A premium feel with a friendly price tag in Kalf's first season on the market – we test its Flux jersey to see if you can really get top-end quality at a mid-range price point
Kalf – the clothing brand exclusively available at Evans Cycles – arrived on the scene this summer, their number one goal being to offer kit with touches of luxury at an affordable price point.
The capsule range for women consists of three jerseys, a pair of bib shorts, and waist shorts as well as some more casual baggy shorts. They’ve also got the bibs and one jersey in a ‘Prudential RideLondon’ design.
The Flux and Flux Chevron jerseys sit at the same price point, sharing most of the same features – the differentiation is in the design.
The Flux Chevron is on offer in a coral pink with a tasteful geometric pattern, while the Flux we have on test comes in a medium green hue with a couple of small ‘K’ graphics.
The Kalf Flux Women’s jersey certainly feels like a premium item at first inspection. The fabric is light, soft and stretches easily – it’s made of a mixture of 93 per cent polyester and seven per cent elastane according to the heat transfer label, which does away with scratchy tags.
In fact, the light material felt incredibly similar to touch as a firm favourite of mine – the Giro Chrono Pro – that retails at twice the price.
Multiple panels have been used to provide a close fit and Kalf has paid special attention to the panels below the arms, where a perforated fabric made from 77 per cent polyamide and 23 per cent elastane is used to provide additional breathability.
There are some head-tilts to the premium market that Kalf is aiming for too – such as the wide, stretchy black waistband/hem. A myriad of silicone dots in a chevron formation adorns the inside so it’s easy to see why the hem does its job of keeping everything in place.
The hem section sits lower at the rear and then graduates at the front with a slight upwards curve. The result is a nice fit on the hips that carries a hint of a skinsuit streamline, which is always nice.
The sleeves are laser cut, with turned-over and glued seams. In the inside there’s a strip of slightly more robust but stretchy material, designed to provide the right level of fit.
The pockets are a three-compartment affair with a zipped valuables pocket. The middle pocket is much larger and big enough for an inner tube and phone, while the side pockets are more mini-pump shaped. This is ideal if you’re travelling light, but maybe less so if you plan to be out all day.
There are some reflective details, in particular a large pearlescent silver ‘K’ on the middle pocket, and there’s a subtle coral pink ‘K’ at the sleeves as well as light pink dots seen through the perforation. The styling is certainly pleasantly understated.
Kalf Flux Women’s jersey: ride
At face value, it all looked excellent and I was ready to give Kalf a 10/10 on first impressions.
However, the fit caused some concerns for me. Initially, I began my Flux journey in a size medium [pictured]. This was quite loose in fit at the back, the result being some errant pockets when out of the saddle. Sizes run from XS to XL and the size guide does place me as a small so this wasn’t surprising.
Swapping the medium for a small, the fit around the body was much better. However, the sleeves were simply far too tight – the stretchy strip of material at the bicep didn’t stretch enough and instead compressed the upper arm. The result was a bizarre bicep bulge that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Michelin man. Not ideal.
Admittedly, I do have a [not so] secret past in triathlon and maybe my swimmer’s arms aren’t as far behind me as the elasticated laces and short socks – but it’s a problem I’ve only ever had with one other brand and I can’t say I’m outside the margins of average.
I did ask Kalf if this was feedback it had heard elsewhere, and it turns out it had had mixed responses, with some riders liking the slim fit and others finding it too slim. You can stretch the not-stretchy-enough strip to create a slightly better fit, and it does loosen up over time, but in the meantime Kalf is working on the design for future iterations to remove the issue.
In terms of riding comfort, breathability and wicking the Kalf jersey did an excellent job, keeping me cool on tough rides in the sun.
In the small size the pockets stayed put and I really liked the fit of the hem and the way it sat close to the skin and rose up towards the zip at the front.
The pocket distribution with a large middle section and smaller compartments either side worked for most rides, but I would rather have evenly spaced sections on a long day.
At just £64.99, Kalf is offering a fabric and features that you’d expect to see on a jersey twice the price.
Kalf has provided a luxurious option with a price tag that would be a genuine surprise if you hadn't seen it before you wore the jersey. Unfortunately, the fit of the sleeves really let it down for me – but it’s absolutely worth trying one on as it’s unlikely this will affect everyone.