If I had to wear a suit to work I suppose I would love to go all out at least once. And I mean really all out. Get on a plane, fly to Rome, and head for Kiton, maker of the famous K 50 bespoke suit. Fifty because it takes 50 hours to make and they only make 50 a year. They are measured and made by legendary tailor Enzo D’ Orsi—$68,000, ‘cuz every girl’s ‘bout a sharped dressed man.
The good thing about a $68,000 suit is it’s going to be something you can wear for a long time. Unless we get way too fat or give up the board room for a position in sanitation services, that suit is going to be there, waiting to be worn, always looking good. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said about our Lycra wardrobe. Even the high end pieces go from K 50 status to Friday casual in a matter of months.
It’s probably why a teammate of mine once asked me why people spend so much on nice kits. He just couldn’t imagine why someone would pay $300 or more on bibs when they would just end up stretched and stained. Okay, he is Scottish (aka frugal) but maybe he has a point. I mean maybe our money is better spent on something with more cycling longevity.
Cycling clothing manufacturers would beg to differ. They are fully aware that some of us are willing to shell out good money to at least feel like the Lycra we are sitting was tailor made for our tender zones. And no one knows this better than Giordana with its high end FR-C line. $450 for the bibs and matching jersey, tailoring not included but there’s a choice of 4 sizes: sm-xxl.
Sizing is something to take note of with the FR-C bibs. The primary fabric is a new one for Giordana, the HC50. It’s described as compressive power lycra (emphasis on the compressive). They are snug. I wear mediums in just about every manufacturer. The length was a little longer than say a comparable Assos, but the FR-C mediums had me thinking one size larger might offer a little more breathing room. They did give up some of their stranglehold after a half dozen rides and washes but RKP still recommends sizing up.
The sit bone-saddle buffer is the job of the Cirro Omniform Chamois. It’s their best. If you’re a minimalist when it comes to padding then you’ll be just fine. The chamois offers great freedom of movement. But, like we have noted before in other Giordana reviews, the pad could stand to be a bit wider. If your tailor says your sit bones are greater than 145mm, then the Cirro Omniform may lack the proper east-west coverage you need.
My K 50 suit would come with suspenders and I would ask that they be like the LoPro bib straps. Giordana has done it right with these. They are soft and wide and there’s not a seam in sight. Same with the leg bands: wide and comfy. Giordana says the bands are held in place with a silicone gripper. Funny, I didn’t notice.
The one thing I have noticed about Giordana’s sizing is that while their lowers tend to run on the small side, the tops are spot on. The FR-C short sleeve jersey is no different. It is race cut as we have come to know it. That’s to say the jersey is snug through the torso and its sleeves cut mid bicep. The fit gives the impression that the garment has been in the hands of a caring Italian tailor with 50 hours to spare.
My wife noted something about the jersey while riding on my wheel. She said the back looked like I was wearing my bibs over my jersey. I’ve been known to put on the occasional t-shirt inside out but this would be a huge mistake. What she was actually seeing was The FR-C’s Host Carbon rear “I” panel. Giordana says the shape of the panel countours over the shoulder, down the spine and wraps the kidney area to prevent sagging, kind of like bib straps. I love it when my vital organs are wrapped and my jersey stays at waste level. Gratzie Giordana.
But what I really love about this jersey is its bottom third. Strange that Giordana makes no note of the design or fabric about this in its jersey specs. What they have is a nice section of what feels like bib Lycra that snugs the jersey to the mid-section, creating a semi-skin suit affect. It keeps the full zipper from bunching up while in the drops. It’s kind of like a two button suit jacket: when the button stance is done correctly, it creates that slim looking deep “V.” Handsome.
Collars are another important part of a good looking suit. Well-made suits and properly fitted shirts mate perfectly. The FR-C Ergo Collar is sculpted for unrestricted head movement, but this maybe a case where the Griordana tailor went too far. The front of the collar has a low profile that is fine on a warmer days without a baselayer. But if you are a wearer of under garments that have a crewneck, then that base is going to be peaking out of the top front of the FR-C jersey. The only way to cover up the gap is to wear a tie. Bow, neck, ascot, cravat, whatever you like.
It’s weird that some men do not cut the stitching on their suit pockets believing that putting stuff in suit pockets will make the garment lose it shape. These men have obviously never been on a long road ride. Bars, tubes, multi-tool, extra water, small child, whatever we can jam in those three pockets, we go for it: jersey shape be dammed. Good thing the Giordana put an extra pocket on its FR-C jersey. It’s zippered and located outside the right pocket. There’s a stitched slit a headphone cable can be passed through. An iPOD easily fits inside the pocket but any of the smartphones are too much. Still, a nice touch.
I have a nice suit hanging in my closet. It’s no K 50 but it fits right and is well made. I usually wear jeans and a polo to work but maybe on my last day I’ll putt that suit on, head into work and announce I am leaving. Then in grand style, I take off the jacket, undo the tie, unbutton the shirt, drop the slacks and reveal what’s underneath it all: a Giordana FR-C Jersey and matching bibs. Ciao.