Friday, June 3, 2016

Performance Bicycle Ultra Cycling Apparel Review



Performance Bicycle was founded in 1981 by Garry and Sharon Snook.  They started a bicycle catalog company because they saw an opportunity to serve customers better.  With their second kid on the way, Garry and Sharon leveraged their life savings to start the company.  After almost 35 years in business they have grown into the number one specialty bicycle retailer in the United States with more than 100 stores.  Their goal is to provide the best customer experience possible to all cyclist, from the recreational rider to the avid enthusiast.

There are a couple reasons why I love Performance Bicycle.  They have a Low Price Promise.  I have found some bib shorts on sale at a competitor’s online store and the guy at Performance matched it instantly.  The prices at Performance are awesome, especially if things are on sale and they have sales all the time.

Performance Bicycle also stands behind everything they sell with their Lifetime Guarantee.  If an item does not meet your expectations, simply return it.  You can get cash back for the first year and after that they would provide you with an exchange, repair, or store credit.  I had a pair of padded bike shorts that I wore for about 5 months.  The seams started to come apart.  I took it to the store to find out if this was a common issue or something specific to me, not expecting to exchange it (I just wanted to bitch).  The guy at the shop insisted on exchanging it for me.  That’s great customer service.

If you buy a bike from Performance Bicycle, they will make adjustments like basic spot wheel truing, shifting and brake adjustments, tightening bolts, checking and filling tires, and lubing chains.  This won’t just happen for the first year like at most bike shops offer, but for as long as you own the bike.  I have purchased some components and they installed them free of charge, even though they could have charged me. 

You can also join Team Performance, cycling’s #1 buyers’ club.  You pay $29.99 per year but get 10% back on all of your purchases.  This adds up quickly.  You also get upgraded to 2nd day for all orders over $50 at no cost.  For orders under $50 you just pay for standard shipping and get it upgraded 2 day shipping for free.  I can tell you from personal experience that the membership fee is more than covered by the savings, even if you don’t buy a lot of gear.


Performance Bicycle has their own line of cycling apparel from shorts, to bib shorts, to jerseys and more.  They have gear for warm weather as well as cold weather riding.  Their clothing line has many of the same features as the name brand gear at a fraction of the cost.  I got the opportunity to review a pair of bib shorts and a jersey from their Ultra (top of the line) collection. 


Performance Bicycle Ultra Bib Shorts (2016 version)

The Performance Bicycle Ultra Bib Short (2016 version) was an item that I was really excited to test out.  If you have looked into getting a pair of bib shorts, they can be extremely pricey.  There is a bib short from a well-known company that I will be reviewing in the next week or two that runs about $189.  The Performance Ultra Bib Short is regularly $109.00, but is on sale for $89.99 right now, which is a killer price.  If you are a Team Performance member, you will get $8.99 back for a future purchase too.  Not too shabby!

Okay, so I know what you are thinking.  If these cost so much less, they probably don’t use quality materials or the fit won’t be as good.  That is not the case at all though.  The Ultra Bib Shorts use top of the line materials and the way they are made should allow them to last for quite a while. 

So let’s get into the features.  The Ultra Bib Shorts are made with a 60% Nylon/40% Spandex blend on the body with different blends for the side panels and bibs (overall straps).  It comes with an 11” inseam.  The fabric has an embossed texture and uses push/pull technology to help with moisture management.  The multi-panel design with high compression reduces muscle fatigue and speeds up muscle recovery while it provides a great fit.  Performance Bicycle uses a Coldblack Finishing Technology to reduce heat build-up in direct sunlight and protects you from the sun’s harmful rays.  Some other features include flatlock stitching, reflective tabs, and wide sublimated leg bands to help keep the shorts from riding up without restricting blood flow. 

Now to the most important part, the chamois.  This is one area where Performance didn’t skimp.  The Ultra Bib Shorts use an Ultra TMF Italian chamois.  It is specifically designed for a man’s anatomy (there are women specific versions too), which provides great comfort and fit while reducing chaffing.  The seamless Skyving technology that they use eliminates steps between the foam layers which really adds to the overall comfort and feel.  It is a 4-layer chamois and the multi density foams absorb vibrations and offers impact protection.  The chamois stays dry and feels great.

