Review by Lance Pilbrow

Pro Performance Jersey $149.95
Nicobar Intermediate Jacket $179.95
Nicobar Pro Elite bibs $179.95
Nicobar Gloves $39.95
Nicobar Socks $24.95

Quality riding kit is essential to having a good day out on the bike. It doesn’t just have to fit, it also must move and flex with you, breathe, stay in shape after a few washes, and not pull apart despite being constantly stretched with every pedal stroke. Creating quality cycle clothing is no easy task, but it’s something Nelson based Tineli have been doing for years. We were recently sent their new Nicobar range to ride and review.

This range consists of a matching Pro Performance Jersey, Intermediate Jacket, Pro Elite bibs, and matching gloves and socks to round out the complete look. It’s all coloured a pretty eye-catching deep blue, with contrasting yellow stripe detailing. It’s a great looking kit that offers a nice visual tone of competitive and coordinated, whilst still feeling subtly understated.

The men’s jersey is a piece that Tineli have been refining for years now. It has become one of their most popular pieces, and for good reason. The waffle-textured material has a unique, natural feel about it while retaining great characteristics for riding. It’s super light, highly breathable and ideal for summer thanks to the excellent moisture management of the superlight waffle-textured main fabric. For all your gels, phone and other items you want to keep close at hand, it has double stitched pockets and important little details such as the hems on the pockets being designed to be durable as well. The fit is Euro-slim, so double check their size guide before ordering, and don’t feel bad about ordering up a full size (or even two) compared to what you might normally order in your normal t-shirts.

Arguably the most critical part of any riding kit is the bib. Not all bibs are created equal, and not all bibs do we get along with; but we got along just nicely with the Pro Elite bibs. Tech wise, they are made from 40gsm Askin Lycra. This has a lovely rich feel to it. Down the leg, there is a 45mm lower leg band that has nice grippy texture to it too. It’s got real staying power too and keeps the legs from moving or riding up. It too has a great feel and seemed to be much more effective than the usual silicone band I’ve experienced on other bibs. Over the shoulder, Tineli have what they call their Power Straps – super stretchy and wide elastic straps – that lead up and over, into the waffle back panel. Lastly, your sit bones will be feeling the love from the Platinum chamois – a high-end 3D sewn chamois construction designed for 4-hour plus riding. It’s 8mm thick where it really counts and provides some real quality cushioning. The bibs also have lots of other details that might be easy to miss when you are comparing them against something else in a shop – little things like double rows of stitching all round mean that these have been made to last.

The last big piece of kit we had on test was the Intermediate Jacket. It’s a splashproof, windproof layer that is perfect for our changeable weather in New Zealand. Made from 240gsm Windtex on the front panel, it offers some serious defense against the cold – on those days where your lungs just don’t want to warm up, this is what you need. On the back it’s nicely fleece lined and is constructed from QuickDry fabric so that as you warm up and work up a sweat you don’t find yourself getting clammy too quickly. It has a full-length zipper down the front so you can get it on and off quickly, and easily adjust the amount of airflow coming through; plus subtle reflectives for added nighttime safety; Silicone gripper tape to keep the jersey sitting in place; and features the same double stitching that we’ve had on other garments to make sure it lasts the distance.

For good measure we also tried out a pair of matching Nicobar gloves and socks. The gloves are a lightweight fingerless design. They have minimal padding, a mesh palm panel and handy pull loops to help you yank them off.

Out on the bike, the Nicobar kit really comes together. We had the chance to get out and get some time in the gear just as the seasons were transitioning from winter into spring, and on most rides we really were getting four seasons in one day, as is typical of New Zealand! All the kit performed flawlessly for the test, and we were particularly impressed by how all the small details really pull it all together. The Intermediate jacket is great for those days when you really want to get out and spin the legs, but you also know the only chance you’ve got is early in the morning when you’ll never really warm up. The Windtex front panel really does a magic job of keeping the chill off your chest – it makes you feel like you’ve almost already warmed up. The splash proof quality of the fabric also does a great job of keeping wheel spray from slowly but surely drenching you. The jacket will be a great addition to any kit but especially if you’re used to just riding in either a shirt or a full rain jacket.

The bibs were also impressive. Most bibs are pretty snuggly when you first put them on, but it’s only a good three or four hours into a ride when you find out what they are really made of, and on these longer rides the Pro Elite bibs really shined. There is nothing quite like the sensation of getting four hours into a ride and smiling because your butt is actually just perfectly comfortable, but that’s just what our reviewer reported back, which is pretty high praise.

The shirt did its job just fine too, and seamlessly integrated with the rest of the kit. The waffle fabric, as mentioned, has a lovely light texture to it and does a great job at aiding the wicking of sweat away. It’s got a supremely light and airy feel about it, but the whole jersey still has a nice structure and substance to it as well. Everything stays in place, nothing rides up, and we really liked the internal zippered pocket with a handy earphone cable port for stowing our phone while riding, leaving it safe from other pockets that might have gels, or wrappers, or are just a bit more exposed to any surprise rain showers.

It’s probably not something that many people do, and it’s a bit of money to purchase a whole kit at once, but it’s really nice to have a whole kit that not only has a consistently high level of quality but also works really nicely together as a whole, both technically and aesthetically. I also love the idea of being able to support New Zealand companies when they produce gear that is at least as good, if not a fair bit better, than what the competition is offering. If the blue/yellow colour way doesn’t really float your boat or match your bike, Tineli’s website shows just how significant their range is and how many different colour options they offer, which is extensive to say the least. If you are looking for some quality gear that has been crafted with serious attention to detail and the added benefit of being a New Zealand company, Tineli have definitely got something for you.

Find out more on Tineli’s website here.