You know the old joke about having t-shirts older than your friends’ kids / bike / latest relationship? It’s funny because it is frequently true, but I didn’t expect it to be so true of one of Harley-Davidson’s first technical t-shirts.
I was nonplussed when I took it out of the bag: it didn’t hang well – which is to say that it didn’t hang like cotton – and I didn’t have a lot of hope for the robustness of its microfibre polyester, but that’s why we test things … and why we’ve started to revisit them.
It’s not long out of the washing machine, looks very much the same as it did when it was new with no bobbling or fading, and unlike most polyester technical shirts I’ve tried, it hasn’t been caught by anything sharp and ‘laddered’. And not because I treat it with kid gloves: nothing gets an easy ride here.
In fact, it is one of my most used t-shirts, whether as an undershirt in winter or under just a jacket in summer – in both cases making the most of its anti-microbial qualities to counter odours, thanks to silver ions in the material.
Use of silver nanoparticles is common enough in sports clothing now to trigger environmental scares in knee-jerk circles, but they were uncommon at the time in bike clothing.
Apparently, that’s not an issue in the concentrations that are released by washing but they could cause a problem in landfill.
That won’t be a problem here, as this won’t be thrown away: it is far too useful and is holding up exceptionally well.
Its primary benefit is that it is a true ‘wash and wear’ item: wear it through a challenging day, wash it last thing at night – having worn it into the evening – and it will be dry the following day.
No, you can’t buy this particular t-shirt today, but its technology is still in Harley’s Performance range, with additional things like Coldblack which reflects the sun’s heat, making it comfortable to wear in hot weather despite being a close fit.