Last year, when I wrote about a pair of bike pants from Outlier clothing, I noted the company’s products as made for a “small, affluent market niche.” Indeed, Outlier’s tagline — “Tailored performance clothing for cycling in the city” — nods to the New York City-based company’s theme of design that treads a line where fashion and function can tentatively meet.
The clothing, which is made in New York City with expensive, high-performing fabrics, could appeal to gritty urban fixie types as well as pretty hipster boys (and girls) hoping to borrow the look. To me, the Outlier clothing line seems to take cues from bike-courier culture but while adding classic dressy cuts and subdued looks you might see in the world of fashion and design. Performance — breathability, durability, and “wearability” on a bike — is there, too.
All these traits come together in the company’s Classic Merino Hoodie, which at a sky-high $225 is out of reach for most workaday bikers. Like the company’s 4Season OG bike pants — a $180 product that are essentially “performance dress pants,” for lack of a better term — the merino hoodie offers a unique hybrid piece that can do double duty in social situations as well as during moderate physical activity like riding a bike to work.
I got a Classic Merino Hoodie to try out for a couple months last year. Since October, I have worn it riding and just during regular life dozens of days. The Merino Hoodie, made from a fine New Zealand wool with a hint of nylon added in, is undoubtedly nice. It is warm, breathable, soft, and good looking.
The drawstring hood is large and floppy, made to fit over or under a helmet. The two-way zipper lets you regulate for ventilation while on a ride. Beyond that, the Classic has few bike-specific features but works fine for commuting or casual riding around town.
A similar product, the Cobra Hoodie from Chrome Industries, is another merino-wool top. It costs $160 and has a slightly rougher feel to the outer fabric, though it doesn’t itch inside. There is a soft “fleeced backing” on the interior, which is warm and cozy on bare skin.
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