Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crane Sports Men's Cycling Shirt (Aldi)

CRANE SPORTS MEN’S CYCLING SHIRT
Ignore the pajama bottoms.  We're focusing on the shirt here.

Let me preface this review by saying that I am neither a cyclist, nor an outdoorsman.  In fact, I’m about as far from it as you can possibly be.  So then what business do I have buying compression and cycling shirts?  Well, I do play hockey, recreationally.  Quite a bit of it.  I played three years of roller hockey, year-round, as often as four nights a week, and made the jump to ice almost two years ago.  I wanted some Under Armour-ish undershirts, but couldn’t nearly justify spending Under Armour-ish prices…both because I couldn’t really afford them, and because I knew there had to be cheaper alternatives. 

So, on a trip to Aldi around the summer of 2009, I picked up a short-sleeve cycling shirt from Crane Sports, for about $5, with the sole intent of using it as an undershirt for my goalie gear during the warmer Ohio months.  All I can say about it, is that it is absolutely fantastic, and well worth the price.

Again, I want to reiterate that I have no idea how well it performs for cycling, so for all I know, they may suck for their intended usage (though I‘m sure they‘d be just fine).  But my short sleeve shirt has been washed and thrown on underneath a heavy chest protector, what has to be over a hundred times now, and not a single stitch is out of place.  In fact, the only problem up to this point, which again, has no bearings on my use of it, is that the reflectors on the back have all just about fallen off.  I’m not sure if most of it was because they were rubbed off, or just from the repeated washings, but the process probably started a few months after I bought it.  The shirt itself is incredibly lightweight, and does a great job of keeping me fairly dry underneath all the gear, even during really hot days.  This was an investment that has paid off in spades.

To top it all off, it’s very lightweight and comfortable, so I don’t feel like I’m fighting it while I’m playing.  Just to test it out, I even opted to play a couple games without an undershirt at all, thinking that would make me cooler and/or lighter, but I actually noticed I just got hotter a lot quicker.  In other words, it really does do a great job of wicking the sweat away from the body, which in turn helps you feel a lot cooler, even while you're staying active.

If you happen to stumble on these things at your local Aldi, as they tend to come up around springtime, do yourself a favor and buy one.  Or two.  My biggest concern when I bought them was just how long a $5 shirt could possibly last, especially when the name brands can be almost ten times as much.  But that was four years ago, and while I’ve cut back to just one night of ice hockey a week, and also bought a couple more similar shirts to take some of the pressure off using this one all the time, it’s still in constant rotation and is hands-down my favorite such shirt. 

Overall: 10/10.  While I do not use the shirt for outdoor sports, it has performed very well as undergarments to my ice and roller hockey gear.  Even after dozens of washings and just as many uses, there is not a stitch out of place, and though I‘ve added cheaper undershirts since then (think Goodwill), it is still a consistent part of my undershirt rotation.  The price may suggest a lower-quality item, made to only last a season or two, but in my experiences, they are every bit as reliable as the bigger name brands, only at a fraction of the cost, making it an outstanding value for the price.  Highly recommended.

4 comments:

  1. Your review on Dollar Tree's jewel CD cases is right on, I couldn't have said it better myself! I bought a pack a few years ago because I only needed 3 cases, and Walmart and Target both sell these cases in multiples of 25. I ripped the plastic wrapping off that holds the cases together, and the damn top case shattered in my hands. I took it back to the store and exchanged it when the same thing happened again. I never took it back to the store, but I did mention it to the store manager who had very little to say on the topic. I still shop at Dollar Tree but I've steered clear of their "electronics/hardware" aisle since.

    As for the cycling shirt from Aldi, I started to get excited when I first started reading your post, until you said you bought it back in 2009. I started cycling this year, but not as hardcore to spend thousands of dollars on the fancy apparel yet, I picked up some bright colored active-wear shirts from Walmart for $6 after returning from a ride drenched in sweat on a 90 degree summer day. To my surprise the shirts perform nicely, wicks sweat quickly and keeps me cool in the heat.

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    1. That's right! I saw you just recently got hardcore into cycling! Yeah, I bought it back in '09 (wanted to see how durable they were, so I waited a while to review), but they tend to offer them annually. Of course, this was a poorly-timed review, as they don't become available until springtime, but they almost always have a cycling week where a lot of their Special Buys are themed toward the cyclist.

      I'd go to Aldi's website and sign up for their weekly special emails, at least around March, so you'll know when they'll be available.

      And I agree with you on the Dollar Tree electronics department. I really want to like it, but there's really nothing there but cheap junk.

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    2. Oh yeah I remember the cycling items Aldi sold this year - bicycle cable locks (cheap looking, though at $5 you've got to be wary on this kind of item) and water bottles and cages (which I picked up a couple of on clearance for less than $3 - best investment I ever made other than my bicycle! Other stores (Walmart, Target, the local bike store) are asking a minimum of $10 for just the bottle cage alone, highway robbery if you ask me! Since I started shopping at Aldi regularly, I've never seen them sell clothing though so that may be a regional thing, although I don't understand why.

      As for signing up for the weekly ad e-mails, already done. When you shop there as often as I do (90% of my weekly grocery shopping is done there!), getting the weekly ads ahead of time is always a good idea.

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  2. Well that's a bummer about the cycling shirts! I just assumed they had them every year, though I guess now that you mention it if I'd have seen one I probably would have bought it. I really do hope they bring them back. Excellent, excellent quality, especially for the price.

    And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one doing most of my shopping there! I just wish I had more time to write these things up, because at any given point I'm surrounded by Aldi products, haha!

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