Ground Effect’s Berglar and Rock Lobster Jerseys
Ground Effect’s Berglar and Rock Lobster Jerseys
By Duncan Moore
Review of Ground Effect’s Berglar and Rock Lobster Jerseys
When I told the guys at Ground Effect I was looking for kit suitable for riding a sportive in the UK spring/summer they immediately came back with a couple of suggestions; the Berglar and Rock Lobster. Given our changeable climate, both being long sleeved makes them very versatile indeed…
First up is the Berglar, which given that it’s one of the New Zealand company’s Heatwave Merino riding tops, is better suited to cool spring rides. While there is merino wool in it, that’s not all there is. What there actually is, is a mixture of merino and polyester especially developed by Ground Effect and knitted for them in New Zealand from domestically sourced wool, which is said to feature finer yarns (superfine 18.5 micron if you’re interested).
The way the two materials are combined places the merino next to your skin, for comfort, obviously, and the polyester on the outside. The idea behind the mix is that the merino offers comfort and wicking ability, while the polyester allows it to dry quicker than pure merino, suggesting it should offer the best of both worlds. It also means the top is machine washable, and anyone who has ever owned a pure merino wool top will know just how much of a benefit that fact alone is.
The cut of the Berglar is deliberately slim, the reasoning behind this is that the closer the fabric is to your skin, the more easily it can wick sweat away.
For those that care about such things the top has raglan sleeves; if you’re not a fashionista, it simply means the top of the sleeve runs all the way up to the edge of the collar, rather than finishing at the edge of your shoulder. The sleeves are a sensible length too. In fact, if I was to get picky I could say they’re too long. I never thought I’d say that about the sleeves on a cycling jersey, and it shows that Ground Effect kit is designed by people who actually ride and appreciate the idiosyncrasies of well cut cycle clothing.
Ground Effect have kept things long at the back too, with the WhaleTail – basically the back of the jersey is extra long keeping my back covered when I’m down in the drops. There’s also three pockets round there; twin elasticised, angle-pockets and a central zipped pocket.
Now, as I’m planning on using the Berglar through the summer as well, it’s good to see a 3/4-length zip in the front, which will let me keep cool if the temperature ever gets into double figures.
It has not been warm enough to go riding without a shell top over the Berglar yet this year, but the time I have spent in the jersey has been good. It is warm, but not so warm as to become uncomfortable. It draws the sweat away from my back on the big climbs and when I get home it seems to be surviving my throwing it in the washing machine, albeit on a cool wash.
In fact, it is safe to say, I actually prefer it to the pure merino wool cycling jerseys I have; it’s lighter when it’s been soaking sweat up, it’s easier to wash and just has a generally really nice feel about it. I’m not put off by the price either; at £69 it offers decent value for money, especially compared to the offerings from some of the premium manufacturers. Oh, and like many of the pieces in the Ground Effect range there’s a hidden puncture repair patch, too.
The second Ground Effect jersey I’ve been trying out is the Rock Lobster, also priced at £69 (and those of a certain age will have no doubts about where the name comes from).
Now this might sound a bit idiosyncratic but the Rock Lobster is a long sleeved jersey designed for wearing when you’re out riding in the sun. Bear with me on this one. The material used in the jersey’s construction is Ground Effect’s HyperActive, which among other things has a UPF 50+ rating that means when you’re wearing you can stay in the sun 50 times longer without burning than if it you had exposed skin. That’s where the long sleeves come into play; more protection. You also get a stand up collar too, to help keep the sun off your neck and once again less chance of sunburn. Okay, I’ve not had a chance to put this feature to the test yet, so I’ll just have to take Ground Effect’s word on it.
The other thing about HyperActive is that it is a bi-component knit of a polyester outer with a smooth layer of nano-charcoal polyester against the skin. The nano-charcoal disperses sweat to accelerate evaporation and is naturally anti-microbial, so the Rock Lobster doesn’t smell after continued wear.
Now, like the Berglar, it hasn’t been warm enough to wear the Rock Lobster on its own, but under a waterproof shell it’s been just fine. Sure, I’ve got a bit sweaty on some of the longer, steeper climbs around Kent, but the jersey has done what they say it does and drawn the sweat away from my back.
Once the weather does warm up, the 3/4-length zip should prove useful in stopping me from overheating, and the no-elastic hem is nice as when combined with a pair of bib shorts as there’s no pressure around the waist.
Obviously you get the usual selection of pockets at the back and there’s a puncture repair patch hidden away in the jersey too.
Now all I need is some continued sunshine to try and not get sunburnt in the Rock Lobster…