Luluemon Athletica has become a clothing giant in North America in less than two decades, and while they started off making yoga clothes, like any good Northwest company, they have branched out rather significantly across the spectrum of athletic apparel, aimed mostly at women. It's always been more about performance than straight fashion, but given their popularity it's clear they check both boxes.
It's also maybe sorta clear that they are on to the fact that Cycling is the sport to be paying attention to these days. Lululemon sponsored what had been the ultra-successful HTC-High Road women's team for three seasons, as Specialized-Lululemon, led by Evelyn Stevens, Trixi Worrack, Ellen van Dijk and the great Ina-Yoko Teutenberg in her last active seasons. The team now races under Velocio-SRAM, and Lululemon's support is missed by some, I'm sure, but three good years was a pretty fair contribution.
Now that sponsorship is starting to make sense, as Lululemon has released its first men's cycling kit, the Sea to Sky line featuring bibs, jersey and vest. It's well-made performance wear, light on bling but long on features to emphasize comfort and fit. Let's dig in:
For me this is what counts. A good chamois and the right fit of the material is as important as any clothing feature. I rate the chamois decently, based on a couple months' worth of use. It's been very comfortable. I don't know how it will hold up in the long run -- it's not thick, but that's a good thing at least at the outset. But until it stops functioning for me, I'll say it's good.
Better still is the overall construction. The upper portion is part mesh over the center of the back, where you want the ability to breathe.
The lower part is very solid and firm, my own personal preference, and both wicks and repels moisture effectively. Also, you know a bib is designed well when it feels a bit funny standing up. It all fits into place in the riding position, and the firmness of the material becomes apparent in this way.
The thighs are sprinkled with reflective beads and a band along the bottom, which seems unlikely to make a difference at night without proper lights, but why not? I don't love the gel strip on the inside to keep the short legs from riding up, but can live with it.
Similar to the bibs, this item emphasizes material and air-flow more than looks. The back has a nice mesh section where you'd want it, and the pockets are useful, particularly given the integrity of the material. Beyond that, it's pretty straightforward. Seams are not annoying, some reflective material doesn't hurt, and the Luxtreme fabric wicks sweat well.
I'm more of a fan of the vest. It's snug, warm but breathable, kept me dry back when it still rained in Seattle, and has a nice feature in the back where the pockets are next to, not over, the spine of the vest:
Closer up of the back:
The idea is that you can put a bottle in your jersey -- might be more of a triathlete thing? but I've done it at times -- and whatever you put in the vest pockets will be offset, not on top of the bottle. Score.
Here's the look all put together... and with some nice PdC touches:
Podium Cafe armwarmers sold separately.
Interested? You can order from Lululemon's online store.