Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Cost of a Good Zipper

My favorite jersey in the whole world is an Assos Jersey. (This one.) Although reasonably priced, by Assos' standards, it still is a whopping $150 (US). Many have scoffed at this, thinking, "there's no way it's worth $150." or even "What is so different about this jersey that makes it worth $150?" Of course, many people can't manage to get out more than, "$150??!!"

Yes, it is worth $150. Not that everyone can afford this price. If it were priced lower, I might have more than just 1. As it is, I have only one, and I try and save it for special rides, or long rides, or rides where I want to wear the best jersey.

To illustrate why it is worth more than three less-expensive jerseys put together--as it is priced--I'll compare it to the jersey I've been given to wear for the 300 Warriors ride this Saturday in the Tour of Utah. (As part of this ride, we got jerseys with our number screened onto the back pocket of the jersey. We have to wear these jerseys as this is our "bib" in essence.)

(I could point out why all other jerseys suck, but I think one is enough to illustrate my point.)

I decided today to go on an early morning ride wearing what I was planning on wearing Saturday. Either way, I'm wearing the jersey (as I stated above), but I still wanted to get a feel for it before the race. The fit is surprisingly nice. I usually wear a size large jersey when they're "pro" cut, but in this case, I got word it was "club" cut, so I went with a medium. The sleeves are the right length and so is the body. It fits close, but not tight. There are three rear pockets. Seemingly, this has everything I'd want out of a basic jersey. In fact, the manufacturer even increased the length of the zipper from the last Tour of Utah (they're the official jersey sponsors of the Tour--providing all the winners' jerseys). I was excited.

My excitement ended when I tried to zip said zipper up all the way (it was a chilly morning--as will be race-day). I won't even pretend to be the strongest guy out there. I'm not even strong by little girl standards. However, getting the zipper past the chest-collar seam took much more effort than it should have. Not surprisingly, it took a ton of effort to then lower said zipper. Of course, most jerseys (though, not my favorite (see above)) require two hands (or one hand while you bite the collar to hold it in place) to unzip, but this was more like, "Don't operate this zipper while riding because it could cause loss of control resulting in death or injury." Being a chilly morning, though, I figured I'd be able to get away with it being zipped up the entire ride (I'm tapering this week, too). I soon realized just how awful a zipper could be.

I don't know quite how they've managed to do it, but the closed zipper is so uncomfortable, I might never, ever wear it zipped up. The zipper ends (the teeth and cloth part) are folded over just at the top and sewn down that way. This has, unfortunately, left little zipper teeth sticking back towards the neck of the wearer. It was surprising to discover how sharp those little things felt (and I'm used to putting the moving blade of an electric razor on that part of my neck). Also, the zipper mechanism itself--due to the folding of the zipper cloth or for some other reason--doesn't sit flat--it sticks out and back towards the neck.

At this point, I need to ask: How could they get it so wrong? The zipper has been around for a long time. I've been wearing clothing with a zipper of one form or another in it for almost all of my life and I've never seen a zipper so bad--so vindictive.

I know, Assos, that you probably wouldn't look to the Tour of Utah as a big money-making venture, but please, PLEASE try and be the sponsor next year.

No comments: