cut 3Two things come to mind when I think of the word Bellwether.  One is that in my early days of riding, I remember a seasoned rider and friend always wore that brand.  The other is “Why can’t they learn to spell Bellweather?’  Well my friend was no dummy so it must have been good clothing and I found out that the word ‘Bellwether’ comes from the sheep world (so maybe I am the dummy).

bellwether

n

1. (Breeds) a sheep that leads the herd, often bearing a bell

2. a leader, esp one followed unquestioningly

Well, you learn things every now and then.

 What we have here is the Coldfront Converible LS Jersey from Bellwether, just in time for what seems to be a full week of spring and 10 months of summer.  The next time I am tired of cold weather, I will just order a winter garment as the last weekend of cool weather happened just before this jersey hit the doorstep.  So I have been creative getting out in it, and while I sure would have liked to wring it out properly, I do have some good impressions.  If I wait any longer, we will all be cooking steaks at the beach in shorts and flip flops.

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This is what Bellwether says about the Coldfront Convertible LS Jersey:

Versatile wind blocking 3-layer soft shell technology provides a protective barrier against wind chill in a single garment that can convert to a vest upon fluctuating conditions.

  • Removable sleeves
  • Stretchable, laminated windproof front and arm panels
  • Thermal-knit back panel for high breathability
  • Flat seam construction
  • Full-length external locking front zipper
  • Silicon elastic gripper at the hem to prevent ride-up
  • Three large rear pockets with 5” zipper pocket
  • Angled side pockets for easy access
  • Reflective accents for improved visibility

Fabric: Coldfront™, Micro-Elite™ Color: Ferrari, Black Size: Small — XXL

I wore it on early starts on the road and on Fat Bike rides at 8000′.  I wore it on windy, cool days, and at rides where it was 39° at the beginning and 70° by the end.  What I never got it into was a cooler, dreary day or really even a truly cold day.  Still, I think I have a feel for it other than on a long, colder ride.
The Good:
  • Slim fit so it stays close to you, but is long enough in the sleeve and back to ride correctly on your frame.
  • Love the red color.  Simple and tasteful styling.
  • No wind gets through that sucker, at least where the fabric is windproof, and that is the entire chest and sleeves.
  • The back section is a knit fabric that breathes, so unzipping the jersey allows for air moment around and out.
  • Nice 4 pocket build…three main, slanted at the outside edges, and one 4th zipped pocket that sits on the face of the center pocket.
  • Soft, tall collar that is not too snug and sleeves that are knit at the wrists and long enough to cover over gloves, etc.
  • The sleeves come off for days that warm up as you ride.

The Not So Good:

  • Maybe a bit too slim…I was busting the seams of the LG, which is what I would typically wear.  I needed an XL so order accordingly.
  • No wind gets through that sucker. And although you can unzip the main jersey and regulate temps, the sleeves are 100% windproof and they have little chance to disperse moisture. I think a panel of knit material (like the jersey back) at the back of the arms as well would allow for staying in those sleeves longer as temps rise or the climbs come along.  If I had worn it in colder temps, I might have not felt this as much, but you sweat even when its cold out and it is important to stay dry as much as possible.
  • If you want a really snug collar to keep drafts out, it may be a bit loose for you.
  • This applies to all garments that have zip off sleeves, or at least the ones I have tried.  As much as I love the feature, I needed to remove the jersey to install the sleeves although I could remove them while wearing the garment.  SO that means when you get cold and want to ‘bivy up’ when the weather comes in or the descent happens, it is more trouble than just pulling a wind breaker or jacket on.  If you have a friend nearby, then a team effort makes this a simpler deal.

I like this.  At $130.00 MSRP, it is a versatile jersey that is darn near a light soft shell jacket.  It looks sharp even with the sleeves off, having a full short sleeve under it that is also wind proof, so your shoulders stay protected.  It is a bit close fitting to layer too much under it, although I wore a base shirt and arm warmers and felt just right, letting you know that it is, after all, a jersey and not a jacket.

One day I may even ride it when it is cold out.

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Final word:

At $130.00 MSRP, it is a versatile piece of kit that functions as a jersey, wind vest, and light jacket due to the windproof fabric and the removable sleeves.  Used within a cooler temperature range, it would make for a great dawn to dusk garment for changing conditions.

 

 

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Note: Bellwether sent over the jersey for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.