By Gillian Scobie, still cycling, still style-conscious
With the Abbey tank, Tonik has taken a giant step toward a new kind of cycling jersey for women. Their first design, which broke new ground for its comfortable and well-designed fit for casual riders and “real” women, stayed within the classic cycling jersey style and look. The Abbey tank, reportedly flying off the shelves as we speak, is a two-tone bang-up blend of tank on top and looser ruched bottom. I’ve worn it several times and I can tell you it’s incredibly comfortable. The bottom section is nice and loose, so if you’re out cycling on a hot day (and why wouldn’t you be!) instead of having sweat gather at the small of your back, air can actually get in there and cool you down. You don’t get that sausage-like feeling of being encased in lycra, unable to get out (help! help!). If, like me, you sweat a lot, this style/airy feel packs a mighty good one-two punch.
The ruched section starts just below the chest so it makes up about two-thirds of the tank. So as you’re riding along, this soft fabric is moving along with you, and feels very light on your skin. Two cleverly-designed-to-be-slimming seams run down each side almost to the bottom in the top colour (lime, berry, or red). The ruched material also goes right up your back, and absorbs the sweat trickling down your back. This section also has reflective trim on the outside seams. That’s high enough and long enough for drivers to see you pretty easily from behind. The collar is doubled over, I think for style rather than function. It looks good and pulls the whole design together.
The 92% polyester/8% spandex blend results in both materials being very soft. That may sound like a lot of spandex but whatever is in there is very easy on the elastic. It just feels good, not tight in any way.
I should mention that the top part is slightly too tight for me. I did size up to a medium because Tonik said the tanks were running smaller than the jerseys, but I’m a swimmer and have unusually broad shoulders for a woman. So I think a medium would fit most women. But like I said, it’s still extremely comfortable.
Whereas the standard cycling jersey has three pockets at the back, the Abbey tank has one fairly large one, along with a zippered pocket for keys and money. So you can still fit an extra water bottle or food in but remember, if you tend to use all three pockets when you cycle—there ain’t no more room.
As cyclists across North America try to make their cities and towns more bike-friendly, cycling clothing is becoming less the terrain of racers and other hard-core road bike riders—mainly men—and more designed for a much wider spectrum of people. With Tonik around to lead it, that revolution is very well-clothed and well underway.
Tonik Abbey Tank
Breathable, Wicking & Anti Bacterial fabric
50 UPF Sun Protection
92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
Gillian Scobie is an editor and writer who loves to run, cycle, and swim in the great outdoors of Lanark County.