Recently, I was lucky enough to get to test a new set of bib shorts and a jersey from Scott’s latest high-end road cycling kit - the snappily named RC Premium Kinetech range.
The range represents Scott’s most technologically advanced road racing kit, with a construction that aims to eliminate unnecessary seams, texturing details and a fit that aim to decrease aerodynamic drag, and a use of lightweight materials that aim to offer both increased performance and comfort on the bike. I think Scott has largely achieved these aims - it’s certainly a very technically advanced set of kit, made with premium materials and finished very elegantly - but, unfortunately, it isn’t perfect.
Firstly, a note on sizing - I received both the shorts and jersey in a size Medium, and though the shorts fit perfectly, the jersey is slightly too big - the sleeves are a little baggy and there’s a little too much room around the waist, on my 183cm/64kg frame. Now this isn’t really a criticism, because looking at the sizing guide on Scott’s website, it appears a Small jersey would have been more suitable for me, but I do wonder if the size small would have had enough length in the body to not leave a gap between the shorts and the jersey when stood up.
The shorts are lovely - some of the best I’ve ever used. The textured material, seamless construction and high quality pad makes for a very comfortable pair of bib shorts. They feel compressive without being restrictive and the texturing, presumably present to add the aerodynamic performance of the material, and design make for an elegant pair of cycling shorts in all respects.
The Trouble With Pure Performance
The jersey isn’t quite as good. It’s comfortable, lightweight, well constructed and feels like a premium jersey, but the faded plum colour is an odd choice - I don’t mind it, but I don’t love it either. The textured shoulders and sleeves are a nice detail that matches the textured shorts, and ties the kit together as a set. Again, this surface texturing is, as far as I’m aware, there to create turbulence in the airflow and reduce the aerodynamic drag of the kit. I’ve not got any data to support the effectiveness of this, but it’s detail you can see a lot of on professional cycling kit these days, so there’s likely something to it (even if it’s most likely a reasonably marginal gain). I’m not a fan of the neckline - I appreciate this jersey is designed to fit best when in an aggressive cycling position, so the neckline is rather like that on a speedsuit, but I think it makes the jersey look like one of those muscle fit t-shirts you see on Love Island (that’s a guess - I’ve never seen Love Island), which isn’t a good look in my opinion. Scott might argue that from a pure performance point of view, this neckline prevents any bunching of excess fabric, but it’s not to my taste.
Another odd design feature is the decision to eschew the traditional three pockets on the rear of the jersey in favour of two larger pockets. It’s another design decision perhaps made with pure performance in mind. If you’re a professional cyclist, you probably don’t need that much storage space (and carrying less is probably more aerodynamic), but as a consumer I need to carry a few essentials on every ride (a phone, keys, mini-pump, etc.), plus food and extra clothing (eg. a gilet or lightweight jacket). Having only two pockets unfortunately limits your options for organising your stuff. Personally, I usually prefer to carry my phone, mini-pump and gilet in my middle rear pocket, as these are the heaviest/bulkiest items and I want to avoid side sagging. I then separate my food out in to the remaining two pockets, so I don’t have spend time rummaging through them mid-ride to find what I want. Your milage may vary with this, but to me it’s a classic case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
All things considered, this is a great set of cycling kit, clearly made with optimum racing performance in mind, but for your average consumer there are a few compromises you have to make for those performance gains, that lessen the appeal for general road riding.
What do you think of SCOTT’s latest kit - do you like the colour of the jersey? Are three rear pockets better than two, or is two enough? Are the compromises in aesthetics worth it for the potential performance gains? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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