The bibs are easy off!;
Luxury fabrics and finishes.
The bib magnet can be a tad bit fiddly.
A young fresh cycling apparel brand founded and designed by a female pro, which offers comfort and quick exits for bathroom breaks.
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Women’s cycling apparel is expanding; even better when said expansions embrace newer designs. And who better to design cycling kit than a former champion cyclist? Iris was created by Iris Slappendel in 2017 to offer kits that don’t compromise on quality, or visual design. It’s named after her, yes, but it’s also a fitting acronym for “I Ride In Style.”
Also read: Assos warm-weather women’s cycling kit
Iris is distinctive not just because of the buttery-soft fabrics used, but as a luxury brand that I would argue is on par, quality-wise, with Velocio. While there are other luxury cycling apparel brands, Iris is the only women-focused cycling apparel brand besides Velocio I’m aware of that offers easy-off bibs that are as good as typical bibs for century-plus rides. Both Velocio and Iris make men’s kits as well, but those offerings don’t have an easy-off function — It’s that thoughtful feature for women that really sets both brands apart from competitors.
Iris Feeding Frenzy bib shorts
All Iris bibs are “easy-off” or nature-break friendly. They employ a rear magnet in a racer-back cut that allows the bibs to come down without riders needing to take off their jersey. This is a huge plus — imagine riding on cooler days where riders have on multiple top outer layers — say a vest and a jersey, or on cooler or wetter days where riders have on a jersey, long sleeve, and vest. It is cumbersome to take off all of those layers just to use the restroom. Iris avoids all the fuss required when wearing a standard bib, while still keeping a high-waisted fit that prevents any gap between bibs and the bottom of a jersey.
The panels on the Iris Feeding Frenzy bibs ($163) are minimal, and there are no separate leg grippers, which results in a smooth, streamlined fit and no chance of sausage leg. The material is soft to the touch, and the multi-density foam chamois is sewn carefully into a comfortable position.
Of course, the central strap at the rear keeps the bibs from sliding around, which is why we love bibs in the first place. It keeps the chamois where it needs to be, without the fear that so many female cyclists have of not being able to get out the bibs without stripping off their jerseys. This feature grows in importance as the temperature drops: taking off just a jersey for a nature break is bad enough — that gets more annoying the more upper layers we have to add to stay warm. Add a jacket vest, and arm warmers to that, and getting out of regular bibs during a short stop on a ride becomes a rushed production.
The only downside to the magnetic snaps is that you need to make sure they’re really closed. It can come undone if not actually snapped closed, but when that did happen to me, my butt still was not exposed: the cut of the bibs sets the attachment point high up enough that the jersey will hold the bibs in place. And, the reflective piping for low light conditions and a bit of design flair that sets the kit apart (when Iris is inevitably copied by AliExpress brands, I’ll bet money they’ll leave off that excellent design feature).
Iris Feeding Frenzy jersey
The central, fourth zippered pocket on the Iris Feeding Frenzy jersey ($127) adds another pop of visibility. The bulk added by that extra pocket may have caused it to fall out of fashion, but a fourth pocket makes a jersey supremely practical for long-distance rides where the pockets of those of us without burrito bags are filled to the brim with snacks, emergency repair gear, and clothes for weather changes. Iris jerseys also come in prints, which I appreciate because prints don’t show dirt, mud splatter, or sweat the way solid colors tend to do.
The Feeding Frenzy sleeves don’t go overboard with the length trend, and sit further above the elbow than some other jerseys in the Iris collection. This is in line with women’s tendency toward shorter limbs. In my internet lurking and frequent questions put to the kit-wearing public, it seems people prefer a longer sleeve, but not so long that the bottom hits the elbow. I have longer-than-average limbs, especially compared to my torso, so this design choice stood out to me once I put the kit on. That said, they’re still not that antique cap sleeve that was popular on women’s jerseys of the aughts, nor a raglan sleeve that connects to the collar. I prefer a regular sleeve for the freedom of articulation.
Comparatively, Iris kept the length of the torso a bit longer than the current race-cut trend. As someone with a shorter-than-usual torso, I would order a size down if I wanted a shorter, tighter fit. The upside of the extra length is comfort on the bike and ease while off of it. There’s no risk of exposing your stomach. Enjoy the cafe stop with no fear.
The cap is a traditional four-panel with a reasonable fit, meaning it’s sized for people with some kind of hair. It didn’t feel like it was strangling my forehead, and it did it’s job of keeping the sun and sweat out of my eyes. The socks are still cycling socks, which are borderline too-short on my too-long legs, but they are well sewn; they don’t choke my toes as some cycling-specific socks have done.
Iris Feeding Frenzy Kits verdict
Having had time to wear the kit, and reading through Iris’ other offerings I’m eager to watch this brand grow. The bibs are fantastic and reasonably priced — they’re about the same as Velocio’s Foundation line, but with a similar leg design to the Luxe. I haven’t cut either chamois open (yet), but I’d rather choose the Iris for century days. The jersey prices are VERY competitive to offer reflective accents and a zipper pocket on a buttery soft material blend with a unique print. The value is undeniable once you get your hands on it.
Iris is definitely a kit to grab.