Icebreaker LS Commute Zip Thru

m fw11 gtcm260 ls commute zip thru ib4b59001 front WEB

Today, at a birthday party, a friend of mine joked that all the women were wearing boots because the temperature’s finally dropped below 65F degrees. I live in a pretty temperate climate, with 70F being the norm around here. However, we do get our cold spouts and around this time of year, I start turning to my favorite fabric to keep me warm. Icebreaker, the New Zealand company obsessed with wool, has not been in the cycling game long. At first, they limited themselves to the running and hiking crowds. I suppose I never wondered why they never made cycling apparel. After all, it’s all Lyrca these days and the only mention of wool is the nostalgic kind reminiscing of scratchy jersies long past. So, imagine everyone’s surprise when Icebreaker’s Circuit and Cadence series came out and they proved once again that wool does work on a bike.

Their latest offering is a commuter line which is different from their GT BIke line in a few regards. Most noticeably, the items are more casual, meant to be used more for trips to the office, rather than training rides. Icebreaker was kind enough to send me a long sleeve Commute Zip which I have been putting through the paces. The top is rated GT260, which in Icebreaker nomenclature, means the material is 260 grams per square meter. Their system takes some getting used to and I used to be really annoyed by it, but over time with some experience, you start recognizing whether you are too warm, too cold, or just right, and you take note of the weight of the material. For me, 260 perfect for midlayers and it’s exactly how I treated the Commute.

I am on the large end of small for Icebreaker clothing and this time was no different. Desiring a fitted top, I opted for the smaller size rather than a medium which would have meant I would have been swimming in the garment. The all black top has a contrasting red zipper that runs the full length. I appreciate the versatility the zipper offers. It means that I can wear this even in warmer months when the temperature is brisk. I am not sure who Icebreaker users as their zipper supplier but starting FW 2011, they really have stepped up their game. The main zipper tab is subtly branded and has curves and knurling that is very effective. The Commute Zip Thru was snug but comfortable, particularly in the shoulders and waits area. The entire rear bottom section is lined with the same rubber strips found in the GT Bike line, helping the Commute from riding up your behind when hunched over.  My only complaint regarding the fit is around the upper arms. It’s quite snug there and I felt a little claustrophobic around that area when I am walking around.

m fw11 gtcm ls commute zip thru ib4b59001 WEB

There is evidence throughout of a real attention to detail. For example, on the rear right shoulder, there’s a two inch reflective strip. Very much appreciated, but I would have liked a little bit more reflective material to improve safety. The left shoulder sports two lanes of red stitching, adding a stylish focus point to the garment.  There are two compartment zippers, one on each side, in front. Since the lining is somewhat thin, I would not suggest putting anything heavier than a thin wallet or light smartphone in there. A heavy set of keys would bounce around too much, making for an uncomfortable (and noisy) ride.

The mornings here are about 55F so when I put on the Commute Zip Thru for my ride to work, I like to put it over a thin baselayer. I usually go with an Icebreaker Tech T merino shirt or a Patagonia Capilene. Hunched over, in my drops, the LS Commute really shone. The rear grip tape kept it firmly against my back and there was ample material in the sleeves to accommodate any riding position while keeping my arms covered and warm. The best part is when I got to work, I strolled into the meeting without looking like I just came from a training ride and because wool is naturally neutral smelling, I didn’t smell like it either.