By: Jenn K
This garment was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.
The Icebreaker Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top is part of the GT Bike line-up of Icebreaker merino wool. This top may be simple in design, but it looks sharp! It is made of 200 g/m² New Zealand merino wool (97%) and Lycra (3%). The merino wool is oh so very soft to the touch! Merino wool is known to regulate heat, add warmth, dry quickly, be odor free, be non-irritating, and wick moisture away. Lycra was added to the merino wool to add stretch to the fabric. The white colored, stretchy, side panels of this top have an eyelet design that allow more air flow into the top. The side panel material contours the shoulders on the front of the Grace Zip Top to the collar. The Icebreaker logo is stitched on the upper left chest area and the word “Icebreaker” is printed in black on the left sleeve.
This top has raglan sleeves and a dropped tail, both features are perfect for mountain biking. Who wants to see a behind sticking out of mountain biking shorts? I for sure don’t.
A half-length zipper in the front allows easy on/off functionality and zips up the collar completely. Having my neck covered is important on cold nights or when mountain biking downhill.
There is a small zippered pocket on the back of the top on the right side; which is orientated lengthwise. This zippered pocket is perfect for storing quickly needed necessities and keys. The pocket is easily opened and closed by pulling the small pull tab.
The Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top seems fairly easy to take care of. The manufacturer suggests washing with like colors, using regular detergent, washing inside out, line drying, washing in warm or cool water, closing the zippers, and using fabric softener and bleach is frowned upon.
I have a size medium Long Sleeve Grace Top and it fits me perfectly. I generally wear a medium top and I found this top to be true to size. It is not designed to be a snug fitting top. It is not overly baggy, just a little roomy; which is perfect for mountain biking. I am not the biggest fan of black tops, but the white side panels add some style and dimension. Maybe the white side panels will be my racing stripes! The merino wool is not itchy against my skin, it feels very soft.
So far I wore the Grace Top on one mountain bike night ride. The temperatures were in the low 60’s. I was comfortably warm and there was no need for me to have additional layers.
Update: Icebreaker Women’s Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top 2/16/12
The Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top has been great to wear during my cold weather mountain and road biking adventures. I have been wearing this top mostly during my evening and nighttime rides when the air is cold. Generally, I have been wearing the top in temperatures between 42 F and 57 F and I have been plenty warm. At times I will wear just a sports bra, but sometimes it is necessary to wear a light silk top or a light wool top under the Grace Zip Top.
This is a comfortable top and is one of my favorites to wear in cool weather while cycling. The sleeves are long enough that my wrists are not exposed and the back of the top is cut long enough that it does not ride up when I am cycling. When the front of the jersey is zipped up the base of my neck is protected from the cool air. Sweat evaporates away from the top that it is only slightly damp and not excessively damp that I am cold when I stop riding. Also after riding the top does not stink from my sweat.
The top has just enough stretch to it. It is cut on the roomy side which makes it perfect for mountain biking. For road biking I rather wear a more fitted top, but the Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top works out well when layered under my vest or light jacket.
The side panels add a nice design element to this top. Not only do they make the top look more stylish, but they also allow for increased breathability and airflow. I also noticed the panels eliminate some of the bulk of the top by being constructed of a lighter and stretchy fabric. The Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top is stylish enough to wear while running errands around town or grabbing a quick bite to eat after a ride. I also feel comfortable wearing it out in public after a ride since there is no stench from my sweat.
I really like the half zip length of this top. Most of my short sleeve cycling tops have a full or ¾ zip opening. I do not mind the half zip since I would be wearing this top in cooler weather and there is no need for me to have the extra ventilation from a ¾ or full length zip top.
There is a small zip pocket on the rear right side of the top. I find it ideal for keys and a snack. I wish there was a larger centered deep pocket in the back that I could store tools and or a water bottle. There are many times that I like to go mountain biking without a pack and I ideally do not like to carry a tool bag that attaches to my seat. And on my road bike I carry all my supplies in my jersey, vest, or jacket pockets.
The Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top washes well. There is no fuzzing or stretching of the fabric. The “Icebreaker” lettering is still fully intact on the sleeve. The garment has been air dried after each washing and not placed in the dryer. There has been no instance that the top has not dried overnight at room temperature. I even wore the top on two consecutive days without washing and there was no foul odor noted.
This top is super comfortable; it feels like I am wearing a soft PJ top. The wool in this top is not itchy or scratchy, and it wicks moisture well.
Update: Icebreaker Women’s Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top 3/21/12
The weather has been crazy here in Southern California the past month. One day it is warm enough to break out the T-shirts and the next day it is time to break out the parkas. However, I was still able to wear the Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top while mountain biking in the late afternoon and evenings. I wore the top also while road biking while layered under a jacket. Generally while road biking I prefer to wear a more fitted top, but the Grace Zip Top was fine layered under the jacket. I have worn this top in temperatures ranging from the upper 40’s to the low 60’s. When the temperatures were on the warmer side I wore to top unzipped and I was not overheating. I like to collar of the Grace Top, because when it is cooler I can zip it up and keep my neck partially covered.
This top layers well! The top is roomy enough that at times I layered a silk bottom layer under the Grace Top. Even without a base layer the top is comfortable and there is no itchy feeling against my skin; it feels soft and comfortable. When the temperatures are cooler I wear a vest or a jacket over the Grace Zip Top there is no constrictive feeling and I am not overheating. This top pulls the moisture away from my body well. I will admit that I sweat, but the top does not become overly saturated with my sweat; it is just slightly damp. And what is really great is the top does not stink. I have worn it two days in a row and people do not run away from me.
The Grace Zip is still not riding up and exposing my back when mountain biking; even when I am wearing a backpack. My backpack has not rubbed the fabric causing pilling but hook and loop will adhere to the fabric. This happened on one occasion, but I was able to gently pull it away without damaging the fabric.
Even after multiple washings the top still looks like new. All the stitching is intact, and the fabric has not pulled; even after brushing against vegetation. The zippers are all functioning perfectly. I like the small rear zippered pocket, especially to carry my keys and MP3 player when I opt not to use a backpack. However, I still wish there was a center rear pocket to stash all my snacks, tube and a tire pump. I think with the styling of this shirt a larger centered zippered type of pocket would still make the top stylish and more functional.
I really like this top! It is a keeper for me and I plan on wearing it in the future for my evening rides and on cooler days until it gets warmer.
The Icebreaker Women’s Long Sleeve Grace Zip Top is available in one color Black/Snow and retails for $120.00. For more information please visit www.icebreaker.com.