Based out of Melbourne, Maap is a boutique brand that has exploded over the past couple of years. With humble beginnings as one of Instagram's many brand contributors, Maap’s kit ranges not only look great but also see the same sort of finishing and attention to detail as larger, more mainstream brands.
With Maap's 2016 winter collection now available, Maap sent over a base jersey and bib shorts for BikeRadar to put through their paces. And after spending countless hours in the kit we can certainly say that they’ve hit another home run.
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This long sleeve base jersey is a middleweight top that has been designed to take the edge off the chilly morning air. I found the jersey to be comfortable for a temperature range of about 5°C/40°F to about 15°C/60°F. It doesn’t have any wind stopping material but in that temperature range once you warm up, the fabric does an awesome job of regulating body temperature and wicking sweat.
The fabric has a matte exterior and a lightly brushed interior, which does well to to insulate especially considering its weight. It’s also seriously soft and comfortable, so much so it’s a bit like slipping into your favorite hoodie, you know the one with the bleach stains and holes that’s just too cozy to throw out.
That said, its cozy nature does make you want to crawl back into bed on those particularly early mornings. Once you do make it out on the road though, it’s just as comfortable after five hours in the saddle as the moment you pulled it on.
Something that is often overlooked on a garment meant for this temperature range is a full-length zipper placket. Zippers on most jerseys let in a continuous flow of cool air, which can bring your core temperature down significantly. The placket on the Maap's base jersey feels to be made of lightweight neoprene or a similar rubber based material, and efficiently stops the wind from sneaking through. It’s also wide enough that I didn’t experience any zipper snags, and it wraps over the top of the YKK zip to protect your neck.
The sleeve length is spot on and even with my arms stretched straight out there’s enough give built into the material that it keeps your wrists covered.
The jersey is cut a touch longer in the back and is plenty long enough to keep cold air off of your lower back. There’s also a thick elastic band with large silicone dots on the interior to prevent the jersey from riding up.
One of my biggest niggles with the Maap kit that I’d previously tested was the size of the pockets, and in the past I’ve busted a fair few seams while trying to stuff and squeeze that last gel or tool in. The three pockets on this latest base jersey still aren’t huge, but they're plenty big enough for a phone, spare tube, tire levers, CO2 and inflator, knee warmers and plenty of food.
Aesthetically the jersey is pretty plain with only a few small logos and Maap's signature topo map lines in the sleeves. On our black sample jersey all the graphics are reflective, which is a nice touch considering we do a large portion of winter riding in the dark. I’m not a big fan of all-black kits as they can make you hard to see, even during the day with reflective bits, but they are more resilient when it comes to dealing with the general gunk that seems to get flicked up off the road. There’s also a navy colour-way, but it doesn’t receive the reflective treatment.
For some reason the jersey isn't the most flattering I've ever worn. I'm the first to admit that I've got my extra 'winter layer' on but the way the jersey fits seems to accentuate what the BikeRadar team calls the "lack of riding shadows".
The old saying goes, everybody needs at least one pair of good black bibs, and if the Mapp base bibs are your pair then you have chosen wisely.
They’re not particularly flashy at first glance, other than the reflective logos that is. The seven panel bibs are made with Italian fabric and include ColdBlack and anti-odor treatments. Maap also says the fabric uses Interpower, a weaving technique that reduces the contact points between the fabric and skin, and generates air micro-circulation to limit that awful wet fabric stuck-on-your-skin feeling.
I can’t say I noticed a massive difference with the ColdBlack technology, and it’s winter here in Australia, and I’m not sure I felt additional air circulating on my legs. I can say however that the base bibs are super comfortable and seemed to find their way to the top of my drawer quite often.
A big step for Maap, it appears they’re moving away from a strictly generic chamois in their shorts. Previously we’d seen a generic pad that's quite popular among the smaller brands. The base bibs get a new Chamois bio-ceramic and antibacterial face fabric, as well as a higher density foam.
The new pad is exceptionally soft on the skin, something that was much appreciated after hours in the saddle, and the pad is still comfortable not having any gel inserts or anything of the sort and allows for a ‘connected to the saddle’ feel.
Maap has also reworked its leg gripper as a more traditional elastic band with silicone dots on the inside. This more traditional design seemed to fit our thighs more comfortably than the previous heavy-duty elastic ones.
The mesh shoulder straps are lightweight and comfortable over the shoulder, breath well and there’s plenty of stretch built in. The shorts also see flat-lock stitching throughout, so as long as they don’t hit the ground they should stand the test of time.
The Maap base kit has proved to be a staple for riding in the mild-Australian winter. It’s definitely based around a pro build, but the cut, fabrics, and detailing are on par with what we’re seeing from big name clothing brands.
Priced at £111 / US$169 / AU$235 for the jersey and £145 / US$223 /AU$310 for the bibs, Maap’s kit definitely falls into the premium price range. They may not yet have the recognition the big brands do, but they absolutely deserve it.