Like many other people, I try and use independent bike shops where I can. The LBS, as it is known, is a dying part of communities up and down the country and more and more bike shops are now chains.
It occurred to me that while it’s all well and good supporting the LBS, doesn’t wearing mass-produced cycling attire kind of cancel out the good work?
Clearly it’s a lot easier to get hold of gear by the usual clothing companies, but when I was offered the chance to review a smaller brand’s jersey I was very keen and intrigued as to how it would hold out.
Small is beautiful
Torm is a deliberately small brand, set up by two cyclists, Alan and Paul, who also happen to run an LBS together in the picturesque town of Broadstairs in Kent (how I’d love to be based there for cycling purposes!)
Alan and Paul do everything, and that’s the beauty of Torm – you know that the thought, the detail in the product has been pondered over by two bike lovers who’ve then made it real. And the pondering was probably in an LBS, too.
The T2 jersey
As with all the products in the Torm range, the T2 is a simple, classically designed cycling jersey made from top range sportswool, keeping the rider cool and comfortable at the same time.
The “SportWool” advanced technology used in all the Torm jerseys “transports perspiration away from the body leaving you cool and dry.” I know, that’s the type of marketing talk that makes you cringe usually, right? Well I cringed a bit too, until I wore the jersey for the first time.
The weather was warm, summer had arrived, and I had my work clothes in a rucksack on my back – lycra-type clothing isn’t really designed for commuting – but I felt the coolest I’d felt in a long time on my journey to work. There was, blissfully, no itching and no rubbing.
Efficiency – and a brand comparison
As we’ve all come to expect from any cycling jersey, the jersey comes with the usual rear pockets, one zipped, and there really is nothing to distinguish the jersey from those by other, more well known cycling brands – except the price. The T2 jersey will set you back £50 – but the Rapha equivalent is more than double.
Is it double the quality? No, it isn’t.
Funny I should mention Rapha, isn’t it? In their very early days Paul and Alan had some interesting communication from Rapha. Founder of the high-end brand, once tweeted (referring to Torm): “can everyone stop ripping off my s*** please?”
The lawyers got involved, and Alan and Paul’s range was tweaked slightly. You can read more about it in an interview over on & Bike – but the fact that Torm was compared to the most well-known cycling brand there is is surely testament to the classy, timeless designs, and personally I’d take that as a compliment.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of starting not only an LBS, but an LBB (little bike brand), all from one of the country’s nicest seaside towns, is the stuff of dreams.
There was almost part of me that expected the T2 jersey would prove to be rubbish when I tried it. But that was absolutely not the case. Everything from the care that had gone into the simple design, the fact that Paul and Alan were reluctant to do any publicity and the fact that the jersey arrived in a hand-addressed envelope, meant Torm was a brand I fell for right away.
The brand might be small, but if the T2 jersey is anything to go by, the jerseys would be at home in any LBS. The designs are classic, the colours are simple, and the pricing is, in comparison to much of the market, superb.
Great for: price, comfort, efficiency