Friday, August 7, 2015

A Look at the HOY Vulpine Performance Range

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Ever since their launch in 2012, I have been a fan of the small British cycling apparel company Vulpine. But when they teamed up with olympic cyclist Chris Hoy to start the HOY Vulpine range earlier this year, to be honest the news did not really turn my head. I'm into Vulpine because I am into wool, quality, and good tailoring - not so much "collabos" with superstar racers. So the venture only really came up on my radar when gentlemen readers from the UK began emailing me to ask for a review. It was then I finally had a look at the attractive and surprisingly economical (made even more so by the massive sale currently on) HOY Vulpine range. And while a women's line was released simultaneously with the men's, since the inquiries I've been getting were coming exclusively from men, I tasked my in-house male model with putting it through the ringer - which he has dutifully done for about a month now.

Hoy Vulpine Performance Range
As far as the overall design, the HOY Vulpine Performance Collection (there is also a Casual range) looks and feels decidedly less eccentric than the pure-Vulpine offerings. The sleek El Toro bib shorts and lightweight Valldemossa race jersey follow fairly traditional roadcycling design parameters, with no functional deviations from what you are likely to find in so-called "normal" race or club fit cycling kit.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Whereas Vulpine apparel is liable to surprise you with buttons instead of zippers, unusually shaped pockets, and all manner of hidden quirky doo-hickeys, the HOY Vulpine kit is far more "normal," for lack of a better word, with prototypical road racing features.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Nonetheless, it is not without flair. The colour schemes - rich slate blues and charcoal grays with unexpected pops of red - makes it look quite lovely and "smart." The branding logos are visible, but tastefully incorporated into the overall aesthetics. And the contrasting stripey emblem that pops up in the zipper-pull and other details, adds an unexpected bit of visual ad tactile interest. The result is a cycling kit that looks tastefully minimal without coming across as stark or boring. And as with all Vulpine clothing there are no scratchy labels or irritating seams; the garments are streamlined and comfortable on the body.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
I would describe the fit of the HOY Vulpine Performance Collection as optimised for big guys. And I don't mean big as in out of shape. The shorts and jersey are quite form fitting and will not disguise rolls of tummy fat. What I mean is: big arms, big legs, broad-shoulders kind of big - the body type of a sprinter like Sir Hoy himself, or else of a muscular, broad-backed kind of guy whose physique just does not fit the scrawny-armed "cyclist" stereotype.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
My model, for instance, finds it difficult to find cycling jerseys where the shoulders do not burst at the seams in the drops position and the sleeve openings actually fit around his biceps without swathes of fabric fluttering in the wind around his torso. Likewise, he has trouble finding cycling shorts that go around his legs without being uncomfortably loose around the hips and crotch. The HOY Vulpine kit is one of the very few he has tried that actually fit him properly.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Why, there is even a bit of looseness around the sleeves when he is not in the cycling position!

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Both the jersey sleeves and shorts legs are on the long side, which is convenient for our rather cool "summer," as well as flattering. The perforated fabric of the full-zip jersey is silky-soft and drapes exceptionally well. It is also described as fast drying, temperature regulating and UV-resistant - made apparently with an "S.Cafe yarn" produced from coffee grounds. The bib shorts feature a mesh upper, non-irritating round grippers, and a CyTech pad that my model reports as very comfortable for distances of up to 50-odd miles.

All that being said, there is one other feature of the El Toro shorts that I am reluctant to bring up, as I am not sure how to say this tastefully... But okay, since this is a review say it I must: Compared to other cycling shorts, these bibs seem to have a bit of a "wonder-bra" effect on my model's front-end geometry (if you know what I mean!), accentuating it to a degree where it's impossible not to notice. So, gentlemen... whether you consider that a fantastic feature, or a mortifying one, is up to you. Just be aware that you may experience some "Hey, my eyes are up here!" moments whilst wearing the HOY Vulpine shorts.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
Swiftly moving on to the accessories! The HOY Vulpine Performance range includes some pretty  "Sprint" socks, which, my model reports, not only make him sprint faster but stay dry and non-smelly longer than ordinary socks.

Hoy x Vulpine Range
The simple and elegant cotton Trackside cap (available in the colors shown here, or gold!) features a flattering 3-panel construction and does all the things a cycling cap is meant to do with aplomb. When it comes to accessories, my model also notes that a set of arm and leg warmers might also be nice, in light of the Irish Summer!

Hoy x Vulpine Range
To summarise, the HOY Vulpine cycling kit for men is a performance-oriented, sporty, attractive, lightweight, and somewhat de-quirkified yet no less comfortable cousin of all that is Vulpine itself. At the moment, it also happens to be a downright bargain as far as quality cycling apparel goes, with the shorts on sale for £40, the jersey for £35, and the socks and cap for £6 each (both the men's and women's lines are on sale, while supplies last, prices are temporary, etc.).

With thanks to HOY Vulpine for the opportunity to review their new range, I wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing how things develop in future.

