Review: Belgian Boys Club Kwaremont/ BBC Club Jersey (€110)
All photos are courtesy of Mike Maney Photography. Be sure to check out his work; he is a fellow cyclist in the Bucks County cycling community with multiple KOMs to his name.
(2017) I never thought I would be the person to have two jerseys on one hanger. Why two jerseys you might ask? Initially I set aside one jersey for special occasions. It may be selected for the first day of the Tour de France when I slide the Belgian Boys Club Belgie jersey off of the hanger. It may be a team time trial stage. Perhaps it’s the cycling world championships and I’m in the festive mood. What about needing a swift kick in the rear end to get out the door? Belgian stripes always help in situations like that. Or maybe I pull it out of the closet just because I want to feel like Tom Boonen. I thought the Belgian Boys Club Belgie jersey would enjoy its rightful place in the closet. I was wrong.
Some say style is either functional or fashionable. That statement implies a garment is either one or the other, not both. To those people I would like to point them to a cycling jersey that is so perfect in design and fashion I remember the day I saw it and started making plans to have it. The Belgian Boys Club Kwaremont jersey was announced in early August 2017 and it dazzled my Instagram feed. I lusted after it for a few weeks before whipping out the credit card and rubbing my palms together in anticipation. The question was: It looked great, but how would it perform.
For those who follow creakybottombracket.com, they will recall our Upstate New York ride that flung us up Whiteface Mountain. The original plan was to wear the Kwaremont/ BBC jersey and get a photo at that top of the mountain. While I did wear the jersey, I was shelled so hard going up, I barely could think straight up the eight miles of climbing that averaged eight percent. The heat had gotten to me and I forgot to get a photo of the jersey at the top of the mountain. Naturally I would keep my sickly face out of the photo for the benefit of those considering purchasing it. The backup plan was to wear the jersey to the Fourth Annual Adirondack Brewfest that all of us had tickets to immediately following the ride. Again, the residual backwash of our day around the Adirondacks left the jersey in a stinking mound on the floor of the guesthouse while we forced ourselves to drink beer. It would have been perfect except every obstacle prevented it.
Yet while we rode eighty-five miles around the Adirondacks in late September amidst unseasonable warmth, I couldn’t help but continuously ogle the new Belgian Boys Club collaboration jersey with Kwaremont Bier. The attention to detail repeats itself. Kwaremont Blond is brewed along the Tour of Flanders route. Its 6.6% alcohol is no mistake. The beer’s alcohol purposely matches the steepness gradient of the Oude de Kwaremont, a hallowed climb in spring classics cycling. This jersey was meant for the weekend we had just experienced, but, donning the colors of a beer brewed for leaders, I looked at my jersey’s chest and sleeves for inspiration to finish off some of the last ramps of a climb that matches more of Alpe d’Huez rather than Oude de Kwaremont. In my ride up Whiteface, I had time to consider just what I thought of the new offering from Belgian Boys Club.
I will say it straight away: I love this jersey. This is a specialty jersey that is the perfect gift for the avid cyclist in your life. The fit is Euro race. That means it is meant to fit right up against the body. If the person you are buying it for (or maybe yourself) does not have a race fit body, use the size chart on the site. Should you want a less snug fit, size up.
Slipping this jersey on felt like silk. The silicone grippers from some of the other BBC jerseys were removed for this garment. Speaking of the sleeves, they are satisfyingly long down the bicep. Don’t expect any sort of sleeve bunching with this fit. The sleeve cuffs are slightly tighter than the rest of the bicep to lock the jersey in place. A tight fit means it will not move throughout the ride, no matter what you do or what you stow in the pockets.
As with all Belgian Boys Club jerseys, the pockets sit nice and high. They are also suitably oversized for anything you’d like to store, from Belgian waffle sandwiches to a third water bottle. Taking advantage of the zipper pouch of the fourth pocket, I discreetly stashed my car key and forgot about it, knowing full well it was protected. What was located under the pockets was the most exciting part.
Under the pockets is a panel of mesh. I’ve stated before Belgian Boys Club has perfected the part of the jersey beneath the pockets. It’s not an easy piece of fabric to dial in. Make the panel too loose and it flaps around. Make it too tight and the jersey sits halfway up the back making the rider look ridiculous. With the Kwaremont/ BBC Club jersey, the mesh panel allowed the jersey to sit perfectly above the waistline whilst allowing body heat to escape during the hot ride. Why can’t all jerseys be like this? I looked down for inspiration to keep up with the group but also to remind myself I was wearing one of the most comfortable jerseys in the cycling industry. I felt like I was wearing nothing at all…nothing at all… nothing at all (Stupid sexy Flanders!). See what I did there?
The jersey's other features include an incredibly stout zipper with a zipper garage. Since I feel the need to keep my kits zipped up, this is made simple by tucking the zipper into its little home to prevent irritating the neck. The silicone gripper along the back-bottom of the jersey also helped with holding it in place. The well-placed Belgian stripes and Lion of Flanders complete the look on the middle pocket panel. Of course, a free Kwaremont water bottle with cobblestones can be instrumental at reminding the rider just how much s/he should suffer at all times. We may not have access to Belgian cobbles, but we can still suffer.
I am a minimalist, so when I saw the Belgian Boys Club jersey, I knew I had to have it based on its minimalist design. It was perfectly balanced with Kwaremont labels and the Belgian Boys Club banner. For the most part the entire back is void of graphics. The sleeves have the Kwaremont plates and the chest naturally adorns the Belgian Boys Club logo. But that’s it. It is so tastefully done, that I want to wear it at all times. It is so immensely comfortable, that I can foresee myself making a case to pull it off the shared hanger well into winter.
Late last year I asked a fellow cyclist who was visiting Belgium to bring back the Kwaremont beer label for me. I even took great steps to informing him the proper way of removing the label (boiling water). He never sent me the label yet the jersey takes the place just fine. I hope I have convinced you to consider purchasing this jersey by now. I fully intend to live in it until I can no longer throw a leg over the top tube. At that point I will hopefully have enough retirement money to position myself on the roadside of a Belgian spring classic race while sipping a Kwaremont Blond and wearing the Belgian Boys Club jersey. You’ll be able to identify me. I’ll be the guy with the complimentary Kwaremont water bottle in the middle pocket and two Kwaremont Blonde bottles filling the remaining pockets in reserve. Feel free to stand next to me so we look like teammates.