This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Ashmei is a high-end sportswear brand that’s launching its first road cycling kit for delivery in early 2015. The range includes hydrophobic bib shorts, a merino jersey and a softshell jacket, and here's a sneak peek.
Just because it’s the first time you’ve seen the Ashmei logo on a jersey, it doesn’t mean the brand is new to cycling – designers Blue Associates bring years of experience in the sport, having previously created designs for Rapha and Vulpine, among a slew of other sportswear companies.
Ashmei says that the gear is designed for performance, quality and style, in that order, hence the high pricetag – and that if the range couldn’t beat its nearest competitors – Assos, Castelli and Rapha – it wouldn’t bother in the first place.
Ashmei cycle bib shorts
The bibs use hydrophobic material that was developed for the company's new tri suit
At £235 / US$370 / AU$429, the bib shorts certainly sit at the more expensive end of the scale for this piece of bottom-protecting, leg-hugging and modesty-protecting apparel.
Available in black only, a woven fabric is used for the lower section that gives 40 percent stretch (compared to regular Lycra, which has 20 percent stretch) to allow plenty of movement without riding up. The material has a much more tightly-packed structure than a knitted fabric, and is windproof and water-resistant. It’s really impressive how water just beads off the fabric, which was originally developed for the company’s new triathlon suit. Ashmei says it's also breathable and won't overheat.
The wide straps are made from Italian Lycra, and feature lazer-dotted holes for breathability as well as merino wool over the shoulders for comfort. There’s virtually no stitching across the whole shorts, instead Ashmei opted for ultrasonic welding – the melting of two materials together – to minimise chafing and maximise strength.
The chamois has been designed to minimise the horrible feeling of post-coffee stop wetness by limiting the use of sponge to wide but thin panels and a smaller mid-layer. The sections of the pad that actually maintain contact with the skin are made of dense foam that doesn’t soak up water but offers comfort and buzz absorption. The chamois is then bonded into the seat of the shorts.
Ashmei cycle jersey
The jersey has a classic look and comes in three combinations of black, red and grey
Ashmei’s jersey is priced at £95 / US$150 /AU$173. It's not jaw-droppingly expensive compared to the competition, but the company has built in plenty of nice features to please cyclists. The jersey is made from an exclusive merino-carbon blend that gives the fantastic heat regulation of merino while adding ultra-fast wicking thanks to the carbon, which spreads moisture for quick evaporation. The merino means it won’t stink horribly after a sweaty session either.
There are two main rear pockets complete with a little strip of grippy silicone at the top to help avoid accidental ejection of nutrition products. Each of these pockets also has a large zipped section, making four decently sized pockets in all. The hemline has also been given the gripper treatment on the inside while the outside has a line of reflective tape.
It's available in red, grey or black with accent colours.
Ashmei cycle jacket
The jacket has an asymmetric zip to avoid neck chafing
Ashmei claims its new softshell jacket (£210 / US$330 / AU$380) is as waterproof as it gets but also extremely breathable and completely windproof. The waterproofing covers the entirety of the front as well as the rear shoulders and pockets area, but there’s a large merino panel on the back in order to let heat escape, avoiding clammy build up throughout the jacket. Ashmei also says this panel maintains its heat regulatory properties even when wet, so riders won’t feel cold and damp.
Six rear pockets cover all your storage needs including two large pouches, a thinner section that's ideal for a mini pump, an interior zipped section for emergency cash and an iPhone-sized zipped pocket with internal headphone cable routing.
There’s a dropped tail that is secured by magnets and easily flips down to cover your rear. Italian Lycra cuffs helps stop chilly gusts of wind entering the sleeves. The front zip is asymmetric, to avoid zip-on-zip irritation at the throat, and there’s also a handy key pocket on the inside of the zip.
The range is currently supported by a merino beanie (£25 / US$39 / AU$45), merino-carbon socks (£13.50 / US$21 / AU$24) and a merino-carbon neck gaiter (£25 / US$39 / AU$45), but Ashmei is planning to broaden the range with a long-sleeved jersey, winter tights, overshoes, gloves, mid-layers, arm warmers and leg warmers. A women’s range is also coming soon.
The cycling range is available for world-wide pre-order now for delivery in February, discounts are currently available through Ashmei’s kickstarter campaign.