PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : VERGE Strike Kit Review

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VERGE Strike Kit Review
Verge Sport (VergeSport.com) - makers of custom technical cycling apparel since 1999 are a brand who's profile might be a lot higher if they sponsored a Pro Tour team, but making and delivering pro tour level kit for local teams and riders suits them just fine.

The Verge Strike kit jersey & bibshorts is sleek, comfortable, and a great choice for teams & clubs looking for performance and value.

- Review by Jayson O'Mahoney -

One advantage of living in the digital age is that anyone's team or club can order very high quality kit from a whole range of jerseys, bibs, skinsuits and more. But with so many brands making so much kit, finding the right supplier for your own team is not so easy. Prices, lead times, design help, quality and range of styles and items are all boxes that need to be ticked before anyone zips up a jersey.

We've reviewed Verge kit before and given both their Carerra skinsuit and Schild CX jacket high marks, so we were looking foward to a closer look at the Strike Kit for road racing.

And even better was Verge's offer to make us a couple of custom PEZ kits so we could go through their custom design process from start to finished product.

 

Verge Who?
Verge Sport came to being after company founder, Michael Magur, spent a stint in Europe in the early 1990's on the road racing circuit. Dissatisfied with the technical apparel available at the time, Michael did something about it; in 1999, he founded Verge Sport to build cycling kit the way he wanted it. Almost seventeen years later, and Verge Sport's production experience and product range have grown to include cycling, running, triathlon and nordic sportswear - along with the claim of industry leading turnaround times and high quality garments.

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One big difference about Verge Sport is that they own their factory in Poland - so they have EU access to European textiles, a skilled eastern European labor force, and can control what gets made and when - so your order isn't getting bumped down the line by some megabrand who rents the factory for their own production (this happens a lot more than you'd think).

The evolution of their products is proof that they know what they're doing, and small details like the quality of the seams is cold hard proof that they're not cutting corners in production.

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Dealing with the Verge staff also revealed they know their stuff when it comes to custom sublimation and production of technical garments, but their low key, laid back and friendly manner that reflected their approachable attitude was further paid off with a small open booth at Interbike.

In the words of Magur: “We are athletes first and business people second so our approach is different than most. We look at everything we do through the eyes of a client and then reverse engineer the system.”

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Introductions over, PEZ received the opportunity to review one of Verge's best selling products, the Strike jersey and bib short combination.

Verge Strike Short Sleeve Jersey - $95 before volume discount
Verge's Strike jersey is constructed around the company's four-way stretch (StretchFIT) and I-Tech+ fabric. Combined, these fabrics deliver a sag free and aerodynamic fit in addition to built-in SPF 50 ultra-violet sun protection.  Sides of the jersey are made with Mesh-Tech fabric, which allow better ventilation and cooling. A full length zipper completes the front of the jersey.

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This jersey is a performance and race-oriented item. Its aerodynamic cut is designed to be worn skin tight, just like a skinsuit. For 2017, the Strike jersey has been designed specifically for "competition riders with a slim and trim physique".

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The sleeves fit snugly around the arms and stay in place with tiny and well spaced silicon dots.

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The full length front zipper is easy to operate, and the front waist band uses a very light silicon pattern to hold it in place without feeling too hot.  The stitch quality is top-notch throughout.

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The three pockets in back are nice and deep, with lots of room for racing and training stowage.  There's also a thin reflective strip across the rear waist of the jersey.

Pay close attention to Verge's sizing chart when it comes to fit -  it gives very accurate sizing details that may vary from what you think you are.   With the uber svelte Strike kit, I needed to upsize on the jersey from my usual size small to a medium.

Verge Strike Bib Shorts - $105 before volume discount
Like the matching jersey, the Strike bib short is a performance and race-oriented item designed for those with a lean and slender physique.

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The Strike bib short utilizes another four-way stretch fabric (Synapse) to provide a tight fit while helping aerodynamic efficiency. The bib strap is designed in such a way as to prevent overheating - unlike many bib shorts on the market, the navel area is exposed for maximum cooling effect. At the bottom of the shorts, the "Clutch+" gripper band keeps the legs in place but with minimal tension. Additionally, the gripper area of the shorts can be printed upon should your custom design require it.

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Donning the Strike shorts, I was pleased with how the material felt on my legs, the quality of the chamois and the bib section of the shorts.

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The bib section is a little different to what I am used to; rather than the straps typically covering my man bits, these sit to the outside of the chest to allow better ventilation and moisture transfer across the front.  It felt a bit strange at first, but that disappeared after a few minutes.

The bib front is much lower cut than a lot of other bib shorts. While this exposure won't do any favors if you're having a fat belly day, it does lend well to overall cooling which is splendid on a stifling hot day.

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The leg grippers feel good on the legs and come in three different lengths - 45mm, 70mm and 90mm leg bands. For those riders who like the look and feel of longer shorts, you will certainly appreciate the extra coverage.

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Finally, the P-Endur+ chamois is very comfy.  The 4-way stretch fabric is a soft fleece which is dimpled to allow for better airflow and cooling.  The padding is thickest at the sit bones (but the chamois is trimmed down so it's not an oversized butt-pad), then splits to a small gap under the perenium.  Verge offers a range of chamois as well (different models for men & women, and road, tri, track, and kids)  - with this one falling in their mid-range - the new for 2017 Nudo is even sleaker, and should be a hit with racers.

The 2017 bibs get a fabric and pattern upgrade and also a new chamois option - the race / performance oriented Strado chamois with a higher density and firmer foam than the P-Endur+ chamois we tested.  Or you can order their Nudo chamois at no extra charge -it uses tame firm foam density but 2mm thicker with a more endurance oriented shape.


