As one of the UK’s biggest distributors of bike components and accessories there’s a very good chance you’ve bought a Madison product. With brands like Shimano, Pearl Izumi, Continental, Ridley, Genesis, and Saracen in the stable, they really are one of the go-to-guys when it comes to bike stuff.
Like punks, Madison have been around since 1977 but they’ve aged better… They’ve actually been making cycling clothing since the Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne and Dame Sarah Storey (and, of course, Kavana) was born. To my mind the product has really started to come into its own since they started equipping the pros on their own Madison-Genesis team.
With a huge amount of input from the riders, Madison’s kit has gone from strength to strength and evolved from ‘budget’ kit into something rather special. The new ’77 kit is based on premium Road Race Premio range and I’ve been using it for a month or two now, and aside from being perfectly coordinated head to toe in some really, really good looking I’ve also been seriously comfortable.
I particularly like the bib shorts – the deeply padded and well shaped inserts are up there with the best of Castelli, Santini, Assos, and Rapha’s offerings. I really like the blend of elasticity, with tighter more compressive fabric on the thighs and a softer stretch to the braces and the high waisted body section.
The form fitting jersey fits beautifully and the sharp edged laser cut arms and legs only add to the real quality feel. The jersey coped well in the recent heatwave conditions, and only got really overwhelmed after four or five hours of riding, but it wicks quickly and the gossamer light fabric never gets baggy or heavy when wet through. The lightweight pockets aren’t the best if you like to load them up with Boy Scout levels of spares, but they’re fine for a spare tube, phone, multitool, wallet, gels and Co2 pump.
The socks are fashionably long, if you’re at all concerned about #sockdoping, and the compressive fit is impressive for socks costing a tenner.
The only thing I’m not so keen on are the cap and the mitts. The large mitts come up a little small and after about a dozen or so long rides using them they have started to split. Some of that might be down to my shovel-sized hands, but as the rest of the kit is such great quality it’s a bit of a let down. The cap is a one size fits all, but that’s one size fits all if you wear a medium sized helmet, so for me it’s a little tight. Still when you add up the price of the complete outfit – £209.96, that’s £50.04 less than a pair of Rapha Pro Team Shadow bib shorts…
The Madison ’77 outfit has become pretty much my go to kit this summer – it’s great looking, and performs brilliantly and, for premium apparel, it’s really not too pricey.
Prices: Jersey – £74.99 Bibs – £99.99 Mitts – £24.99 Socks – £9.99 Cap – £12.99
Sign up to the Cycling Plus Newsletter here
Cycling Plus has been testing road cycling kit for 25 years – to get the best tests in the business every month subscribe here!