Vermarc have a long association with professional bike racing in Belgium, from the all-conquering Eddy Merckx to the more recent exploits of Philippe Gilbert. Perhaps they are best known for their pro team kits, but they also have a huge catalogue of clothing for the amateur cyclist, some of which was sent our way this week by their UK distributor Dolan.
The first five items come from their new-for-2011 Forma Red Carbon range. The Technical Jacket (£190) is constructed from the multi-layer TriGuard fabric, which consists of an outer polyester layer for warmth, a Windtex layer to shield your midriff and a more breathable material under the arms and down your side. Full length zip, fleece-lined collar, flatlock stitching and the standard three rear (plus one zipped) pockets round off the spec.
Forma Red Carbon Technical Jacket
It's no surprise to find that the matching Long Sleeve jersey (£129) has many of the design features as the jacket; flatlock stitching, full length zip and rear pockets are all present and correct. As an outer layer for mild autumn days, it's made from a lighter polyester/Lycra material but its fleece inner lining should help withstand strong wind assaults. The Short Sleeve jersey (£115) version is your typical summer jersey and apart from the thinner material - and shorter sleeves - is identical to its longer-sleeved brethren.
Forma Red Carbon Long Sleeves jersey
The corresponding Bib Shorts (£118) contains two percent carbon that is said to control the elasticity of the shorts (no, we've no idea how either). A perforated material around the shoulders and leg grippers should aid breathability, while gel in the chamois should do the same for comfort. Finally, the Bib Tights (£67), which aren't part of the Forma Red Carbon range, have a more winter-orientated inner fleece lining and the addition of ankle zips.
A trio of accessories to keep your feet protected from the elements are next up. The conspicuous Rainflex (£28) shoe covers are made from a reflective, waterproof material, which should keep you dry and visible in one go. The Thermoflex (£16) option is designed for year-round, all weather riding.
Rainflex shoe covers
Accessories continue in the shape of these Roubaix gloves (£11.86) and skullcap (£13.80). The former are reinforced with silicone on the palms for grip and again are thin enough to be used in all but extreme conditions. As with all the Roubaix line-up, the latter is lined with fleece for warmth. Visit Vermarc's UK website for more information.