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The Bikeminimalism crew has the privilege and pleasure to test drive the Swrve Milwaukee ES hoodie and _blk label tees. During the Fall-Winter season of 2012-2013, we’ll bring the products onto our crispy autumn rides and commutes, abuse them in cold whipping Nordic rains and subject them to harsh Arctic sub-zero mid-winter snow and ice, while reporting on their performance.

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SWRVE MILWAUKEE ES HOODIE FIRST IMPRESSIONS
 
The exterior shell is made of a four-way-stretch softshell. Whilst it is water and wind resistant, if not completely weather proof, we have so far found this fabric to be extremely breathable as well.

The interior is made of a bonded fleece. It feels nice and soft, but also seems to wick moisture away from the skin. This in turn tends to guarantee a dry, warm and a more comfortable ride even in more adverse weather conditions.

The cut is notably designed with the cyclist in mind. The hem stops at waist-length in front to prevent bunching, and extends way down at the back to cover the sensitive lower back regions. The neckline comes high, providing protection for the neck and throat areas. The shoulder seams are placed off the shoulder strap pressure points, which makes carrying a messenger bag or a backpack tad more comfortable.

The arms feel a bit longish for normal off-the-bike use, but are perfect fit on the bike. We like the double cuffs, which prevent water, winds and snow from entering the sleeves. When mashing the streets, like we do, the extra long zippers in the underarm region provide for much needed ventilation.

The hood is generously cut. We found it large enough to accomodate a helmet underneath – a good thing for winter riding. However, unlike in many other hooded jackets we’ve tried, the Milwaukee ES hood is cut ito allow unobstructed side views as well. This is particularly crucial when riding in head-spinningly congested city traffic.

The pockets are generous. There is a hidden zippered mesh pocket inside the left chest area to store your phone or player safe from foul weather and random hoodlums. The back pocket provides a huge storage area accessible via zipped openings on both sides — even when wearing a backpack or a messenger bag. As pockets are mesh-lined, breathability is not compromised in the pocket regions.

The zippers are (on the test jackets) YKK throughout, with double separators both in the front and underarm zippers. We hear the main zipper has since then been replaced by a waterproof
Riri-brand. The main zipper also sports a nylon panel hidden underneath, which helps in keeping the wind and draft outside.   

THE VERDICT SO FAR…

The flashy logos, shiny lycra and epileptic color schemes found on most products labeled ”cycling apparel” are absent here. The Milwaukee ES looks are simple, minimalist, even conservative, which makes it a comfortabe wear both on and off the bike. This is particularly valuable for the urban commuter, who needs to dismount between rides and preferably, without making dubious fashion statements and looking somewhat lost.

What at first glance looks like a modest understatement, uncovers with closer inspection a real wolf in a sheeps’ clothing. The Milwaukee looks like your basic hooded sweatshirt but is in fact a very technical jacket, packed with one cycle-friendly feature after the other.

Based on our initial reactions the Bikeminimalism crew gives Swrve Milwaukee ES hoodie features a full 5 out of 5. We’re very much looking forward to giving the products some bicycling hell and checking out how the features perform in action. More to come… 

Swrve products are available at www.swrve.us in the States and at www.swrve.co.uk in Europe. 

 

Pics by John.

One thought on “Test Drive: Swrve Milwaukee ES hoodie (Part I).

  1. Pingback: Film: SWRVE Milwaukee ES Test Ride II. | Bikeminimalism.

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