Kalas specialise in manufacturing quality customisable cycling kit. Both the Czech and GB national teams, the London 6 Days competition, and several pro and top amateur teams use their clothing. Kalas also supply to plenty of local clubs around where I live in Cambridge. You’ll also see their logo on the GB National Champs podium jerseys. Kalas have advanced equipment which enables them to produce excellent graphics and logos on your custom designs. The design they made me has crisp edges and looks great. They also have a decent range of women’s and children’s kit.
The PRO 76 Verano Ultra Jersey is Kalas’ top tier jersey. It’s made of lightweight, quality fabric and has heaps of great design features. The aero race cut is on trend, as are the longer, aero cut sleeves. The ARCO-PRO 29 Goffrato Bibshorts are Kalas’ premium level bibshorts. They’re made from Italian Goffrato fabric and I can tell by the look and feel that they’re a cut above the majority of bibs I own.
I’ll start with the PRO 76 Verano Ultra jersey. The Verano Ultra Jersey is so lightweight that you can see right through it. Coupled with the aero neck, this is a jersey for a serious racer. In the recent heat wave, with the temperature edging up near 30 degrees Celsius I’ve worn the jersey with a base layer, and without.
I’ve managed to find a baselayer with a similar cut around the neck so it doesn’t ruin the effect of the low-slung neck. Most of my baselayers are quite high around the neck, you also need to consider the colour and any design on your base layer as it can be seen through the thin material of the jersey. Without a base layer you can see the straps of your bibs, and any tattoos you may have!
What I did find was that even with a base layer the Verano Jersey was very light and airy, unsurprisingly ‘Verano’ is Spanish for ‘Summer’. Along my back where the fabric is less densely woven than the front I could feel the breeze as I rode, even on a 30 degree day without wind.
Although the jersey is recommended for relatively high temperatures and would be perfect for Summer trips to Spain and the Balearics, it’s not completely useless in the English season we laughingly call Summer. With a decent base layer and a ‘just in case’ gilet I’ve been riding with the Verano Jersey since mid-Spring, it dries quickly if it does get wet.
I was worried about its durability, but although the fabric is see-through (the back more so than the front, to keep the chill off your chest) that doesn’t mean it isn’t still quite tough. It’s been through the washing machine and scrunched up in kit bags, even hung out on the line with clothes pegs and there’s no sign of weakness.
There’s generous pocket space considering it’s quite a race focused jersey, with a plastic clip in the right hand pocket to attach the clear waterproof pouch that comes with the jersey. The pouch is big enough for the newer iphones, it fits my 4s in with room to spare and more importantly it fits easily into the jersey pocket. There’s also a reinforced headphone hole for your radio earpiece, or ipod headphones (but I’m not recommending you do listen to music whilst cycling).
There’s also the expected zip garage to keep the zip out of the way, and a reflective tag either side of the pockets to aid visibility at night. You’ll find a silicone strip around the waist of the jersey to keep it in place and some much more subtle silicone edging at the sleeves which does the job of keeping them from bunching up.
I’ve used the jersey at the Manchester Velodrome in a 24 hour relay race, and whilst I have no scientific proof of its aero effectiveness, we did win the race. You can feel the quality and the zip has a positive action so it’s easy enough to use with one hand. Sizing is a relative thing, Kalas use Continental number sizes. I found their sizing charts pretty accurate and if anything I found the sizing slightly on the generous side. If you wanted something slightly less focused Kalas has a great range of kit from PRO to novice.
The ARCO-PRO 29 Goffrato Bibshorts are a good all-round bibshort. They come with an Elastic Interface Endurance Pro pad, which isn’t intrusive but has a decent amount of cushioning. This pad has all-way stretch and excellent breathability and moisture transport characteristics as well as heat dispersion, friction reduction and natural bacteriostatic and antistatic properties.
The fabric used in these shorts has an embossed hexagonal pattern running through it, with a silky feel. This makes the shorts easy to slip on, even if you are a bit sweaty or damp. You know the situation, either you’ve just got out of the shower or you’ve got off after a hot ride and need to use the facilities, some shorts can be an absolute pain to get back on, but the Goffrato bibs just seem to pull on fairly easily.
The straps are very comfortable and they don’t dig into your shoulders. I have quite a long torso and relatively short legs so bibstraps are often quite snug on my shorts, so I’ll soon tell you if the straps are comfortable or not. There’s some neat venting panels on the back of the bib section and if you can find the radio pocket you’ll be impressed at how well Kalas have integrated it into the design.
The legs of the ARCO-PRO 29 shorts have a neat vent panel at the back. The leg gripper is quite a wide band of silicone backed fabric, about 40mm. Like the material in the shorts, the leg gripper isn’t so grippy that if you have hairy legs you don’t need to worry about your hair being grabbed. There’s still enough grip to keep the shorts in place and prevent bunching though, the shorts are fairly easy to put on without too much adjusting to get them to ‘sit right’.
I’ve been happy with the Kalas kit. Not only the jersey and bibshorts above, but the arm and leg warmers I tested were also very well designed and manufactured. The lead time on Kalas’ custom kit is quite short because they do it all in their own factory, which means they control the quality too.
The range of kit should cover most cyclists and Kalas are always working on producing new and innovative features for cycling kit, which is the main reason British Cycling wanted to work with them. I’ve enjoyed wearing the custom cycletechreview.com kit Kalas designed for us and I’ll be at various cycling haunts around Cambridge, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Essex with it, as well as at Revolve24 in September.