Making a great cycling jersey is all about the details. Small and subtle attention to seams and panels in just the right place come together for a perfect fit and a stylish outline. The only miss is the large branding on the rear.
Zippered valuables pocket
Just right length for collar, front panels, and sleeves
Tonnes of colour options
Zipper isn’t easy to get down one handed
Sweat shows even after it dries
Branding is far too prominent on the back
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Summer is finally here for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Right on schedule, we have long days and warm weather to facilitate races and long days of adventuring on a bike. It's finally time to break out your best summer kit. These are the pieces that represent the highest technology most brands offer. Not only that but, particularly with the best cycling jerseys, it's also an opportunity to bring your own sense of style to the table. Something that looks as good as it performs.
With that in mind, we spent time looking at a jersey from PAS Normal Studios. The brand is well known for premium pricing and an emphasis on fashion so we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We had a chance to spend a lot of hours testing one of the twelve colours available in the aero-fit Mechanism jersey and now we are ready to share our findings. If you've heard about the brand but are unsure if the jerseys are worth it, keep reading to see what we like and what we don't. Perhaps PAS Normal Studios will be the next addition to your summer cycling wardrobe.
Design and aesthetics
One of the reasons that PAS Normal Studios finds itself at the centre of so many discussions is that it is one of a handful of fashion-focused brands. In the case of the Mechanism, the style is a clean colour block design with a choice of 12 colours available. Far from the bright and bold design you might see on a WorldTour athlete, PAS Normal Studios uses rich shades you aren't used to seeing in a cycling jersey. Yellow is nowhere in the list but nestled among the twelve options are names like bronze and purple. There is a shade of red but it's got a twist that sets it apart from what you'd expect.
It’s worth mentioning that the breadth of colours is only possible because PAS Normal Studios uses dye sub-printing on white fabrics. You might have encountered this technique in older garments and found it lacking, frequently you’ll see the colour wash out as the fabric is stretched and it can feel cheap. However, with the Mechanism, PAS Normal Studios has used a high-quality print and perhaps most importantly, a fabric that accepts the colour well.
The look has a graphic quality that the brand further bolsters with a generous use of its branding. On the left of the chest is a small wordmark that says "PAS Normal Studios International Cycling Club." The kerning isn't quite perfect but it's obviously had care applied to the size and shape of the all-caps sans-serif text. In the rear is a much larger application of the text, where you'll find the letters "P, N, and S" with another all-caps "International Cycling Club" below it.
PAS Normal Studios isn't only about style though. Or perhaps more accurately, it has also used performance features to shape the style. There has been no wind-tunnel testing and there are no claims of aerodynamic performance but the Mechanism still represents the brand's aero jersey offering. Think of it as performance for the sake of design with the design language of aero optimisation used to deliver on style.
That's not all bad though, the Mechanism might not be wind tunnel tested but those design details have been well used. The fabric is exceptionally light and silky with the front panels being solid. Almost all the seams use flatlock stitching and as you move away from the front panel, the fabric changes to a lightweight mesh. The entire rear of the jersey is a single piece of lightweight mesh, which covers the entire back, the top of the sleeves, and curves over onto the shoulders. The nice tall collar is one place where there's been a departure from the aero look.
Another aero jersey departure is the use of wide elastic banding at the end of the arms and the waist. Although the body of the jersey isn't dyed fabric, it's printed, the elastics use dye so there's no white to peek through as they stretch. The inside of the elastic features silicone grip material; in the rear, the width helps support the pockets.
The pockets themselves use the heavier, non-mesh, fabric of the front panels and rely on the material stretch to keep things secure. There is a large circular reinforcement at the intersection of each pocket though and an elastic edging at the top. There's also a fourth, zippered, pocket with a clever internal structure that sits against the back while the larger pocket sits above it.