How do the Strike Jersey and Bib Shorts Ride?
I spent at least 40 hours wearing the kit, between a mix of two to three hour road rides, and several five to six hour long gravel rides. Temperatures were anywhere between 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23C) - 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34C) with moderate to high humidity. Due to the kit's lightweight nature and advanced fabrics, the shorts and jersey never had me overheating during the warmer temperatures we typically experience towards the end of summer in North Central Florida. The kit wicks moisture well and was extremely comfortable to ride, even during several of the long gravel training rides I did in the kit. I always use chamois cream of some kind, but the shorts never gave me any trouble - wear and forget.

This is a sharp looking kit reminiscent of wearing a skinsuit. I received several compliments from riders on how good the kit looks, which is always a positive! In addition to looking good, the kit just feels fast. Whether the Verge Strike jersey and bib shorts offer any true aerodynamic advantage remains to be seen, but the placebo effect of looking and feeling good cannot be denied.

Conclusion
The Verge Strike bib shorts and jersey are of high quality construction - there were no loose ends or stray pieces of fabric present after my test period, even after at least eight visits to my washing machine. No special requirements for care - I always washed the garments in cold water and mixed them in my regular wash - then, hang dry.

I feel the zipper on the front of the full-zip Strike jersey is a weak point. Historically, I've broken several undersized jersey zippers in the past. While the zipper on the jersey didn't fail, I'd much prefer to see a heavy duty YKK zipper in the place of Verge's offering. As alluded to earlier, I'd prefer the shorts to be at least two inches shorter, but in no way did that detract from my riding experience.

If you want a kit that has you looking and feeling fast, Verge's Strike bib shorts and jersey are worth considering. Quality doesn't come cheap, but considering the high quality and aerodynamic fit of these garments, a starting price of $95 for the jersey for quantities of 1 - 24 is very reasonable. Likewise, the bib shorts start at $105 for quantities of 1 - 24, again very reasonable.

Off the top I also mentioned that you won't find Verge Sport on any Pro Tour teams, and while that does add a certain cache to a brand's image, it's by no means required to produce top level gear.  But if that kind of association matters - you might like to know that you can find Verge Sport kit on teams and events like: TopSport Vlaanderen Women's, EFC-Etixx (Belgium), CCB, Cycle Smart Northampton International Cyclocross race, Happy Tooth Pro Women’s Cycling Team, Hot Tubes, Stan’s No Tubes Women’s Mountain Bike Team, KMC Cyclocross Festival – winners jerseys, Vittoria NECX Series - leaders jerseys, Gateway Harley Davidson, Night Weasels Cometh cyclocross race, NEXT/Wyman program, Bucks County Classic, Chris Leigh – professional Triathlete, MABRA cyclocross series leaders jerseys, Longsjo Classic – leaders jerseys and more.

For more information on Verge's Strike jersey and bib shorts and their entire product range - visit Verge Sport's website at https://www.vergesport.com

* Jayson O’Mahoney also publishes as the Gravel Cyclist: a website about the gravel cycling experience.




The Verge Sport CUSTOM ORDER Process

- By Richard Pestes - 

As mentioned, Verge offered to make up a couple of kits (2 x jerseys & 2 x bibshorts) so that we could go through their custom design process and see what what a finished product would look like.

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Actual artwork sample sent to me hours after I'd supplied the Verge creative team with my detailed brief to go for a "Faema look".

To frame this up, we started with my somewhat vague creative directive to come up with something "retro - maybe like Faema or Molteni".  Granted - we weren't really breaking any new ground - but it's true that I favor simple designs that stand out more for their graphic look than printed words or logos, so I wanted to see how Verge Sport would come up with PEZ.

As chief designer of PEZ kit for the past several years, I've come to enjoy the process of cooking up an idea, and then working with a graphic designer to create a cycling kit that I think looks cool. I've worked with many different brands and design processes, and throughout I was impressed by the quick responses and creative thinking that Verge's team delivered.

So something like 30 emails and 3 weeks later I'd signed off on the designs they prepared and delivered to me at Interbike. They sent me two original concepts to cover off my Faema & Molteni ideas, and after I picked the Molteni theme - we spent most of the design time tweaking details like logo sizes, placements, and color bands on sleeves and leg cuffs.  They did an impressive job returning design revisions quickly and accurately.

But a four piece order is not something anyone would normally order (although their actual minimum order can be as low as five pieces), so I asked Ed Nessen, Verge's Director of Sponsorship & Customer Service Specialist for some details on custom ordering:

"From final order submission to the factory, orders ship in 11 days. For final order submission the following steps are needed:

1) Final sales order confirmation
2) Final art approval
3) Deposit payment

I usually like to leave an average of two weeks of lead time before order submission to finalize the sales order and artwork. It can be as short as a few days to as long as several weeks or more, mostly depending on how long it takes the customer to provide sizes and quantities and how complex/how many revisions the art process requires. Timing can also be affected by available production capacity at the factory depending on current seasonal volume. The actual production time is the same for all countries."

The whole process can be complicated and time consuming, but Verge's success has come from doing it right.  Their website is so complete you can actually do everything you need to place an order without actually talking to someone (if you so desire), but for most of us they have actual people on hand to help you get everything dialed.

This is the third round of Verge kit we've tested, and the 4th different set of testers, and we've been impressed every time.  Bottom line here is that as custom kit season is upon us - Verge Sport might be worth checking out for your own team or club.

• See the website at VergeSport.com

 

 

 


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