CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey and VC II Shorts Review

CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey and VC II Shorts Review

 

CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey and VC II Shorts Review

 

Dan Saunders

 

For those less frantic days on the bike, Performance Bikes CHCB range has got you covered.

 

What do you wear when you want something that fits well on the bike but isn’t full ­tilt, tight roadie spandex; or on the opposite end, loose and flappy mountain bike baggies? Our friends at Performance Bicycle have the CHCB line of bike wear to fit the bill.

 

The CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey and VC II Shorts are for those more relaxed rides
The CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey and VC II Shorts are for those more relaxed rides

 

To quote from Performancebike.com: “CHCB is a line of clothing we developed to ride the roads we travel most. Whether it’s to the grocery store, commuting to work, riding with our kids to school, getting ice cream on a summer day, or heading beyond city limits to do some touring.”

 

I was recently sent the CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey ($69.99) and CHCB VCII Shorts ($99.99) for review. So, for the last few weeks, they’ve been put to the test for commuting, errand running, and Sunday trips to the farmer’s market with the family. So without further ado, let’s get into how the pieces actually fared.

 

CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey

 

Like most pieces of clothing, the jersey is one of those pieces of kit that can make the difference between a comfortable ride and hot, stuffy sweat fest. Thankfully, the Chatham Jersey leaned more towards the former than the latter. I tend to fit in medium kit, so I was happy when the medium jersey fitted well when I first slipped it on; the semi-­form fit was slightly loose around the waist to give a casual look, but definitely not so loose as to look sloppy. The semi-­form fit was definitely noticed a little more when actually on the bike. The sleeves stayed close to the body and the material around the chest wasn’t restrictive, but it wasn’t flapping in the breeze, either.

 

The CHCB Chatham jersey doesn't scream cyclist
The CHCB Chatham jersey doesn’t scream cyclist

 

As far as design goes, the striped look is simple, classic, and fits in with the casual style one would want when just putzing around, running errands, or meeting up with friends. It’s a good flexible look. While I liked the look, I wasn’t so fond of the stitching of the stripe. When worn with a pack (a well used Chrome messenger bag, in my case) the stitched seams were pulled into the lower part of my chest. Not that it was to the point of being uncomfortable in any way whatsoever, but if you’re accustomed to the smooth fronts of other jerseys, you may notice them.

 

I’m also a little baffled by the front pocket. Sure, it may be a style nod to polo shirts with front pockets, but it’s just so small that unless you’re keeping a couple of dollars folded up in there, I’m not sure what the use would be. The back pocket is slightly better, and a more appropriate place for any denomination of dollar bill since it has a button closure on it, but at the same time, there’s not much room for anything else besides you basic wallet contents; and, it’s off-centre. So if you do put anything of weight in there, it pulls a bit to the right without any chance of being balanced out since there is no left pocket. If you keep it to just your ID, credit/debit card, that sort of thing, you’re good to go. Throw your phone in there, and it gets a bit goofy (if you can even fit it in there!).

 

Our tester found the off centre rear pocket could be annoying if overloaded
Our tester found the off centre rear pocket could be annoying if overloaded

 

The reflective details (buttoned pocket flap) are certainly appreciated though by someone who does find themselves out in the low­light hours. The poly­spandex blend breathed very well on the bike when in motion and the 3 button collar allowed for bit of adjustable breathability. If you were a bit pumped after a hard stretch of up­hill and brought to a stop with no breeze, you might get a bit warm under the collar, but I think that’s the case of any jersey when it all comes down to it.

 

Overall, I do like the jersey; it fits nicely, it looks good both on and off the bike, it’s pretty comfortable for something that is doing it’s best to be a bit stylish while also being bike-­worthy, and it breathes well. To put it another way, I don’t want to give it back.

 

CHCB VCII Shorts

 

Ah, shorts. The only thing (generally) between your nether regions and the saddle. The VC II shorts are designed as a dual purpose casual short; they can be worn on their own or over a pair of chamois ­equipped shorts for longer rides. To be honest, I did most of my testing with the shorts in casual mode, for lack of a better way of putting it.

 

The CHCB VC II shorts are perfect for when you have to mix with 'normal' people
The CHCB VC II shorts are perfect for when you have to mix with ‘normal’ people

 

Sure, I did a couple of rides with a set of chamois­ equipped shorts underneath (and they were perfectly fine for that), but I came to terms with rocking the spandex quite some time ago, so over-­shorts really just end up feeling unnecessary to me. As shorts on their own, however they are great!

 

One of the most annoying things for me about non-­spandex shorts on a bike is how much they pull up the leg. Hell with the right shorts it can get downright indecent! The VC II’s however, were built to ride. The poly­spandex blend moves with you without being constricting. Cruising around with the kids to the farmer’s market on the back of our Yuba Mundo on a warm summer’s morning, it’s like they were built for this. Maybe it’s the casual look. Maybe it’s the comfort of having something designed to be ridden that’s not a baggy mtb short (which I do love for those types of rides) but also not a sausage casing spandex. It just works. There’s enough stretch that things stay in place through the pedal stroke, and once again, the breathability of the material is noticeable.

 

Reflective tabs on the shorts and jersey add a little discreet visibilty
Reflective tabs on the shorts and jersey add a little discreet visibilty

 

The cut of the VCII’s is slightly relaxed off the bike. Nice and casual. A good middle ground between baggy MTB shorts and skin-­tight spandex. While there are belt loops present, I saw no need for them with the mediums that I had. Between the generally spot on sizing and gusseted spandex sections, the shorts just fit great. There are the usual hand pockets that are a bit more on the front of the short than standard clothing, but still useful when you need to lock up and take your keys and other items with you.

 

There is also small zippered pocket on the lower left leg that was handy for stashing things that you want to keep secure. As with the jersey, CHCB also included a reflective panel on the back pocket flap of the shorts. Again, greatly appreciated.

 

Overall, the shorts are probably my favourite piece between the two, but paired together, they make a great set. The breathability and moisture wicking nature of poly­spandex is hard to beat, and the casual styling is spot on. I would highly recommend these shorts for anyone looking for something that is comfortable on and off the bike.

 

While the CHCB Chatham Short Sleeve Jersey lists for $69.99 and the VC II Shorts list for $99.99, performancebike.com was running a 40% off sale (ends September 5, 2016) at the time of the writing of this article. Full price seems pretty fair for the construction quality of this jersey and shorts, but to be able to catch a 40% off sale makes it an even better value.

 

 

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