I have thrown a lot of specs at you, but how did it perform on the road?  I love these bib shorts!  They felt so comfortable and fit perfectly.  The material is really light weight and you don’t have to worry about the legs slipping up as you ride.  The first ride I went on was in the 80’s and it didn’t feel that warm out because of the breeze.  The biggest things that stood out were the fit and comfort of the bib shorts.  They just fit really well, from the chamois to the compression of the fabric.  My next ride was quite different.  It was 94 degrees when I started to ride and it felt even hotter.  What I can say is that the moisture transfer and cooling effect of the Coldblack worked really well.  The bib shorts were fairly dry when I finished my ride.  Even in extreme temperatures, the Ultra Bib Shorts were awesome! 

Pros:
Extremely comfortable
Looks awesome
Fits like a glove
Moisture control and dries quickly
Awesome price

Performance Bicycle Ultra SL Short Sleeve Jersey

The Ultra SL Short Sleeve Jersey was another item I was really excited to test out.  The SL stands for “Super Light” and it feels like it.  This is another top of the line product from Performance Bicycle and is a little more than some jerseys, but if you are looking for a cheaper option, Performance has other jerseys as well. 

The Ultra SL Jersey was made to handle those long training rides or really hot days.  They took out the spandex and went with 100% polyester fabric to reduce the weight and increase breathability, but still made sure that the jersey met UPF30+ (sun protection) standards.  The ultra-light fabric absorbs moisture and dries quickly to reduce your skin’s temperature, which in turn provides a cooling effect. 

The fit of the Ultra SL Short Sleeve Jersey is considered form-fitting to increase aerodynamics and the sleeves are rolled forward.  That means that it was designed to do just as good when you are in the drops as when you are sitting upright.  Most jerseys are not made that way and when you lean forward to get in the drops, your jersey bunches.  Not with the Ultra SL.  There is a full YKK Vislon zipper that you can easily unzip and zip back up for extra ventilation and there is a zipper garage to make sure that the zipper does not irritate your neck.

You can find a media cord loop at the back of the neck and three rear pockets.  That is the one thing that is missing compared to some other brands top of the line jerseys.  Many of the top of the line jerseys have 5 pockets in back, but these pockets work well and hold plenty of gear.  There is a reflective stripe on the center back pocket and silicon dashes along the hem of the jersey to keep it from sliding up as you ride. 

While this jersey might be a little more money than your standard jersey, it is not your standard jersey and is well worth the money.  The Ultra SL Jersey is regularly $99.99 but is on sale for $69.99 (you would get $6.99 toward a future purchase if you are a Team Performance member).  I found that the design, fit and comfort were amazing and it had tons of great features for the price.  Like the bib shorts, the Ultra SL Jersey really did a great job of not only keeping me cool, but dry during my ride in the extreme heat, which is not the case with most of my cycling gear. 

Pros:
Extremely comfortable
Looks awesome
Fits like a glove
Moisture control and dries quickly
Awesome price for what you get

Cons:
The white part is kind of see through (but that is the trade-off of having an ultra-light material)

Performance Bike’s Social Media Links:

If you are looking for top of the line cycling bib shorts and jerseys, look no further than the Performance Bicycle Ultra Bib Shorts and Ultra SL Short Sleeve Jersey.   You get tons of great features that are usually reserved for products that cost twice as much as you can get these for.  Save even more money when you buy them on sale, which happens quite often and being a Team Performance member will get you some cash for future purchases.  Performance Bicycle is a great company with a great return policy, so if you don’t like the gear, just take it back.  Try returning clothes to other local bike shop and see what they say.  If you want to look good in a great cycling kit without breaking the bank, pick up a pair of Ultra Bib Shorts and an Ultra SL Jersey at your local Performance Bicycle or at Performance’s website.  What do you have to lose?  Let me know what you think.  I would love to know.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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