Cyclocross Magazine Review - Issue #4, Fall '08

Wabi Woolens Merino Wool Jersey

    Wabi is a new Portland, OR clothing company that specializes in merino wool jereys made right in Portland.  With the city’s wet weather and huge cyclocross turnouts, what better locale than Portland to develop, test, and manufacture a jersey perfect for cyclocross? The Wabi Woolens merino wool jersey’s soft, thick texture resembled that of an old, forgotten favorite sweater.  Throw it on and it feels like an old favorite – it's warm, comfortable, non-binding, and invites you to just hang out in it all day.  In fact, after its recommended initial wash, I did just that, and after a few hours, without even riding in it, I was already a fan.
    On the bike, the jersey did not disappoint.  In rain (okay, a cold summer fog) or with sweat, the wool’s amazing wicking properties kicked in, and it didn’t cling to my skin like a synthetic fiber might.   Its sleeve and back length were sufficiently long; it wasn’t baggy or tight in any specific area; it conformed to my body well without feeling like a girdle; and frankly looked good without calling attention to itself with large branding, stripes, logos, or a catalogue of posed pictures condoning helmet-less riding.  And for once, I was able to enjoy a post-ride burrito without looking like I just climbed off the bike.
    The only possible downside could be Wabi’s strong recommendation to only hand wash the jersey.  But it’s a quick process, and a habit that actually allows you to wear it sooner without having to wait for the next load of laundry – something you’ll appreciate when it quickly becomes your favorite cool-weather jersey.  At $140, we can’t say it’s cheap, but compared to other wool options, we can say it’s a great value.