Gear Review: Giro New Road Women’s Apparel

Apparel Women's

Saying no to pink—Giro takes a New Road (and trail) less travelled to women’s cycling apparel

Photo courtesy of Giro.

“Shrink it and pink it” has long been the bike industry’s approach to producing women’s cycling products. Now with more women riding than ever, savvy manufacturers are getting sophisticated and delivering more than just lip(stick) service. Case-in-point—Giro’s 22-piece New Road women’s apparel collection. Introduced last month, the line of relaxed-fitting bike clothes eschews the spandex, sponsor-emblazoned racer look in favor of more earthly tones and tailored styling. Like the pieces in the company’s men’s New Road line launched last year, these “regular” looking clothes come with hidden technical features cyclists demand.

“The New Road idea is that you can have apparel that complements your personal style, offers all of the performance you need on the bike, and allows you to keep going when the ride stops,” said Giro Senior Brand Manager, Eric Richter. “It’s about helping you to make the bike a seamless part of your life.”

With casual cycling and commuting on the rise, and road cycling events shifting from traditional racing and charity rides to something in between—gran fondos, dirt fondos, adventure rides and, ahem, gentlemen’s rides—that include dirt roads as well as asphalt, the timing seems right for Giro’s “New” direction.

Photo courtesy of Gerhard Gross.

But we have to ask, does this New Road Collection capture the cycling Zeitgeist or confuse its target market by looking “less enthusiast?” Is this women’s line truly differentiated or just Mini-Me menswear? Finally, can this clothing line really be everything to everyone from amped-up racer types to laid-back latte sippers?

We kept these questions in mind on our test rides and—since this is a line that’s “new” in more ways than one—tried to pay attention to how each piece made us feel, along with how it felt and performed. We focused on garments from three of New Road’s four categories:

  • Foundation—base layers closest to the body
  • Ride—tops and bottoms designed to go the distance for riders who need performance
  • Outerwear—tops and bottoms that provide insulation from the elements.
  • Mobility—tops and bottoms that are closer to everyday street wear (not tested)

The Giro New Road Boy Undershort is Statue of Liberty approved. Photo courtesy of Giro.

Foundation: Boy Undershorts — $70

Made of Giro’s Nycore merino wool, these shorts comfortably fit under any piece you want to throw on top and no one would ever be the wiser—no visible “panty” lines. We thought the “Triathlon Performance” chamois was an interesting choice and wondered if the sport-specific position of a time trialist would translate to other bikes.  But it was comfortable enough, standing up to rides up to two hours long. The undershorts come in “glowing red” or “dark shadow,” and the Giro branding on the band is so stylish, you won’t mind if it peeks out.

How we felt: A fun, sexy spin on the chamois short, but were not confident our lady-bits would approve after a long ride.

Bottom line: A great way to add comfort to your daily commute, casual cruise or coffee ride (without adding lines to your bottom).

Photo by Gerhard Gross.

Foundation: Base Layer Tops — $50–$60

The base layers available each do a few different jobs. You can get a three-pocket version that gives you options for storing snacks and tools on longer rides, or a no-pocket version that simply provides an extra layer of warmth and comfort. Both are thoughtfully cut to hit at the hips, where they won’t bunch under bibs, or sneak out of the bottom of your jersey. And they look so cute, we’d wear them on their own, too. Just be careful when it’s time to hit the shower—taking them off, we noticed they didn’t like being stretched too far, as evidenced by the uh-oh sounds of threads breaking.

How we felt: Why is this top so short? Oh, we get it.

Bottom line: Essential basics for every ride. But handle with care.

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About the author: Kristen Gross

Kristen Gross loves bikes, all sorts, and above all, XC mountain bikes. She races in the pro category and gets a lot of joy from teaching others the way of the trail as a mountain bike skills instructor—especially women who are just discovering cycling. She is a USAC-certified coach, and she runs her own freelance writing business based in Carlsbad, Calif. You’ll find her either writing or riding, bringing over 10 years experience to both. Why does she ride? To offset her addiction to Coca Cola and Lay’s Potato Chips.

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