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Helly Hansen W Pace SS Review

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Helly Hansen W Pace SS Review

Helly Hansen W Pace SS

©Helly Hansen
Definitely the most fashionable functional top in this girl’s closet, I’ve been wearing the Helly Hansen “W Pace SS” for several months now in warm weather and during indoor workouts. Though Helly Hansen categorizes this piece of clothing as a “baselayer,” I most often wear it with nothing overtop, and love the way it performs. I gravitate towards the W Pace SS when the sun is shining, wearing it just as I would any other short sleeved bike jersey.
Too many of my jerseys have rough fabric, zippers and seams. The W Pace SS has none of the above. The lightweight top features HH® Cool fabric at either side, which works to keep me cool in balmy weather. I hardly notice the seam-free fabric as it is inconspicuous against bare skin. The flatlock stitching shapes the shirt so that it moves with my body. Consequently, the form-fitting, lightweight nature of this shirt is so unobtrusive that I barely notice its presence while riding.

Athletic Top vs. Bike Jersey

Functioning more like an athletic top than a bike jersey, the W Pace SS offers no pockets or zipper. At first, I thought a top without pockets would prove inferior to my plethora of existing multi-pocketed jerseys. However, it didn’t take longer than my first ride to figure out that I never actually use those pockets--I typically carry a hydration pack and cram all of my necessary items inside. The absence of additional fabric around my lower back felt near weightless and helped to keep me cool. That said, if you prefer to ride pack-free and your shorts don’t offer a storage option, you’ll need to find a creative way to fasten your spare tube, pump, bars, gels, etc. to your bike.

I was used to wearing full-zip jerseys that had made their way into my everyday rotation. While the “no-zip” W Pace SS doesn’t offer any length zipper, I quickly realized that the v-neck provides all the extra air flow I desire. Males likely don’t have this issue, but I never use the “full” zip option on my existing jerseys to their full potential anyway. Moreover, not having to fidget with a zipper left my hands and mind free to navigate safely through the woods. Function aside, there is one aesthetic aspect of the v-neck I am not terribly fond of: some sports bras will peek out of the “v”. I’ve dealt with this by choosing my undergarments wisely. Perhaps if the neckline wasn’t so low, this wouldn’t be a problem. Then again, that might compromise airflow.

Cool & Dry

The W Pace SS wicks away moisture so that you feel cool and dry even on the hottest days—or when you’re really pushing yourself on the bike. I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with this technological aspect. I wore this top on a warm day during a summer bike tour in Alaska that featured mighty big hills to climb. I pushed plenty hard that day, yet was never weighed down by a drenched jersey. Thank you Lifa® Stay Dry Technology. Like most of my jerseys, this one needs to be washed regularly to stay free of funky smells.

Beyond Biking

An additional benefit I had not foreseen was that the W Pace SS would be an ideal at-home workout shirt. I started an exercise routine over the winter, and felt silly wearing a heavy full-zip, pocketed jersey indoors. This is my go-to shirt when I turn the pedals on the trainer or turn on the exercise DVD. And because it’s aesthetically-pleasing, I don’t even mind sporting it around the house or out to run errands after the fact.

Though I haven’t put it to the test, Helly Hansen notes that the W Pace SS has a Lifa®-striped reflective overlay across the back of the shirt to enhance visibility during nightfall.

MSRP: $45.00; sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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