Author Topic: Vulpine merino gear  (Read 3015 times)

Vulpine merino gear
« on: September 03, 2015, 07:45:35 pm »
Over the past year I've bought a variety of merino items from vulpine (vulpine.cc), and love them all. They claim to design for 'ride and destination', and generally live up to the tag - the alpine full-zip jersey is not something I'd wear if I wasn't going to be getting on a bike, but it is smart as cycling tops go. Their tshirts and polo shirts are great - lovely soft merino, with all its advantages (wicking, temperature regulating, warm when wet, doesn't pong), and a good cut - long enough at the back to avoid gaping when on the bike, but looks normal when off. The polo shirts especially are smart enough to wear for meetings at work. My only comment would be it would be nice if they were slightly longer overall, but then I'm unusually tall. They're not cheap, but I've picked up all my gear in the sales, and even the year-old kit looks pretty much like new, so overall they're great value for money; I certainly plan to replace mine as and when it wears. Recommended.

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 08:19:15 pm »
£95 for a polo shirt!

Your rec led me to their website but their pricing let me to close the window pdq.

A quick search chucks up £39 from Howies for something similar - is the vulpine really more than twice as good?

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 09:55:03 pm »
I've picked up all my stuff in sales, where the cost has been more like that of the howies - at 30-50% off it becomes a lot more bearable. The howies polo is 70% merino/30% poly, which may make a difference. I think wiggle/dhb also do (or did) merino polos at a cheaper price, but haven't seen them in the flesh. I will say that I don't regret buying any of my vulpine gear; I don't think I'd have regretted it at full price, though I'd have bought less overall.

I am a total convert to merino, though; wearing a tshirt as a base layer or one of the polos means I can blast it in to work without worrying about sweating. They've also been great for this miserable summer - like you I use a rain cape in bad weather, and I've found them much more comfortable than cotton. Even if they do get a bit damp, whether from sweat or from the cape wetting through, they're never clammy, and can deal with a fairly wide range of temperatures. If it's just drizzling I often don't bother with the cape - the wool seems to shrug off small amounts of wet, is warm enough when it gets wet, and dries pretty quickly.

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 07:45:39 am »
I'm also a merino fan - on the basis of a single Rapha shirt that I received as a pressie once. Hence my quick dash over to the vulpine site when I read your comments. I'll keep my eyes peeled for sales promotions as, much as merino is worth it, I can't quite (or even remotely) stomach almost £100 on a polo shirt!

And, you're right about the Howies one - 70% ain't the same as 100%.

fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 10:15:34 am »
Another merino fan here. What's nice is that this fabric is available in different weights, with the lightest being half the thickness of t-shirt fabric , i.e. really thin, and silky smooth, quite unlike 'wool'.

The Fruitcake household now has a number of IceBreaker merino tops. Nice and long in the body, 100% merino and, supposedly, made of ethically sourced merino. The ethics relate to the sheep shearing methods.

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 01:01:28 pm »
Howies used to make a 100% merino polo shirt - dunno why they stopped it, they may claim that synthetics improve durability?

A fairer price point might be plain t-shirts/ base-layers.
Icebreaker and vulpine are around £55:
http://www.vulpine.cc/Shop/Mens/Shirts-T-Shirts-Jerseys/ICAT1056/MENS-MERINO-TEE/ITM1165

Howies is £40. (These are all RRPs. )

You can even undercut Howies, but I suspect you move away from ethical ingredients then.(I confess I buy a lot of PLanetx sale stuff, no idea where/how its made ...)

With something "stylish" i.e. not a purely functional base-layer, a lot of this is about taste; if you think a pretty thing is worth £90, pay it!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2015, 07:14:18 pm »
I have a base layer from Rab that's 65% merino, 35% polyester and it definitely gets 'stickier' than the 100% merino ones.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2015, 07:46:22 pm »
I love Howies plain merino tops. I'm wearing one now. I find that the weight, compared to, say Icebreaker tops, makes them a much more versatile option. 

