Voler’s New Black Label Cycling Kit Reviewed
Before they started producing the Black Label kit, the folks at Voler must have secretly infiltrated the Batcave’s closet because the Black Label is definitely Batman’s go-to kit when he kills double centuries. Decked out in black, this jersey and shorts are like no other kit I’ve ever tried–you have to ride in it to believe it.
Voler was kind enough to fit me out with a Black Label jersey, shorts, and matching socks for this review, and I put the kit through its paces on three rides of various distances. While I usually try to stay objective with all my product reviews and keep from gushing, Voler made it tough with this kit–from the moment I opened the package I could tell this jersey and shorts were outstandingly sleek and deserved to be described with superlatives.
Slipping on the Black Label immediately proves there’s something just a bit different about this kit. Voler has pulled out all the high-tech bells and whistles to create perhaps the most comfortable cycling clothes on the market. I usually try to walk around in a kit for a while to truly test its comfort level, and the Black Label shines. The Comp pad all but disappears while you stroll, and the shorts don’t bunch in awkward places. In fact, just meandering around in the kit makes you feel fast–like you could walk a sub-two-hour marathon and still feel fresh and stylish.
As for the shorts, I hesitated before pulling them on since my closet is full of bibs. But the elastic-free waistline quickly cured my fear of muffin-top with a somehow flawless transition from short to skin. No gaps, no bunching, just perfection.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: this is all sounding too good to be true. But it’s true. There’s just something about this kit that whispers “flawless.” And no, Voler isn’t paying me to say this–they’ve obviously done plenty of homework to reach this level.
Features & Performance
With a slightly longer and roomier cut (but still definitely a race fit), the Black Label jersey feels lightweight yet sturdy. The fabric is thin without being frail or feeling like it could snag or tear easily. Elastic-free, Power Band sleeves sit slightly lower on the arms, which seems a bit strange at first, but after a quick adjustment they sat snug about midway down my upper arm. The tiny bubble grippers lining the edge of the sleeve seemed to disappear, leaving only a clean edge of fabric.
With the usual three deep and secure pockets in the back, the jersey also sports a fourth zippered pocket with reflective piping. This added bit of storage, although simple, is a genius addition for cyclists like myself who like to keep flat repair off the bike. I stuffed keys, money, and identification where I felt it would be more secure behind the zipper, but it’s large enough to fit GU packets, a tightly packed tube and compact patch kit, a C02 pump, etc. You can actually stuff all your flat repair in the small pocket (although it can get a bit bulky if you overload it). Even my iPhone 5 in its watertight case fit in the zippered protection of the extra pocket. The added space is excellent and sorely needed–it’s a wonder all jerseys don’t sport this feature.
The vented sides of the jersey and shorts seem to actually suck heat away from your body while riding. The fabric appears to work with you as you pedal and draw not only sweat (there’s no moisture ever trapped in this fabric–not a drop) but also excess body heat behind you–it seriously feels as though its propelling you forward and expelling any fatigue behind you to urge you on. I’m pretty sure this kit actually started running behind and pushing me any time I hammered the pedals or approached a tough climb. During every ride in Black Label, I kept repeating to myself, “This kit has got to be doping.” 😉
While I was initially disappointed to unwrap shorts and not bibs, these are hands-down the most comfortable shorts I’ve ever pedaled in. The material is smooth and tight without feeling constricting. The Power Bands keep sausage legs at bay, and offer even compression throughout the length of the short. The Forza fabric works hard to fight fatigue–in fact, I felt that I could push myself a bit harder in the high compression fabric than in other shorts and the burn seemed to hold at bay for longer periods. Voler has refined this new Forza fabric from previous versions that had an almost abrasive feel.
While riding in the drops, I noticed one minor fault in the waistline. The thin fabric tends to roll down on its own volition at times and I found myself adjusting them from time to time. But aside from this minor irritation (which is a non-issue with bibs, just sayin’), these shorts embody high performance. Also, I’ve heard from the folks at Voler that in addition to their offering of bib shorts in the men’s collections, they will soon roll out women’s bibs for their popular collections. Great news for all us gals out there.
The new Comp HP pad takes a cue from Voler’s very popular Chrono SLM with the most agreeably pleasant chamois I have ever, ever worn. Yep, Voler has done it. They’ve created a pad with tons (and I mean hours and hours) of cushion, yet a low profile in all the areas you don’t want to feel it. The front portion of the pad is extremely thin to help it sit properly, but to also keep it from gathering and causing friction in sensitive areas. The back half is extremely dense without being diaper-like. You’ll realize just how amazing this pad rides even after several hours on the road.
The Final Verdict
This kit is worth every single penny. The USA-made quality shines through in every inch and detail of the Black Label. Not to mention the Batman-esque feeling you get outrunning even your shadow in this slick and silent new kit. You’ve got to ride it to believe it.
Ready to get your own Black Label kit? Head over to Voler’s website to snag your own. To help get you a bit closer, you can also grab $10 in Voler Bucks to discount your order just because you’re an awesome reader of SLO Cyclist–no catch, seriously.