POC Essential jersey and bibs review£292.50

Anatomically cut kit from the Swedish protective brand

BikeRadar score4/5

Swedish manufacturer POC has made quite an entrance into the road cycling market with its AVIP range. The radically bright, bold designs make for a unique and unmistakable look.

At the base of all POC's road wear is the AVIP principle (Attention, Visibility, Interaction, and Protection). This principle involves using fluorescent and bright panels next to contrasting dark ones to enhance visibility.

Jersey

£135.00 / US$199.95 / AU$249.95

The backbone of the avip range is placing bright colours next to dark colours to create contrast for enhanced visibility:
The backbone of the avip range is placing bright colours next to dark colours to create contrast for enhanced visibility:

The backbone of the AVIP range is placing bright shades next to dark ones to create contrast for enhanced visibility

Our photos still don’t do this kit justice – the fluoro orange is some of the brightest we have seen. Fluorescent hues – like the orange shoulders – are known to re-radiate absorbed ultraviolet rays into wavelengths visible to the human eye. Science aside, the result is extraordinarily bright, making the jersey look luminescent in the sun.

The bottom of the jersey is black, and not only creates good contrast with the bright white and orange, but when worn in conjunction with black shots melds the two together – making for a skinsuit-esque appearance. The dark panel at the bottom of the jersey also takes the brunt of road spray and dirt flicked up off the back tyre, keeping the top bright and sparkly.

The black at the bottom of the jersey melds into the shorts making for a skinsuit-esk appearance:
The black at the bottom of the jersey melds into the shorts making for a skinsuit-esk appearance:

The black at the bottom of the jersey melds into the shorts for a skinsuit-esque appearance

For added night and low-light visibility there are reflective logos on the sleeves, as well as a highly reflective panel on the back. There is a similar panel on the back of the shorts, however it is partially covered by the bottom of the jersey.

Just as POC spent a lot of time researching the colour choices for its AVIP range, tailoring seems to have received the high level level of R&D.

Off the bike the Essential jersey is neither particularly comfortable nor flattering. The chest feels tight and the front is cut quite short – so much so that one of our testers ended up showing of a bit of midriff at the cafe. However, once in a riding position the character of the jersey changes completely.

With our hands on the bars the Essential jersey hugged our body like a well fitting skinsuit. The top did not bunch, wrinkle or pinch anywhere; and the zipper sat completely flat. A mix of 3D stretch fabric through the shoulders, and 4D stretch fabric in the body created a near perfect fit.

Large mesh panels work as an effective exhaust:
Large mesh panels work as an effective exhaust:

Large mesh panels work as an effective exhaust

As mentioned before, where the front of the jersey is cut short, it is longer and articulated in the back; lean forward and the jersey conforms to your body shape.

Large mesh panels under the arms act as an effective exhaust, dispelling heat well.

The Essential jersey has three large rear pockets, as well as a ‘My Info’ pocket, and a zippered internal pocket. Well placed and quite big, the three larger pockets don't seem to sag or bounce even when stuffed to capacity. The My Info pocket and the zippered pocket are hardly big enough for an ID or a bit of cash. If you’re anything like us, you keep those essentials in a ziplock bag with your phone, meaning if your phone doesn’t fit they will remain unused.

The 'my info' pocket is too small to fit anything other than and id card:
The 'my info' pocket is too small to fit anything other than and id card:

The 'My Info' pocket is too small to fit anything other than an ID card

A precision cut kit is all well and good, but if your body type doesn’t match the cut you will be left with an uncomfortable and less than flattering kit. The Essential jersey is definitely what we would call a race fit, so if you're carrying a mini-keg rather than a six-pack then you may need to think about sizing up. On one of our testers who comfortably fits into most small sized kits, the Essential jersey was very snug.

Bibs

£157.50 / US$269.95 / AU$299.95

The essential bibs are close fitting and provide pleasant compression:
The essential bibs are close fitting and provide pleasant compression:

The Essential bibs are tight fitting and provide pleasant compression

The Essential bibs like the jersey, are very slim fitting and cut for the riding position. The four panel shorts are made from ‘warp knit fabric’ and provide a pleasant level of compression. Like the jersey the Essential bibs have reflective logos, tabs and a panel at the back.

POC’s new chamois is designed with triple density foam, in 4mm to 12mm of thickness to provide proper support to the ischial and perineal regions. The placement of the pad is spot on, with thicker padding where it’s needed, and lightweight padding where its not. The front of the chamois also runs high enough to offer a bit of added modesty.

The bottom of the shorts features a rubberized gripper:
The bottom of the shorts features a rubberized gripper:

The bottom of the shorts features a rubberized gripper

The bib straps are made from lightweight mesh and sit comfortably over the shoulders and for some added comfort, the area of the straps at the top of the shoulders and over the collarbone is made from extra soft four-way fabric.

Overall POC – a brand known more for its protective gear has made a kit that offers a unique design – fits well, looks good and is extremely visible on the road. However, all of this comes with a hefty price tag that may leave you a kidney short.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Age: 25
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9"
  • Weight: 70kg / 155lb
  • Waist: 81.3cm/32in
  • Chest: 90cm/35.4in
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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