by Marc Basiliere
May 23, 2014
Riders rave about it but how does it measure up?
Cosy, durable wool for variable days
A rider-owned, consumer-direct company, Ground Effect’s clothing is rarely seen in these parts. When it is, it seems to always be on a rider raving about how well it works and how long it’s lasted. This winter we had the opportunity to try a couple of pieces- and are beginning to understand why.
The Median Strip is Ground Effect’s not-so-snug 3/4-zip road-style jersey. The Heatwave Merino from which it is cut consists of 51% superfine (18.5 micron) New Zealand merino and 49% polyester. More of a multi-level fabric than a straight blend, the wool sits against the skin to wick sweat while the nylon faces the world for better improved wear and abrasion resistance than wool alone can provide. Three rear pockets are present in the usual arrangement, the centre sealed with a generous zip. Looser than many road-oriented pieces, the cut and non-elastic hem work well with (slimmer) baggy shorts. Sewn into the zipped rear pocket is a tube patch, just in case.
Arriving as it did in the dead of winter, the Median Strip has seen a good deal of cool-weather use. Layered under a wind layer or a long-sleeve top, the mid-weight fabric does a good job of keeping the chill away. While it does hold more moisture than some lighter synthetics, the Heatwave Merino – aided by a zip that nearly reaches the navel – remains comfortable up to about 65°F/18°C. Beyond that point, a lighter fabric is usually a better choice.
Where the Median Strip really shines is on damp or changeable days. The jersey has a way of establishing a cosy zone of comfort on cool mornings or in a drizzle that few others seem able to match. Despite six months’ regular use, our sample looks nearly new, without a pill or snag to be found.
Given its built-to-last fabric and construction and first-world manufacture, the £65/$109 asking price seems more than reasonable. To further sweeten the deal, first time customers currently receive a £15/$30 discount. The only thing keeping the Median Strip from being a big day favourite is the centre zip pocket, which can irritate under a heavy pack. For the big bag crew, Ground Effect’s simpler £45/$69 Model Tee is built of the same fabric- without the rear pockets or front zip. Current colours include blue and green and the stripe has been moved from the shoulders to the chest.
Note 5 May: Ground Effect have been in touch to let us know that they’ve added a “backpack friendly” zip slider garage to jerseys with the standard trio of back pockets (like the updated Median Strip). They tested various options and found this solution, to their surprise, reduced or even got rid of discomfort from the zip.