I got two of these sweet Sombrio Vagabond Riding Shirts for Christmas from my GF. I figured I would post a review while you can actually still buy them with a month of riding in them I’ve got a decent handle on everything except their long term durability. We’ve got our Christmas gift buying down to a budget of ~$100/person so shit doesn’t get out of hand. Somehow my GF ended up on the Sombrio website around Black Friday Sale time when these $99 jerseys were on for under $50 each. They are high quality and well made so I don’t think $99 is out of the question given the pricing for other LS bike jerseys, but I’d rather pay ~$50 for sure. So I jumped on two to keep things under our gift budget.
I was a bit concerned about fit as they were not returnable due to the sale pricing. So I carefully studied the sizing chart and measured myself. I ended up going with XL. For my ~195lbs & 5’11” self. I’ve got wide shoulders/chest and then a [relatively] smaller waist plus longish arms. The Vagabond Shirt fits me perfectly. It’s probably one of the best fitting LS jerseys I own. Usually to get the shoulder/chest room I need the rest of the body is super baggy and/or the sleeves are too short. So on fit they are a total win for me. I especially love the long sleeves and longish body so everything stays in place when I am riding.
The fabric feels more like a casual shirt than a bike jersey, but it seems rugged and breathable. The cloth is a tight weave which won’t snag on sharp things like a lot of performance fabric bike jerseys will. That’s awesome if you ride in thorn country. It has a DWR finish to bead water and doesn’t absorb much moisture when riding in the rain. It doesn’t feel clammy when wet, which is nice. There is enough stretch in the material that I never feel tight or constrained when riding. Plus it feels good against the skin.
Sombrio put a lot of thought into the design with reinforcing patches on the sleeves, two chest pockets and a side stash pocket. There is a loop for a bike light…not something I would use, but someone else might. The front is closed with quality metal snaps. I like them a lot because it’s easy to open up the shirt to ventilate on a hot climb and then close it back up for a cool descent. There are some vents in the arm pit areas, but they are tiny so I am not sure how much good they’ll do. I think opening a few snaps up front would be a far more effective way to shed heat.
Style-wise I dig the plaid shirt look. You can wear this jersey to work or to a party without anyone knowing it’s bike specific gear. That’s nice for after-ride pub missions or if you are on a road trip and unexpectedly need to wear a collared shirt for something too fancy for a t-shirt.
I live/ride in the PNWet. I find this shirt is ideal for moist riding in temperatures 10 deg C [50F] or less. Personally over that temperature I’d start to get too warm in this shirt and I’d opt for something with 3/4 sleeves and more ventilation. That said this shirt is ideal for my entire winter riding season. For really cold days I’d pair it with a wind vest and when it’s a little warmer it’s fine on its own.
I really only have one criticism/suggestion for improvement for this product. I’d improve the arm pit ventilation. I think getting significantly more airflow in that area would make the shirt useable in warmer temperatures without making it less awesome for colder riding. That said it’s a small issue.
I expect I’ll be wearing one of these shirts every winter ride I do from now on. If I see them on sale for ~$50 I’d probably buy one more for times when I get slack on doing laundry or for road trips where we are riding day in and day out.
I thought this review over at Singletracks.com was useful when I considered buying this shirt. About the only thing we disagree on is that he found the shirt worked fine in warmer weather and I didn’t, but some people run hot and some people run cool so YMMV.