'Stealth Mode' Bikewear from Search and State

The flashy, “look at me!” nature of technical biking apparel can be a turn-off. A new brand, Search and State, bucks the flash for an understated theme where performance and fit take the front seat.

The made-in-the-USA line was started when New York-based clothing designer Daniel Golden and sports marketer Devin O’Brien teamed up. The result is a small line — just a jersey and a jacket for now — that’s cut and sewn in New York’s garment district and sold at boutique bike shops around the country.

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Understated and sleek: The S1-J riding jacket

We’ve been riding this spring in the S1-J jacket, a waterproof shell made with Schoeller C-Change fabric, a Gore-Tex-like membrane material that’s breathable and lightweight. The S1-J jacket packs small enough to fit inside a jersey pocket, and that characteristic alone has made it my go-to jacket for cloudy days this spring when there’s a threat of rain.

I like the jacket’s two-way zipper — it unzips from either the top or bottom, letting you vent while pedaling without creating an open-chest parachute that the wind will catch. A single rear pocket, tight sleeve cuffs that seal out water, and sparse branding (just one small Search and State badge on the collar) round out a solid product.

One caveat: The tight cuffs make removing the jacket while riding a tricky task. The price is not cheap, either, as the S1-J goes at $245. But this is a quality piece that will last for years.

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S1-A jersey

The S1-A jersey, at $125, is similarly top-end. If you’re familiar with the Rapha brand and its level of quality, Search and State lands in the same league.

It comes in one color only, a two-tone black and gray. Fit is snug for the jersey, but not quite “race fit” — my little cyclist arms didn’t quite fill out the sleeves. To me, the jersey is best for all-day rides, but perhaps slim enough to pin a number on, too.

I especially like the beefy, smooth-pulling Riri zipper. It’s a small detail that earns high praise. Overall, the jersey has about as clean and simple a style as you’ll find anywhere. You can look good on a road, fixie, CX or mountain bike with this stealth riding top.

T.C. Worley just returned from a two-day mountain biking trip on the Maah Daah Hey trail.

Posted by Cory - 05/11/2012 09:57 AM

In many cases, the “look at me” nature of bike apparel is important for safety. It seems to me that a black outfit would not be good for riding on the road. For trails though, it is very stylish.

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