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Craft Monuments bib shorts & jersey review

5 Sep 2018
Verdict:

Craft has delivered value, function and good looks with its Monuments range

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£110 (bib shorts) £85 (jersey)
For 
• A nice nod to cycling history • Function and style that impresses at this price level
Against 
• A few niggles with the finish • Slightly rigid bib short insert

Craft has long-since been a brand with a strong reputation for performance, drawn from the knowledge of a wide portfolio of active sportswear. It hasn’t always been quite so reputed for the looks of its top end cycling kit, though, often favouring block colour and simply patterns.

The Monuments collection is a huge shift in Craft’s visual design, with a pattern that fits modern aesthetic trends while paying a tasteful homage to cycling history. This specific jersey is a tribute to the the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).

Flashes of yellow in tribute to the Flandrian flag, accompanied by a hint of the Belgian flag on rear of the collar, and a subtle RVV inscription do a nice job of nodding to the event without over-stressing the point.

Buy the Craft Monuments bib shorts from Wiggle and jersey from BikeInn

Beneath the skin, though, this kit is a pleasant surprise.

Fit and Breathability

The first impression of the Monuments kit was of its skin-tight racey fit. The jersey hugged my shoulders, arms and chest tightly but not restrictively. The shorts, similarly, were cut at a good length to stretch over the quads and were adequately grippy not to drift up the leg.

With the mesh panels at several points on the jersey, the jersey was able to breathe well. That said, the recent generation of hyper-breathable jerseys from the likes of Le Col did make the Monuments jersey seem a little hot at times by comparison.

The bib shorts similarly employted a mesh design on the bib straps and back, aiding the breathability of the overall system. I was similarly enthused by the stretch of the shorts, which use a 4-way stretch lycra.

 

Overall, the Craft outfit felt racey, modern and on trend. There were a few niggles in the detail, though.

Comfort and Finish

While I commend Craft on developing its own insert, I felt there was a slight sacrifice to comfort compared to a CyTech pad. Of course, that's a personal preference, which mainly came down to the relative rigidity of the pad, and some will prefer that level of support.

The internal stitching of the shorts was also slightly pronounced, in place of flatlock stitches, which is likely to irritate some, but I didn't personally find this to create any discomfort. 

In terms of the jersey, I found that comfort was also mildly sacrificed by the sleeve material. The cut is such that it aims to hug the arm like an aero jersey, but in place of a seamless lycra finish there's a slightly cruder fold of material. It's a tiny point, but makes the jersey seem a little dated.

Buy the Craft Monuments bib shorts from Wiggle and jersey from BikeInn

That said, these criticisms pitch the Craft Monuments kit against the top of the market, where prices can easily be double what Craft has achieved with the Monuments shorts and jersey. Numerous outlets are offering the shorts and jersey for well under £200, which is pretty special for an outfit with the performance and feel of the Monuments collection.

The Craft Monuments bib shorts and jersey were both a big step for Craft in terms of visual design, and below the surface represent fantastic value. It's worked its way firmly into my regular rotation of summer kit, and likely to stay there.

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