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 11:51:21 am »
A quick search chucks up £39 from Howies for something similar - is the vulpine really more than twice as good?

The Vulpine Alpine is excellent - a really well made lightweight jersey. I'd say it justifies its price for 100% merino.

However, I've lately been wearing a Howies Cadence jersey (25% merino) for testing purposes and I've been impressed with that too. The synthetic element isn't polyester but Sorona, which is an interesting choice. It certainly makes for a soft and comfortable jersey. How hard wearing it is remains to be seen.

Also, if you think the Vulpine is expensive, bear in mind that the Rapha Classic jersey is £110 and that's only 39% merino. It is lovely though.

I also have a couple of cheap Planet X merino jerseys. I got them for something like £15 each. They're shit and I wouldn't buy the same again.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2015, 07:09:23 pm »
Has anyone tried the L/S alpine jersey - is it a heavier weight than the S/S? As the temperatures drop I'm considering whether to look around for one.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2015, 07:33:19 pm »
A quick search chucks up £39 from Howies for something similar - is the vulpine really more than twice as good?

The Vulpine Alpine is excellent - a really well made lightweight jersey. I'd say it justifies its price for 100% merino.

However, I've lately been wearing a Howies Cadence jersey (25% merino) for testing purposes and I've been impressed with that too. The synthetic element isn't polyester but Sorona, which is an interesting choice. It certainly makes for a soft and comfortable jersey. How hard wearing it is remains to be seen.

Also, if you think the Vulpine is expensive, bear in mind that the Rapha Classic jersey is £110 and that's only 39% merino. It is lovely though.

I also have a couple of cheap Planet X merino jerseys. I got them for something like £15 each. They're shit and I wouldn't buy the same again.
Gosh! I thought that Sportwool was the other way round – 61% merino, 39% polyester. Not sure why I thought this, must have read it somewhere, but I was so sure of it, I thought you'd got that wrong. So I checked, and you're right. Unless Rapha's own website is wrong.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2015, 12:14:47 pm »
The ethics relate to the sheep shearing methods.

Reading that bit on their website, my advertising-bullshit-o-meter did go "beep". Free range merino? That's the only way to farm those sheep - they simply don't take well to intensive farming methods. And there'd be no point since it takes time for the wool to grow and you're not after weight of meat* - so leaving them to graze on poor pasture is also the cheapest way of getting your wool. Calling it free range and plastering pictures of wide open spaces on the website is simply feel-good-advertising.

Lovely tops though.  ;D





*We farmed "Dormers". A cross of merino and "Dorper", which is in turn also a cross of the british breed "Dorset Horn" with the indigenous southern african sheep known as the Black-head Persian. You get wool from it, as well as good meat and the drought resistance from the Persian. Fabulous sheep.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 04:27:10 pm »
The ethics relate to the sheep shearing methods.

I think it's the lack of "mulesing"  that makes makes it ethical.

Reading that bit on their website, my advertising-bullshit-o-meter did go "beep". Free range merino? That's the only way to farm those sheep - they simply don't take well to intensive farming methods. And there'd be no point since it takes time for the wool to grow and you're not after weight of meat* - so leaving them to graze on poor pasture is also the cheapest way of getting your wool. Calling it free range and plastering pictures of wide open spaces on the website is simply feel-good-advertising.

Lovely tops though.  ;D





*We farmed "Dormers". A cross of merino and "Dorper", which is in turn also a cross of the british breed "Dorset Horn" with the indigenous southern african sheep known as the Black-head Persian. You get wool from it, as well as good meat and the drought resistance from the Persian. Fabulous sheep.
Reine de la Fauche


Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2016, 09:54:16 pm »
The ethics relate to the sheep shearing methods.

I think it's the lack of "mulesing"  that makes makes it ethical.

Reading that bit on their website, my advertising-bullshit-o-meter did go "beep". Free range merino? That's the only way to farm those sheep - they simply don't take well to intensive farming methods. And there'd be no point since it takes time for the wool to grow and you're not after weight of meat* - so leaving them to graze on poor pasture is also the cheapest way of getting your wool. Calling it free range and plastering pictures of wide open spaces on the website is simply feel-good-advertising.

