Based in the Ticino region of southern Switzerland just across the border from Italy, Luigi Bergamo has been working with high-end road clothing for more than 20 years. After 13 years as director of R&D at Assos, Bergamo set out on his own with Q36.5, a boutique brand that produces only high-end road wear. We've now had the chance to take a look at a few of his pieces.
Q36.5 is a concept brand as much as a retail line; Bergamo is an active consultant for brands like Giro. You'll notice similarities in theme, fabric and construction between some Q36.5 pieces and Giro's new Chrono road line, most notably the lower back support panels on the bib shorts that Bergamo says works like kinetic tape, guiding proprioception (the body's ability to sense movement within joints, and joint position) and helping alignment.
The fabrics are all noticeably lightweight and soft, with water-resistant treatment applied to some of the bib shorts and tops. The fit is race-tight but surprisingly pliable, and some of the garments have wind protection thanks to dense weaves instead of hard shells, so the breathability is great.
Made in Italy, all the pieces are pricey. The Salopette L1 Essential bib shorts, for example, are €300 ($319 / £211).
Oh, and what the heck does Q36.5 mean, you ask? Quaerer is Latin for research, and 36.5 is the optimal body temperature in Celcius. The brand name is Bergamo's mission statement, to make technical clothing that keeps you comfortable regardless of conditions or effort level. And if the clothing also happens to look good, well, Bergamo is Italian: what did you expect?
Long Sleeve Hybrid Que
Half-jacket, half-jersey, the Hybrid Que protects you from the wind with woven fabric, not traditional shell material. The end result is a surprisingly comfortable top in a range of temps and effort levels, as you never get clammy.
Much like a Castelli piece, the Hybrid Que is cut for the arm-forward riding position.
Salopette L1 Essential
The Salopette L1 bib short weighs a mere 167g in this size Large, with most of that being the chamois, which varies in foam padding varies from denser at the rear to more breathable and flexible at the front. There are no stiff heat-welded seams exposed to the rider, just the single wicking layer.
The main material is thin and compressive, and sounds almost crinkly when you put it on. A single polyamide/elastane fabric is used throughout, just in different weave densities. The signature design element is probably the lumbar panel, where the material is most compressive.
Vest L1 Essential
With this vest Bergamo sought to merge a light thermal layer with a packable shell. The L1 uses ribbed fleece that's given a water-resistant treatment before being woven.
The wind protection comes from a tight weave, not an impermeable plastic, so the chest area can still wick while keeping the wind off.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at some other pieces, like the tubular baselayer and merino/silk socks.