The first time I put on something from Giordana was 1998. A pair of knee warmers my sister gave me. A birthday present, I think. 16 years later, I still have them and I still wear them. On the occasional cold ride I pull on those knee warmers and find the elastic still holds and they still keep out the chill. Thanks ‘sis.
It’s a bit puzzling that cycling wardrobes are not stocked with more Giordana. Italian styling, good fit and if a pair of knee warmers from the ‘90s is any indication, great durability. Why not have more of that? The company also does a good job of keeping there name out there. Two of the three cycling mags sitting on my night stand have full page Giordana ads. So where is all the Giordana?
Maybe it’s sticker shock. A glance at Giordana’s full line reveals some upper end pieces well over $200 and one pair of bibs just short of $300. But there is a silver lining in the Giordana catalog or should we say a Silverline, line. For about the cost of Giordana’s most expensive short sleeve jersey, one of the company’s $275 Silverline kits can be had.
The Silverline bibs and jersey remind of those knee warmers that have stuck with me through the years. It is a performance kit with a nod to durability. The Zaffiro Lycra was developed for the Silverline bibs. The jersey also got special attention with a cut and fabric that emphasizes comfort and cooling.
Giordana gave the Silverline jersey a slightly generous cut with the idea it could fit a wide range of body types, even us skinny types. I normally go for the Aero cut but the Silverline’s extra room in size medium was a nice change. The jersey stays with you but doesn’t stick to you and the bottom elastic is wide enough and strong enough to keep it at the waistline even with the three pockets full. I could have probably worn a small if I was looking for a race fit. The sleeves come down to mid bicep level and grip just enough to create a seal when wearing arm warmers.
The Microphase fabric is as advertised, extremely soft and lightweight. The texture made me ask, “Am I really wearing a cycling jersey?”
The bottoms take the opposite approach. While the jersey is soft and roomy, the bibs are sturdy and snug. Giordana says the bibs were designed to compress more than other manufacturers. Their aim is to increase blood flow and improve endurance. Giordana also told me that the Lycra should warm up and allow more movement a few miles into a ride. I never found this to be the case but I will say my quads always felt supported. There’s no mistaking, Giordana intends for these things to last. Ten rides into the Silverlines and they still feel like the day they came out of the package.
The positioning of the bib straps allows for greater chest exposure and in theory should vent more. At least one other Italian cycling apparel company has the same feature. They call it “free bib”. The design may allow more heat to dissipate but it would be nice if the straps were wider for a bit more comfort as they pass over the shoulders.
The chamois is a new one for Giordana, the Nimbo OmniForm insert. It has enough padding for your sub-three hour ride but for epic days it needs a little more give. The pad, like the Lycra, feels a little stiff but again, seemed “like new” even after ten rides.
Giordana specs the leg length at 11 inches which sounds long. They reached just past my cyclist tan line by an inch. Grippers are replaced by double Lycra cuffs. Great hold without the imprint.
There is an amazing amount of mixing and matching that can be done with this line. On the distributors website the jersey is shown 17 colors and 10 for the bib shorts. There are also shorts, tights, knickers, long sleeve jerseys, jackets, vests, arm warmers and an entire women’s line.
The gram counting, aero conscious racer may have little use for the Silverline jersey and bibs but for the rest it is a solid choice. The Giordana Silverline Kit has found a place in my Lycra closet, right next to those knee warmers.