From casual commuter wear for the city cyclist to the full-Lycra road range developed with an ex-Olympian, the spring/summer 2016 Vulpine range has most cycling styles covered.
British brand Vulpine, which launched in 2012, has gone from strength to strength over the last four years. The brand focuses on producing cycling clothing that doesn't look like cycle clothing, but is designed to keep you comfortable and dry while on the bike. It's grown a strong customer base among fans of casual-styled merino T-shirts and waterproof cotton rain jackets, and is popular with people who don't subscribe the top-to-toe Lycra look.
But spandex lovers aren't neglected – Vulpine has also collaborated with Olympian Sir Chris Hoy to create the Hoy Vulpine range of road cycling kit. From caps to socks to bib tights, the range covers all the essentials.
Both the Vulpine and Hoy Vulpine ranges are extensive for men and women, and Vulpine have long been supporters of women's cycling, having previously sponsored the Matrix Pro Cycling women's race team.
Vulpine ran a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015 which saw the brand raise in excess of £1,000,000 – double the target amount. With the investment, Vulpine plans a Made in Britain range, and to enter the US market (it already ships to transatlantic customers).
- Interested in women's cycling? Visit BikeRadar Women for women's bikes, clothing, kit and accessories reviews.
Vulpine men's casual commuter range
We were sent three items from Vulpine’s men’s spring/summer range: a cheerfully stripy Breton T-shirt, the luxurious new Merino Sunset hoodie, and smart-yet-lightweight Summer shorts.
All three items looked so good that we’d happily wear them away from the bike. They’re not packed full of overtly cycling-specific detailing, but all had an excellent fit for us. The T-shirt and hoody feature a dropped back to keep your rear covered when crouched over the handlebars.
“Vulpine makes technical gear where the technicality is hidden, so you can get on with life on the bike,” said founder Nick Hussey. “We use specialist fabrics that prevent sweating, reduce odours and dry fast; we cut them for cycling and life off the bike, so you don’t need to feel unpleasant or take a change of clothing with you."
The Breton T-shirt is made from Dri-Release cotton to wick away moisture faster than normal cotton allows, and keeps the signature Vulpine printed care instructions and flatlock stitching for greater comfort. There are three colourways available: blue background with red stripes, white background with blue stripes, and white background with red stripes. It looks ruddy marvellous, we think.
The Merino Sunset hoodie is one of the few cycling-specific hoodies out there. Its got a slim fit, a full-length zip, and comes lined with lightweight merino fleece for cosiness. It’s made from a blend of 65% nylon, 30% merino and 5% elastane. Bonus features include a high-cut chin to keep the wind out, and soft elasticated cuffs. It’s available in charcoal.
The Summer shorts are designed for comfortable cycling in the heat. They’re made from a quick-drying technical fabric that includes a little stretch, and have a high raised rear waistband to provide extra coverage when you’re on the bike. Extra details include a diamond gusset in the seat area to improve comfort (no seams to sit on), and zipped front pockets. They’re available in sea grey, stone and ultramarine.
Other items in the Vulpine Spring Summer 2016 men’s range include polo shirts in ‘atomic red’ or classic navy, some very nice Cotton City caps, Padded Merino Boxers, and Summer trousers, which look like a longer version of the shorts covered above.
- Men's Summer shorts: £69
- Men's Breton T-shirt: £39
- Men's Merino Sunset hoodie: £119
Vulpine women's casual commuter range
Vulpine doesn't stint on the quality materials, with its merino jerseys a popular choice for many cyclists who want clothes that will cope with riding to work and then the working day without betraying the fact they've been out and about on a bike. For 2016 Vulpine has introduced silk into the range, with a long-sleeved, boat-neck style top. The silk was chosen for its moisture-absorbing properties and the soft skin-feel it gives.
The Cigarette pants have a tapered cut to the legs with a high back to make them suitable for cycling, plus a diamond gusset that means you don't have a seam where your undercarriage meets the saddle. The fabric is a lightweight cotton poplin with a four-way stretch.
Also available in the range are summer capris (£75), gravel shorts (£65), padded boyshort liners designed to provide unobtrusive padding under your city cycle wear (£49) plus a vest top version of the silk air T-shirt (£49) and a women's version of the Breton t-shirt (£39).
- Women's Summer Cigarette pant: £79
- Women's Silk Air T-shirt: £59
- Women's Smart City Cycling bundle (top and trousers): £109
Hoy Vulpine men's road cycling kit
The racier offshoot of the Vulpine range is its collaboration with track cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy, called Hoy Vulpine. New for spring/summer is the Senko collection, named after the Japanese term for a daring attack during a Keirin race. It includes the Hoy Vulpine Senko jersey, bib short and vest (women-only).
“Developing the Senko range has been a detailed but enjoyable collaborative effort,” said Hoy. “The kit looks great and the technical capabilities far exceed the price point.”
The Senko range is laser cut and made from lightweight Italian fabric for a smooth, aero race fit. The elite-level aero bib shorts use top-spec CyTech pads to keep you comfy during long days in the saddle, and wide leg grippers to prevent the shorts from digging in uncomfortably. Both bibs (£125) and jersey (£99) feel lightweight and suitable for epic days climbing in the mountains.
Also included in the Hoy Vulpine spring/summer 2016 collection is the Sportive range, which offers a less race-orientated fit. There’s a Hoy Vulpine Sportive jersey (£75), bibs (£89), mitts (£39) and cap (£12). Oh, and there’s a packable Portixol rain jacket (£119) too, just in case.
- Hoy Vulpine men's Senko jersey: £99
- Hoy Vulpine men's Senko bib shorts: £125
- Hoy Vulpine road cycling accessories bundle (cap £12, socks £12, gloves £39): £50
Hoy Vulpine women's cycling kit
The women's Senko range consists of the same product lines as the men's, including jerseys, jackets, waterproofs, bib tights, bib shorts and accessories, but with the addition of a sleeveless version of the Senko jersey. The colour way for the Senko range for women includes black, white and an eye-catching purple.
The Senko range is race-fit, and the smaller sizes (medium, small and extra small) have two pockets rather than three to ensure they're big enough, rather than comprising the size.
Hoy Vulpine has opted for an integrated base-layer style to the bib shorts, as opposed to the usual strap options many other cycling brands go for. This upper section is constructed from a breathable mesh in a rather fetching vibrant purple colour.
This can be Marmite with many riders: some love it, some hate it. An initial try on suggests that if you are larger in bust, you might need to go up a size to ensure the bibs fit, but for the most part they size up true, with a medium equating roughly to a small high street UK12. Vulpine lists its product sizes by body measurement though, which helps ensure you get the right fit.
- Hoy Vulpine Senko women's vest jersey: £85
- Hoy Vulpine women's Senko bib short: £125
- Hoy Vulpine cycling accessories bundle (cap £12, socks £12, gloves £39): £50
- Find out more: Urban cycling and commuting on BikeRadar