Santini Dragon Jersey/Bib Short$165/$170 1 of 7
What We Like: The tailoring of the Dragon kit is top notch. It fits close to the body, but isn't so tight that you start to notice on long rides. The fabric of the jersey is light and releases heat well, making it a good spring option. The chamois pad in the bibs is also one of the best we've tested. It's comfortable and not too bulky, which makes it a good choice for those with racing in mind. The detail of the stitching and the comfort of the shoulder straps on the shorts are also worth noting.
Best Uses: Performance road riding or racing.
Pearl Izumi Elite Long Sleeve Jersey/P.R.O. In-R-Cool Short$120/$165 2 of 7
What We Like: Even though the jersey has long sleeves, it's lightweight and breathes well. This makes it ideal for spring weather when conditions can change quickly. It's also a good option for anyone looking to protect their skin from too much sun. The P.R.O. In-R-Cool shorts are suitable for riders who are looking for a good performance short and don't want to be bothered with the straps on bib shorts during the warmer months. The chamois insert is also lighter, thinner and more comfortable than in previous models.
Best Uses: Riding or racing in warm weather.
Louis Garneau Sport Metz Jersey/Fit Sensor Bib 2$69.99/$99 3 of 7
What We Like: If you're looking for a budget buy, the Sport Metz jersey is comfortable enough for a weekend century. The fit is a little looser than some of other models tested, and is more in line with American sizing as opposed to European. If you want a slightly more relaxed cut that doesn't show off the love handles, this is a good choice. The Fit Sensor bib shorts are thick and made of good quality Lycra that should last.
Best Uses: Touring, weekend rides.
Hincapie Vantage Jersey/Bib Short$100/$120 4 of 7
What We Like: Of all the kits we tested, the Hincapie Vantage offered the best value for the price. The elastic armbands stay close to the skin to keep the jersey from feeling like a parachute, and the mesh on the side and back is both comfortable and well ventilated. The same can be said for the bib shorts, which are light and have plenty of cushion in the chamois pad for long rides. The ProGrip leg bands were also a favorite, and give you a hint of "pro" feel when it comes to top-of-the-line cycling clothes.
The kit also comes complete with matching jersey, bibs, gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers, and cycling cap for those looking for a more stylish look at their next Gran Fondo.
Best Uses: Century rides or Gran Fondo races.
Assos SS. Cento S7 Jersey/T.Neo Pro S7 Bib Short$249/$199 5 of 7
What We Like: If you try these on in the store, you probably won't buy them. The jersey and the bib shorts just don't feel right when you're standing, but when you lean forward on the bike, you'll find out what Assos had in mind when it designed this kit. While the jersey is ready for race season, it's a little more forgiving than some of Assos' other models, which is perfect if you've packed on a few extra pounds during the winter months. The best feature of the jersey is the quality of the fabric and the way it fits your body when hunched over in the drops.
The Neopro bib shorts are Assos's new entry-level model, but don't let those words fool you. These shorts are for serious cyclists, and believe it or not, they're a bargain. The chamois insert is the most comfortable tested, and the way it's sewn (or actually, not sewn) into the Lycra to keep from irritating your skin is nothing short of genius. The memory foam in the insert uses a waffle shape design to dissipate heat and is extremely shock absorbing without any added bulk. The Type 429 Lycra gives a second skin kind of feel, and while it's plenty sturdy, it weighs in at only around 170 grams. With special care this jersey/bib short combo should last you for five plus cycling seasons.
Best Uses: Performance/Gran Fondo racing.
Santini Wool Heritage Jersey/Pure Embroidered Bib Shorts$190/$190 6 of 7
What We Like: This is not your grandfather's wool. This jersey has the classic "old school" look from the '60s, but it's made with a polyester blend that is lightweight, soft and breathable. The knitted collar and cuffs, the metal zipper and the button rear pockets provide a few 1960s-vintage touches.
You won't find many shorts like the Pure on the road. But don't let the retro look fool you—they're designed for road racing or a long Gran Fondo. The embroidered Santini stitching on the leg reminds you of the attention to detail that manufacturers used to have before the industry started to focus on production volume. The shorts are just a touch shorter than normal, which gives them that retro look. What you won't find in these bibs is the leather chamois from yesteryear. The insert and Lycra are comparable with the best that you'll find among today's modern cycling apparel.
Best Uses: Cyclists looking for both style and performance.