Attaquer NormCore jersey and bib shorts review£270.00

Performance packed, subtle Aussie style

BikeRadar score4/5

Attaquer is a young Sydney-based cycle clothing label that has quickly developed a ‘love or hate’ reputation among road cyclists, thanks to its limited runs of bold, bright and ‘out-there’ designs.

The Attaquer NormCore kit is a more mainstream, subtle solution that will hold an ongoing position in the brand’s lineup. The summer jersey shares the same technical features as the limited runs, but the bibs are completely new.

The Italian-made kit certain has a race fit. It's one of the tightest and slimmest-fitting kits we’ve tried – it's as if it quietly calls you fat as you put it on. The brand makes no apology for this – after all, the kit is aimed at athletic and dedicated cyclists.

Jersey

US$145 / UK£105 / AU$159

While there's no structural change from Attaquer’s previous jersey design, the NormCore is available in four far more subdued colours. The style is simple – if not verging on bland – with branding on the sleeves and Attaquer’s ‘smiling skull wearing a helmet’ logo between the shoulders.

The tight fit comes with the claim that it helps reduce muscle fatigue, which is hard to prove, but at the very least the snug fit will be more aero than a looser one. The front panels and sleeves of the jersey are heavily perforated for effective ventilation and moisture-wicking on hot summer rides, but thankfully without being transparent.

The material is claimed to offer 50+ UV protection from the sun, a common attribute of many Australian-designed clothing pieces. With a large rubber pull-tab on the full-length zipper, the jersey is easily opened on hot days, even with sweaty hands.

There's three basic rear pockets at the back. while things won't bounce out, the pockets are tight and on the smaller side: there's three basic rear pockets at the back. while things won't bounce out, the pockets are tight and on the smaller side
There's three basic rear pockets at the back. while things won't bounce out, the pockets are tight and on the smaller side: there's three basic rear pockets at the back. while things won't bounce out, the pockets are tight and on the smaller side

The snug pockets aren't enough for long 'fill your pockets' adventure rides

While we've no complaints about the snug fit and premium materials, the three elasticated, angled rear pockets are a little too tight and small to carry or easily access multiple items.  

The plus side of this is that what goods you do fit in the pockets are securely held without the need for a zipper, but the downside is obvious when trying to get out a stubborn gel or your phone. Pocket depth is enough to hold iPhone or similar, but larger phones will poke out of the top.

The rear panel of the jersey is made of a more rigid material than the stretchy front, meaning that if you do manage to fill the pockets, bounce is kept to a minimum. The waist gripper that surrounds the bottom of the jersey helps with this.

Bib shorts

US$230 / UK£165 / AU$259

The new NormCore bibs are quite different to what Attaquer has produced before. They have a new chamois, material, stitching and leg gripper – and they come in a single black-only option.

The fit on these is extremely snug. Part of this is down to the compression nature of the material, and the rest is down to the anatomical fit – they're cut for slim riders.

A new quadruple-density chamois is featured. the white outskirts on ours turned a dark grey on the first mixed-colours wash: a new quadruple-density chamois is featured. the white outskirts on ours turned a dark grey on the first mixed-colours wash
A new quadruple-density chamois is featured. the white outskirts on ours turned a dark grey on the first mixed-colours wash: a new quadruple-density chamois is featured. the white outskirts on ours turned a dark grey on the first mixed-colours wash

There are plenty of layers in this chamois

The new chamois is a high-end item; the pad density and thickness changes four times throughout the chamois. It’s a nicely comfortable design and doesn't feel too thick. Pad placement is spot-on too, although the tinniest amount of extra height at the front of the chamois would help to maintain privacy.

This isn't an issue that anyone in your riding group would ever know about, but the surrounding part of the chamois is white, and it quickly turned grey on the first wash.

The Italian compression fabric has an ultra-thin feel that keeps you cool and yet still protected from the sun. Up top, narrow breathable bib straps go unnoticed on hot days and have enough stretch to adapt to multiple riding (or standing) positions. Holding it all together is four-way flatlock stitching, which has proven durable, as has the general overall construction and compression nature of the shorts.

The normcore bibs are an even higher-end item compared to the brand's 'limited-release' options: the normcore bibs are an even higher-end item compared to the brand's 'limited-release' options
The normcore bibs are an even higher-end item compared to the brand's 'limited-release' options: the normcore bibs are an even higher-end item compared to the brand's 'limited-release' options

Plain black bibs with enough detail to let the brand be known

One detail we can’t figure out is the reflective belly button shield. The rigid nature of it makes it a strong central stitching piece, holding multiple panels in place. It’s also something that the guys at Attauqer jokingly claim is for safety when riding with your jersey undone at night.

There's no obvious leg grippers – instead the snug fit and barely-there silicone grippers do enough to hold the shorts in place.

Further details include a reflective tab on the back for safety and subtle rubberised logos that don’t clash when you wear the bibs with another brand's jersey.

Despite the minor negatives of the pockets and elite racer-boy fit, the NormCore kit from Attaquer is competitive with the major brands in comfort and performance.

David Rome

Former Editor, Australia
Dave was the editor of BikeRadar Australia until early 2016.
  • Age: 28
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 79cm / 31in
  • Chest: 89cm / 35in
  • Discipline: Mountain, road and cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Fast and flowing singletrack with the occasional air is the dream. Also happy chasing tarmac bends.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 27.5, SwiftCarbon Detritovore, Salsa Chilli Con Crosso
  • Dream Bike: Custom Independent Fabrications titanium, SRAM Etap and Enve wheels/cockpit
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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