Search and State bucks the trend by not only stitching its cycling apparel in the garment district of New York City but also by using domestically milled fabrics. Well-built and admirably discreet in terms of styling, the company's S1A jersey will likely appeal to quality-minded riders who don't want to look like rolling billboards but the cut might be a bit too old-school for some.
- Pros: Classy look, superb construction quality, made-in-NYC pride, reasonable pricing, airy feel
- Cons: Boxy cut, snag-prone fabric
Construction quality definitely seems to benefit from Search and State's small-batch assembly methods. Stitching on our sample is superb throughout, with additional backing tape applied around the base of the collar plus sturdy reinforcements to prevent blowouts when the three rear pockets are heavily loaded. There's nary a sliver of misplaced fabric or excess thread, either, and the Riri zipper sourced from Italy sports a reassuringly sturdy pull. Overall, there's little doubt the company intends for this jersey to last.
Styling is intended to stand the test of time, too, with a classic and understated look. The neat fabric is a singular hue from afar but is actually a subtly textured two-tone (black and green base colors are also available if grey isn't your thing). The wonderfully discreet badging is limited to just one tiny label on the sleeve and another on one of the rear pockets.
Certain aspects elicit somewhat of a throwback feel, though. The cut is roomier than what's found on most high-end road cycling tops these days, despite Search and State's "race-inspired slim fit" description. So while there's no excess of fabric in terms of construction, there's certainly some extra flapping about in the breeze when you're hunched over the drops. In addition, the collar comes up quite high, the hem is only slightly angled front-to-back, the straight-cut pockets are a little tougher to access than angled ones, and the full front zip's rather coarse teeth are backed from top to bottom with a full-length flap.
Still, the S1A works well on the bike as long as you're not after a second-skin feel. The fabric is comfortable on bare skin, it wicks sweat away quickly, and the airy weave lets in lots of cooling air. Save for the tall collar, in fact, the S1A is quite comfortable even as the thermometer approaches 38°C (100°F). The fully silicone-rubber-lined lower hem keeps the bottom of the jersey in place, too, and the well placed pockets hold plenty of gear for all-day rides. The elegant appearance drew lots of compliments from the local Boulder, Colorado crowd.
Sadly, the only major complaint we have about the S1A is one that conspires to undo all the effort put towards the construction quality. Though the nifty fabric performs well in the saddle, we found it to be frustratingly prone to pulling. After just two months of regular road-only use, we've got nearly half a dozen snags. Bummer.