Search and State S1-A Riding Jersey >> $125
The lowdown: A nice, American-made jersey
Pros: Great fit and fashion (what else would you expect from New Yorkers?)
Cons: Zipper binds annoyingly on an internal flap
It’s difficult these days to find goods made in the USA. Cycling clothing in particular is nearly 100-percent outsourced, with many brands sharing factories. Search and State Apparel, founded just two years ago, is based in New York City and according to co-founder Devin O’Brien, he never considered making products elsewhere.
The S1-A is Search and State’s only jersey (the company makes a thermal jacket as well) and it is only available in black. The brand sells primarily through its website, though there are a few retailers picking up the new brand.
The fabric, made in North Carolina, breathes incredibly well and its mesh-like construction is apparent when you hold it up to the light. So far, the all-black design hasn’t shown any signs of fading, though being entirely constructed of the same fabric limits how noticeable fading would be. The S1-A does not use any special “Cold Black” or similar technologies like those being used by Pearl Izumi and Gore, that some manufacturers claim stay cooler than normal black material in the sun, but the S1-A is still comfortable in the summer sun, even in the humidity of the Midwest.
The S1-A has a good fit, and holds true to the advertised size. It fits more like a race jersey than a club rider’s jersey, though it’s not an “aero jersey” by any means. Three back pockets offer plenty of storage for a long day in the saddle, and access is easy with no overly tight elastic at the openings. The lack of elastic in the arm openings is a nice feature, during the summer especially, and makes the jersey fall on the shoulders more naturally.
The one gripe we had was with the zipper, and more specifically, the protective flap behind it. While the flap is a nice touch, keeping the plastic of the zipper away from your skin, the flap does tend to get caught in the zipper.
At $125, the S1-A is less expensive than the $160 Rapha Club jersey, but still quite a bit more expensive than something you’ll find in the Bike Nashbar catalog. The S1-A barely falls into the expensive side of the jersey market, and while its construction doesn’t give it much bang-for-your-buck, for many the importance of buying American-made legitimizes the price tag. That may add to the “feel good factor,” as will the added cash in your wallet.