Lovely tops though.  ;D





*We farmed "Dormers". A cross of merino and "Dorper", which is in turn also a cross of the british breed "Dorset Horn" with the indigenous southern african sheep known as the Black-head Persian. You get wool from it, as well as good meat and the drought resistance from the Persian. Fabulous sheep.

Couldn't say about mulesing - suspect flystrike is an Australian problem as I'd never heard of the practice. Having said that, I'd strongly disagree that a surgical procedure to prevent a very painful common problem is necessarily unethical, particularly on stock that by the nature of wool production will be long-lived.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2016, 02:19:40 pm »
An update of sorts: I still love all my Vulpine gear, but it is - like all fine-gague merino I suppose - unfortunately fragile. None of my polo shirts have lasted longer than a year or so without developing holes, and while they've been worn regularly they've not IMO seen a particularly hard life. With Vulpine having increased their prices a fair bit in the last year or so I'm not sure I'd recommend them at full price any more. They do offer a repair service though, so I am going to give that a go and see whether anything comes of it.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2016, 09:40:29 pm »
HK found much the same thing. In comparison to other merino jerseys, her Vulpine was fragile, particularly at the jersey pockets.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2017, 01:10:37 pm »
Thread necromancy time.
I saw on their website that the Harrington jacket (ok, so it isn't Merino) is reduced from £250.00 to £102.00 so I clicked 'Buy Now'.

Then, I read elsewhere on this forum that Vulpine had gone into administration in May of this year. A bit of further reading around  various cycling fora confirmed this to be the case, in addition to allegations of some questionable business practices on the part of the owner which, if true, are pretty scandalous.

So by now, my alarm bells were ringing, thinking 'that's the last I see of that money'. And considering whether I should contact my credit card provider to see if anything could be done.

Order was placed on Thursday 29th, and delivered to me today, less than 48 hrs later. I confess to being relieved, and pleased to have received what is clearly a very well made garment, at a reasonable price.
Everything else on their site is heavily discounted, if anyone is interested.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2017, 01:14:50 pm »
Vulpine has been bought out, so I wouldn't be too concerned about losing my money now.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2017, 01:16:43 pm »
Bought out by someone who is operating very efficiently, it would seem.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2017, 04:50:05 pm »
Bought by Mango Bikes - not entirely sure of the commercial synergies there.

I like my Harrington - bought from Edinburgh Bike Coop just before Xmas, and great for not looking *too* much like a cyclist around town.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2017, 07:45:25 pm »
Bought by Mango Bikes - not entirely sure of the commercial synergies there.

I like my Harrington - bought from Edinburgh Bike Coop just before Xmas, and great for not looking *too* much like a cyclist around town.

My bold.
That, and the keen price were the drive behind my purchase.

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2017, 10:04:32 am »
Yes, mine was a hundred quid as well ...

(Actually, it was a Christmas present, but I was happier that it had been bought for me at half price.)

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2017, 01:44:47 pm »
Only just seen this - I rate all my Vulpine kit, although I generally buy them with discounts or in the sales, which may account for them going bust.

I immediately replaced my henley merino top when I shrunk it and, apart from being cackhanded enough to shrink it, I haven't had any reliability/quality issues. But then I am of the "wash stuff as little as often" school of thought, which is one of the reasons I rate the merino stuff as it doesn't honk.

I also have some fabulous (non-wool) capri short things which I wear off the bike more than on.
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."

Re: Vulpine merino gear
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2017, 03:11:55 pm »
I also only ever bought stuff on sale - I'm not sure I know anyone that paid full price, which may explain why they went under. I did like their most recent run of long-sleeve polos; the ultrafine merino seems to be softer and somewhat harder-wearing than the previous material, and they're slightly longer​ in the body, which is good for a tall person. I notice there are still a couple of sizes heavily discounted, so I picked up another to keep in reserve for when my current ones wear out.