Over the summer we received a few silk scarves from a small company based out of the Swiss Alps called Superleggero, that touted them as both a versatile transition season neck warmer and all-season fashion accessory. We liked their look and soft feel against the skin, but didn’t think we would really change our wardrobe to benefit from their luxury, fashion side. However, when the weather turned first wetter, then cooler they started to join us on almost every ride, as we tried to see what fine silk really had to offer. Follow past the break to see what our tests revealed…
The company developed the scarves (along with a separate line of merino/cashmere accessories) to address the problems of riding in the mountains where temperatures change quickly and differences from high mountain to low valley riding can be extreme. A silk scarf stays cool in warm summer temps, but provides a great wind and cold buffer when the weather changes. At just 13g the scarves are quite thin and lightweight (something like ~36g/m2 to give you an idea), meaning they pack down very small and effectively take no room in a jersey pocket.
Because of their small packed size, one has spent the better part of the last 4 months in a pocket on almost every one of our rides. During summer riding we mostly forgot and left it it the pocket, but pulled it out on a couple of cool, wet mountain bike rides and several times as a tiny extra layer hanging around after a ride. It really came into its own as autumn rolled around and early morning and evening rides came with cold winds. With cyclocross season in full swing it has been great both before the race while pre-riding the course at lower speeds, as well as post-race when we were sweaty but cooling down fast. My wife’s has even been on a couple of Masters podiums in the past month. One of our other testers here in Prague proclaimed his love for it with a couple of expletives, and saying it was “so light, feels so very nice on the skin, and keeps the wind and cold at bay but didn’t ever get sweaty. It’s on a totally different level than any of the buffs I’ve used.”
We’ve generally been surprised at what seemed more like a fashion accessory when it showed up in the mail. But now have used them for a few months, the scarf has been added to the list of favorite autumn accessories here, along with Rapha leg warmers and Sealskinz grippy gloves. Our only suggestion to Supperlegero now, is to make a fluorescent yellow one since it is getting a lot of use in those morning and evening road rides where a little extra visibility would be great.
Now for some detail, these scarves are 100% silk produced entirely in Lombardia, Italy giving them the ‘Seta di Como’ designation. They come in several colors to suit your fashion sense: azzurra (sky blue), bianca (white), ciclamino (magenta), rosa (pink), grand prix (TdF yellow, green, and polka dotted), grimpeur (white with red dots), and critérium (red with white dots.) The four basic solid colors also have an Italian tricolor accent stripe. Our scarves measured 130×26.5cm / 53×10.5”, which is just long enough for one and a half full loops around the neck or a Parisian knot loop.
The silk scarves are priced at 90€, and available direct from their web store. They ship worldwide for 10€ or less, with free shipping on bigger orders.
Superleggero gives care instructions on their site for hand washing, drying, and ironing the silk scarves. We’ve been following that with a couple, and treating one a bit more like a cross bike to see how they wear. The nicely cared for ones look perfect several months on, and the biggest benefit of ironing seems to be that it still folds down so incredibly thin (think ~9x16cm x6mm thick.) The machine washed one (30°C, gentle cycle) still looks pretty good, but having never been ironed its wrinkles make it pack down a bit less neatly and thicker (~10×16.5cm x25mm.) Even at a pretty expensive pricepoint, we can probably get behind Superleggero’s final care instruction: Wear often.