One of the hardest things for a jersey to deal with is the fit at the lower abdomen. PAS Normal Studios nails a few pieces that all come together to make the Mechanism jersey work really well in this area. The front panels are long enough that in most cases they don't creep above the bib shorts when standing but when bent over on the bike there's not a bunch of extra fabric to ripple and bulge. At the very bottom, the big wide elastic gripper does a good job keeping the hem from creeping up but it also provides a lot of structure at the bottom of the jersey. Then, the final detail that works to make a perfect fit in this area are the side panels. The fabric is just a bit higher, at 14 per cent, in elastane content and combined with the right tailoring and a tight fit, the effect is flattering and comfortable.
The other detail that I look for in my favourite jerseys are the performance of the pockets. PAS Normal Studios does not use any kind of expandable gusset in the design of the pockets but they do place them at just the right spot on the back and help stabilise them with a lot of structure. Below the pockets the wide waist gripper keeps them from sagging or bouncing. At the top of the pockets themselves the use of elastic edging keeps them open so you can reach in while riding. Then, designing the zippered pocket so it sits underneath the primary pocket means if you've got keys or a credit card in there the fabric won't stretch against it when you stuff the pockets. It's a small detail but it's a clever way to add longevity.
One detail that some people may find lacking is the zipper. For those with salty sweat, it's a small tooth metallic zipper that will be prone to degradation over time. For everyone else, it's still not ideal as it's impossible to get open one handed. The neckline on the Mechanism jersey is a highlight and there's a large zipper garage that makes sure you aren't going to experience chafing at the top of the zipper. That part is great but it's so big that it's tough to find the zipper under it. Once you do, it's too stiff to pull down without a second hand.
Personally, this isn’t a jersey I tend to unzip when riding. The fabric is light and silky and, as mentioned, most of the piece is mesh, so even as the temperatures rise this summer, you can grab this jersey for the hottest rides and you will remain comfortable.
When it gets wet, the fabric is quick to dry. I’ve even headed out to ride with the jersey still wet from the washing machine and had it dry well before even a short mid-week ride was coming to a close. You will need to wash it after every ride though as even though the fabric will handle the heat and dry fast, it does leave temporary sweat stains. Some colours are likely to show that more than others but it’s noticeable in the Dark Olive colour option shown here.
The sleeves and shoulders are another high point. Using a single piece of fabric that wraps over the top of the shoulder is an excellent way to keep the mobility high at the shoulder. As you reach forward on the bike the fit remains comfortable with no movement restriction. The length is perfect for the aero look but never long enough to interfere with the bending of the elbow. The wide elastic is just the right level of compression too. Everything just feels right on the arms.
The PAS Normal Studios Mechanism jersey has quickly become one of my favourite options. Something I grab over and over even when I should be testing different pieces. The fabric is comfortable and the colour is great. The fit is perfect for me and this is a jersey I love to use when I want to show up to a group ride and look good but also when I am heading out on my own and want to feel my best.
I would have given this jersey a perfect score if not for a few mis-steps. The zipper isn’t quite right and although the fabric is a joy to wear it does show sweat stains despite being quick to dry. The biggest mis-step for me though is actually related to aesthetics. As good as the Mechanism looks, the large P N S in centre of the back isn’t my favourite look. I’d prefer to let the fit and colour handle the visual communication and instead keep the branding to a minimum.
|Easy to reach with plenty of structure and space plus an extra zippered pocket.
|Taller than some but not tight and very comfortable.
|Small metal teeth and impossible to operate one handed.
|Ultralight, tons of mesh, excellent in the heat.
|Ability of waist to stay put
|Fashion appeal (does it look/feel good)
|It looks amazing but the branding pulls it down.
|True to standards.
|Silky feel and a joy to wear.
|Row 9 - Cell 1
Tech Specs: PAS Normal Studios Mechanism Summer Jersey
- Price: £150 / $200 / €180
- Weight: 97 grams in size small
- Size availability: XXS-XXL
- Colour Options: Bronze, Purple, Black, White, Petroleum, Dark Olive, Navy, Dark Grey, Green, Deep Red, Dark Blue
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