If there were any one specific value my parents imparted to me, it was to value what you have. Because I came from a working-class family, what money we did have had to go to the right places. That never meant to always cheap out, but we would look for value. Instead, we purchased what we thought would last over what had the flashiest looks or newest technology. That mindset sticks with me to this day, and I consider myself to be value-oriented in a world where it’s easier than ever to spend money without receiving anything of consequence. And as counter-intuitive as it sounds, I consider the Q36.5 SS Jersey L1 Pinstripe and Q36.5 Salopette L1 Dottore Bib Short to be one of the most value-oriented pieces of cycling I have.
Those already familiar with the Q36.5 line of cycling apparel know that Q36.5 is anything but inexpensive. But let me explain: in my four months riding in this bib and jersey several times a week, at the peak of winter riding, through two different crashes, and several-times-per-week washes, my bibs and jersey are as good as new. Admittedly, I’ve yet to see how well these pieces work under summer heat, but after the amount of work these have put in, I’m confident they’ll continue on strong.
What makes Q36.5 different from the rest? We’ve gone into the Italian brand’s history and their use of proprietary fabrics in past posts, but it comes down to their use of proprietary fabrics developed and excellent garment cut and styling of the garments. There’s quite a bit of tech that goes into both their jersey and bib, which I’ll detail below.
It’s just a jersey, right? Well, yeah, but there’s nearly as much tech here as there is in my phone. What’s immediately noticeable is how light the jersey is, especially considering the material is thicc with two Cs. Q36.5 says this is a summerweight jersey, but it certainly feels more substantial than any summer jersey I’ve worn before. Once I put on the jersey, I noticed how “shaped” it felt; the SS Jersey L1 pinstripe is meant to fit perfectly on the bike, which makes the jersey feel especially odd if I’m just walking around. Q36.5 has a lot to say about the “snug but not constrictive feel” offering “support for a balanced position that accordingly reduces muscular fatigue on longer or more intense rides”, but I didn’t NOT feel those things.. so take it as you may.
The material is light and soft, and so far has done an excellent job playing double duty. With a base layer, jacket, and neck gaiter at 25 degrees F, the jersey blended right in. And at 50 degrees F and a set of arm warmers, the jersey was plenty comfortable too.
Each SS Jersey L1 Pinstripe has tightly-spaced pinstripes found on each jersey, regardless of jersey color. This a recent addition; the jersey features 2g of silver in those threads. The idea is that silver has a high thermal conductivity, drawing excess heat and moisture to keep the body in ideal thermal stasis. Outside of silver being inherently anti-bacterial, the brand also claims that the silver protects the body from electrostatic interference from wireless technology, allowing active muscles to operate with less “distractions”. Again, I didn’t NOT feel my body be protected by electromagnetic radiation. Maybe I’ll notice when temperatures rise.
And the bibs? Long story short, these Q36.5 Salopette L1 Dottore bib shorts are my secret weapon any time I need to put in a bit of effort. Like swapping out for carbon wheels on race day or going from a 25-lb bike to a 15-lb bike, the L1 Dottore makes me feel more capable than I would be with any of my other bib shorts.
What makes these wünderbibs my secret weapon? Perfect compression. Whether it’s an hour of power or a big, 100+ mile day, the chamois is very comfortable, if lacking in the wow features of a few brands. But the fabric is key. In hand, the L1 Dottore feels kind of like crepe paper but compresses just right everywhere: high compression around the laser-cut leg bands, and low compression as you get closer to the waist. Q36.5 says the fabric has eight different “gradual compression zones”, which makes the bib feel almost like it’s custom-tailored to you. Instead of that stuffed sausage feeling of some other high-performance bibs, the L1 Dottore feels lighter and much easier to move in, with plenty of compression toward the knee and minimal compression closer to the hip. There are no silicone grippers, but the bib stays in place very nicely; no binding or pinching, no poorly placed seams that are found on even more high end bibs. There’s even silver in the threads for the same reasons as in the jersey. But on longer rides, where compression helps support tired muscles, the bib feels as good as anything else I’ve used, and very luxurious to boot.
The Salopette L1 Dottore bib doesn’t feel as meaty to the touch as the SS Jersey L1, and it doesn’t feel as substantial as the L1 Essential bib. Despite that, the material is surprisingly durable. No crashes to speak of yet (knock on wood), but riding in them at least twice a week with washes between each ride has shown no wear on any part of the bib or on the fabric stitching. I’m going to continue wearing them regularly to see how they respond to heat, but they’ve been remarkably resilient through a particularly long winter. And truth be told, the fabrics of these bibs are so nice that I have a tough time not grabbing these for each ride.
As for my argument about these being value-oriented pieces of kit: I’ve worn this jersey and bib short for both long distances and short distances, through the winter in rain and snow, and washed them multiple times a week. For all intents and purposes, they’re good as new. And while four months isn’t a long time, I’ve had many a jersey and bib start piling or have a chamois that starts to wear down. My parents would have a heart attack if they saw the price of this “value-oriented” clothing. But if I had to wear just one bib and jersey for the riding I do, I would pick this jersey and bib based solely on durability, with comfort and performance as helpful additions.
Stay tuned for a follow-up report as the temperatures rise. I’ll have other clothing to ride in, but as of today, these are my favorite pieces of apparel in the shop.
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