It's fair to say that Melbourne outfit MAAP – as featured in our latest installment of Wild Style Aussie kits – has been taking the Australian clothing market by storm.
MAAP was founded by Oliver (Ollie) Cousins and Jarred Smith, a pair with a combined 29 years' experience in design and fashion, with brand names like Stussy, Mambo and Globe on their CV's. How does that translate into cycling, you ask? Pretty damn well in our opinion.
We’ve used and tested a few other ‘Instagram brand’ kits over the past few months with fairly positive results, but when we pulled on the Arrows Jersey and Team bib shorts we were blown away by the quality and variation of fabrics and the cut.
While the jersey and bibs come in different colour combinations and designs, from a technical standpoint they’re all the same.
If you're carrying some winter insulation, consider sizing up
The kit is sized around those with a ‘pro’ build, so if you’re carrying a pony keg instead of a six-pack, double-check the sizing chart before you buy. My sample kit is a size small, and in most brands in the jersey I’m a definite small, but I ride the line between a small and medium in the shorts.
Team bibs: comfy compression, decent generic chamois
That said, according to the MAAP sizing chart I should have been a medium based on my waist size, but the small shorts fit comfortably. Made from a matt fabric, the bibs are quite soft on the skin, but provide comfortable compression throughout. These bibs have a long leg length, a feature that isn't commonplace among current high-end bibs.
Robert Fostermann and his band of Quadzillas may have some trouble with MAAP's leg band
Instead of a silicone gripper, a near-rigid mesh material is used at the bottom cuff of the bibs to keep everything in place. They work well but are very tight, and may be uncomfortable for the Quadzillas out there. All of the seams are flatlock stitched for added durability.
We've seen this generic chamios in quite a few pairs of shorts
As with many of smaller startup brands, MAAP cannot afford to design a proprietary chamois, so we weren’t surprised to see a generic pad – a good one though, which we’ve seen in plenty of shorts.
Arrows jersey: light weight and great heat management
The Arrows jersey is very lightweight and a great option as the southern hemisphere moves into the warmer months. The front panel is made from a very stretchy lightweight material, akin to a summer weight skinsuit. On the back, a rigid mesh material allows superb wicking and heat management.
We’re big fans of the extra long sleeves, elasticated double layer cuff, and mesh panelling under the arms. Despite not having a gripper, the sleeves don’t bunch up once you start riding.
There seems to be a trend in jerseys with small pockets
Three small pockets on the back are made with a reinforced ‘uni-stretch’ – one-direction stretch, if you hadn't guessed – material that helps combat sagging. We really would have liked to see these pockets double in size though, as our bare essentials hardly fit. There’s also no zippered pocket for valuables
Finished with YKK zippers and a small zipper tab to protect the bibs, the detailing on this kit is well-manicured.
The socks maketh the kit
Just to digress a little, we felt we should mentioned MAAP's socks here too. While many would quite rightly argue that socks are socks, MAAP’s items are super comfy, tall, and come in every colour under the rainbow — and they’re also made in Australia.
Verdict: up there with the big boys
As we’ve said before, many smaller brands are now using high-quality, cutting-edge fabrics that are similar in technology to such premium brands as Castelli, Santini and Rapha. Style and materials aside, in many cases garments from the major players still retain better cuts and fit – likely because of the larger budgets and experience they have in research and prototyping. But taking the generic chamois out of the equation, the garments we tested from MAAP are on par if not better than what we’ve come to expect from the big hitters.
At $170 / £90 / AU$180 for the jersey, $250 / £140 / AU$270 for the bibs and for the socks $20 / £20 / AU$30, MAAP’s clothing is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. However, considering the materials, finishing, and fit of this kit, the pricing certainly isn’t offensive – and is still less than some other popular brands. Apologies for the pun, but we reckon MAAP should definitely be on your map.