28 comments:

  1. He he, tanning in Ireland is a difficult challenge: it seems you have no risk to make solar tattoo.

    L.

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  2. The tendency to emphasize a man’s “special parts” in an unduly way is by no means limited to the HOY Vulpine El Toro shorts. That’s why I wear over-shorts such as the Rapha Touring Shorts year-round. Maybe it would have been a good idea to ask for a test sample of the HOY Vulpine Saitama Trail Shorts as well…

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  3. All manner of questions about the front end geometry come to mind. Low trail? High trail? Ease of, err, going no-hands? I'll stop now and get back to keeping an eye on the weather...

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    1. High bottom bracket + lots of rake...
      Agus cad e' mar ata' an aimsir?

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    2. Tá an freagra, mo chara, ag séideadh sa ghaoth.

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  4. Perhaps Dubya was wearing El Toros under his flight suit in that famous/infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo op? He is known to be an avid cyclist, though we don't claim him as one of our own.

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    1. Must not look this up.
      Must not...

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    2. Will save you the trouble-- http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=1619911

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  5. Any pair of cycling shorts I have ever tried draw more attention to my front end geometry than I like! That is why I cycle in cargo shorts.

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    1. Well done - bring on the cargo shorts, I think they look so much nicer than Lycra type cycling shorts.

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    2. My model is no stranger to cycling in ordinary clothing. But for pure "performance" cycling he prefers roadie cycling shorts with nothing over them, aesthetics be damned. It's a comfort/chafing thing.

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    3. I understand that performance riding is different to commuter/pleasure riding - of course you must wear what is most appropriate for pure performance riding - I can't imagine those competing in the Tour de France wearing casual cycling gear, rather like any other sport - jockeys for example must wear particular garments because they have taken horse riding to another level. A professional level in any sport requires consideration of all equipment, including apparel.

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    4. Perhaps this shall be the next Monday Mailbox topic : )
      "Why wear yucky cycling clothes?"

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    5. Every sport has a uniform, doesn't it?

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  6. http://road.cc/content/news/160461-david-millar-launches-chpt-iii-clothing-collection

    latest trend?

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    1. Well, it's either that or start one's own bicycle brand.

      One difference between the Millar collection and the HOY worth noting: the former is a special edition version of an existing Castelli range, whereas the latter was designed from scratch (and, if I'm not mistaken, is actually a separate brand).

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  7. Each sock £6?! The cheek of it! :)

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    1. Luckily, it's buy one sock, get the second free!

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  8. Do women instinctively try to de-tune the style of their partner? Maybe because it amuses them; or to make sure he stays all to themself?

    This is a good-looking man. Why not give him some clothes that aren’t too small? And while you’re at it, a bike, and a hat, that are big enough too. (And lose the shades; don’t you want the world to see the windows to his soul?) :-)

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    Replies
    1. You are damn right we do. Can't let the world see such gorgeousness unadulterated!

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    2. Sippie Wallace covered this concept.

      Thanks for such a nice review.
      there is Vulpine/Hoy kit in my immediate future.

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  9. OMG... I'm forever ruined by the "wonder-bra" bike shorts mental image!

    Maybe this is just me, but I can't for the life of me figure out why bike clothes are still made in such neutral colors. I look at that jersey and all I can think is how you'd be practically invisible because the color blends in perfectly with the asphalt road. Seriously, not a week goes by here in Denver without news of another cyclist killed or seriously injured by a car - I'm at the point that I won't even ride 3 blocks to the grocery store without my "yellow armor." Am I just overly paranoid?

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    1. You are very welcome!


      Re clothing colours... Actually I was just thinking to myself the other day, how funny it is that "hi-viz" clothing is basically camouflage around these parts - what with all the grassy pastures, gorse bushes, rapeseed fields and buttercup-infested meadows. One of the most visible colours (in the daytime) is - to my eye at least - black. Creates a stark silhouette of human figure against background.

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    2. Re clothing colors…I'm with EcoCatLady. I've been hit twice on the road w/o the clothing and have many more instances where cars will patiently allow my right of way while I've donned some serious visibility options.

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  10. Starting to understand your photography.

    You love your subjects. In most cases, it is a bicycle or the scenery. In this case it is a person. One can almost, no - one can actually, see this in the image produced.

    Generalizing more broadly, one can identify this in other fellow professionals, regardless of what they do. IMO you cannot find excellence without it. As for you - well done. I will continue to be a fan.

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    1. Thank you (though I think the photos here hardly suffer from excellence)! Photographing to me is a very physical process, almost a sense - like touching or tasting.

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  11. When I read the "wonder-bra" description I admit that I immediately scrolled through all the pictures. When I got to the only one that would have given me the appropriate view, I imagined Velouria snort-laughing. "Pervert!" she said through the hand on handlebar artistic wink.

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  12. I've been to Valldemossa today. It's a small world.
    Salutacions des de Mallorca!

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