Minimal design, US-manufactured and well-made for the price
Very simple and muted kits
High quality at a reasonable price
Interesting fabrics for multiple seasons
Climate-neutral and made in the U.S.
Slightly more form-fitting than some might find comfortable
Not a huge range of options
Founded in 2013 and based in San Francisco, Ornot is cool in a very muted hipster way. The name comes from the trend at the time of cycling kits being predominantly bright colors and covered it logos. (Slogan: You could be a rolling billboard. Or not.) Now, the company has committed to minimal design and U.S.-manufacturing, with products mostly designed and sewn in California. It also became climate-neutral certified last year and this year joined 1% For the Planet—donating 1% of proceeds to environmental organizations. They also have a crash replacement policy on their kits, though they suggest you try not to need to use it.
Ornot Long-sleeve Lightweight House Jersey ($139, ornotbike.com)
The House jersey and bibs are the company’s best-selling out of its small line, and for a good reason. I’ll say up front: This ended up being my favorite kit, though I didn’t expect that to be the case. The jersey is a super lightweight soft polyester knit, with even lighter mesh along the back and sides. It seems so thin you might rip it—but it held up to hard riding both on road and dirt. The long sleeves also turned out to be perfect for the cool early pre-work rides right now, where the air is chilly but warms up as you go. I worried I’d get to warm, but I never did, even with all-out hill repeats. It’s really designed more to protect you from the elements, with 35 SPF protection.
That light layer does cling to your arms in a very form-fitting way, almost like a second skin. I had to work the sleeves up my arms after pulling it on, in much the same way to have to gradually work on wetsuit. The only downside was even on the XS the sleeves were slightly too long for my shorter arms and ended up bunching some in the arms, but that never hindered the comfort. The front is also cut higher than the back, so it sits cleanly when riding, and it has the high zipper and low collar that seems to be in vogue now. This is a kit that’s doesn’t necessarily look amazing in the package, but it’s designed and cut exactly for how you actually ride. Plus, the little color details on the pockets and elbows look cool.
Ornot House Bib Shorts ($156, ornotbike.com)
Again, it’s the unique fabric and material that really make these shorts. While it’s a high-end Italian polyester-lycra blend, there’s something about the cross-stitching and the amount of elastane (20% if you were wondering) that give it a light feel. It’s basically not too loose and not too tight. The bibs aren’t a full mesh either, but rather a lighter breathable upper. The leg bands are made of separate compression fabric—not silicone grippers built directly into the shorts. And the whole thing provides sun protection.
Similarly, the chamois isn’t anything super fancy, but when put together it works. Instead of being engineered in separate sections with distinct shapes and levels of padding, the way the highest end shorts are designed, this is one solid piece of foam in the Y-shaped saddle area with medium-thick Cytech chamois (with micro bacterial fabric to prevent bacterial growth) and then thinner chamois around it. The chamois seams aren’t hidden, as with some of the shorts we tried, but they aren’t completely unfinished either—and they never rubbed or chaffed. Overall, there’s nothing crazy about these bib shorts, but the net effect are some simple, high-end shorts at a relatively reasonable price for the quality. Fairly standard stuff, but it works. And isn’t that all you really want in a cycling kit?