A Review of Martombike Clothing 213 Pro Tour Jersey and 573 Pro Tour Bibshort.
The Polish manufacturer Martombike was founded in 2004 with the intention to provide not only an alternative to the already massively crowded market place, but to stand out from the crowd with their unique design and technical elements that distinguish them from the competition.
I always entertain a healthy amount of scepticism for unknown to me brands. Are they, in fact unique in any way? What is the added value compared to others. What makes them different?
After a brief conversation with the co-founder Tomasz Woźniak some of my questions had been answered. His omnipresent enthusiasm and general aspiring attitude is a good recipe to create a product that consumers will want to buy.
The lion’s share of the Martombike business consists of custom-made apparel [clubs, individuals, etc.] but their standard range of clothing is growing tremendously too. Thanks to word of mouth, Martombike has many well-known athletes who choose to wear Martombikes’ clothing voluntarily.
Also another distinctive aspect is their willingness to keep the design team as well as production in their home country, Poland, despite higher costs. This way quality control is managed directly and changes can be made immediately. The latter is all the more essential as this industry is subject to constant changes. So the ability to adapt quickly, thanks to local production, is a big bonus.
The set up standards, in terms of design, quality control, and production was established by Martombike. Nevertheless with this test of the Martombike jersey 213/573 bib-short set, I was comparing them against some highly regarded reference brands. It was all the more important for me as I wanted to see whether Martombike is truly able to be on par with established brands. Martombike also produces clothing for other sports. So up to a point, a technology can be transferred from one segment to another.
On first sight and touch, the sensation is a positive one. After checking even the smallest details on the set I found Martombike hadn’t made any ‘short-cuts’ in regard to quality and execution. In regard to high-performance clothing, it is of utter importance that the apparel doesn’t cause any irritation, need of adaptation, etc. It has to fit from the get go. The Martombike jersey 213/573 bib-short set felt like the proverbial second-skin. It wasn’t an outstanding, jaw-dropping perception, but it did the job nicely.
I wore both kits extensively, mostly on my 7-8 hour training rides in the Dolomites, and in road and MTB races too. The lightweight net-like, paper-thin material contributed to a cooling effect despite the soaring heat we experienced over the course of the test period. The back pockets are sized in a common standard manner. As always, trying the size of clothing before purchase is essential, even more so when a perfect aerodynamic fit is required.
The Martombike jersey 213/573 bib-short set felt snug, reminiscent of an Italian-cut. It’s tailor-made for ambitious riders and racers that don’t tolerate any unnecessary elements that cause air turbulence. Admittedly, not everyone is fond of a so-called ‘Italian-cut’. If you don’t like the snug fit, you can opt for an alternative from Martombike extensive portfolio. The set was also subjected to some torrential rains and while mud and nasty weather were rare it took the beating in its stride.
The material was unaffected by numerous washing cycles. The elasticity didn’t deteriorate, nor were there any rips or micro-tears. I won’t judge the design, colour and graphics as this is a personal thing. And as mentioned above Martombike will gladly design your own look, if you wish.
After the first ride, my initial notion of “me-too”, in regards to Martombike quickly disappeared. I trust their philosophy and the rationale behind the concept of keeping all things domestic. Granted it isn’t a 100% guarantee of outstanding quality and exceptional features. But this isn’t what Martombike claims to be the case. It is just something I expect from a company that wants to be on par with the established brands. And that’s enough for me, because it is hard enough to keep up with well-known brands we can comfortably rely on. Martombike’s portfolio is growing organically, and there is another flag-ship jersey/bib-short set that needs to be tested.
I am also intrigued to see how the Martombike jersey 213/573 bib-short set takes all the wear and tear; something only a long-term test can prove. Thus far, it’s a thumbs up for its comfortable feel, light weight, decent durability and cooling effect. The chamois was tested with and without chamois cream. This is another area of personal preferences, where everyone has to decide what does or doesn’t work for him/her. In this case, I had to apply a small amount of cream once my rides went beyond the five-hour mark.
But Martombike’s forte is definitely the sheer realm of possibilities to create an outfit according to your ideas. And if that is combined with a reasonably high standard of quality the future is bright for the brand.
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