacket or a thermal vest, the Schild will fulfill both needs. It is a convertible, with the sleeves zipping off to turn it into a thermal vest. This made it very useful during the early fall, where the weather can range from the 20°C we had for a race in late September through to the past weekend’s 3-5°C during warmup.
The inner collar is lined with a soft fleece for comfort against the neck. The top of the front zipper flap is also folded over so that the zipper doesn’t rub against the neck or throat, a really nice touch to the design.
A very thick and substantial storm flap inside the front zipper helps keep cold wind and draft from creeping in.
For me, a big decision point with evaluating jerseys, vests, and jackets is the zipper. In my view, a zipper tab has to be easy to grab even with thick gloves. And once I’ve got my paws on the zipper tab, it has to be dead simple and reliable to pull up and down, without any jerking or multiple pulls. This has to do with both the zipper itself and the cut and fit of the top. I find that if a top is cut too loose, even a good zipper will have a hard time, due to the fabric folding in valleys and troughs.
The Verge CX jacket does the job with a decent two-way size zipper tab, and adds to it with a large fabric tie. The zipper itself is very smooth, and the cut is close so that there is generally a smooth line of pull.
Three rear pockets help keeps you organized. The pockets are fairly tight and low volume, and are not designed for an all day expedition. However, they give you enough room to stash a bottle or two during warmup, along with enough spare room for storing a lighter set of gloves for the race, or to stuff your armwarmers, skull cap, thick gloves, or other clothing when you get to the start line.
A small zippered pocket on the right rear pocket gives you a secure place to zip up your car keys. There’s also a flap opening to the right rear pocket for running your earphone cable through.
A wide horizontal zippered pocket below the three main pocket stores a lightweight pull-out tail flap, perfect for warming up on a wet or muddy course without getting your race gear dirty before the race gets going. This worked especially well when doing an early recon on a wet course, keeping your shorts dry while later warming up on the trainer.
The wrist cuffs are made of compression fabric as you would find in many higher end bike shorts. They worked well in keeping a comfortably close fit around the wrists while avoiding the bulk of many cuffs. They were also quite easy to pull on or off over thinner full-fingered gloves.
Another really cool feature are the zip-off sleeves – adding another purpose to the jacket, and another garment to your kit bag – the Vest.
Verge has done a pretty slick job of integrating the sleeves into the jacket, and uses velcro and some neatly designed tabs at the shoulders to conceal the zipper pulls, and eliminate wind from sneaking through the zippers.
It’s still October and the fall has been quite mild in southern Ontario, so I haven’t tested the Schild out yet in really cold weather. However, the past couple of weekends have been in the 3-5°C range when arriving at the race, and about 8-10°C by race start. Within that range, I haven’t felt either too cold or too hot wearing the Schild over a long or short-sleeved base layer while doing course recon and warming up on the trainer.
It’s clear that Verge have put a lot of thought into the details and creation of the Schild jacket.
Are they an absolute need to enjoy cyclocross, especially if you already have a closet full of cycling gear? I’d say no, but having this jacket in your kit bag will reduce your race day hassle and thereby increase the enjoyment. Additionally, the Schild transfers well to summer use on the road and in the trails, making them a strong consideration anytime you’re in the market for a thermal jacket or vest.
The jacket is available as part of verge’s extensive Custom collection – which means you can pretty much design and color the jacket in your own team’s colors, or any other way you like. Pricing starts at just under $195 per unit for quantities of 1 – 49 units, and go down from there as your order more.
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