FWE LTR Long Sleeve Jersey – review

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FWE LTR Long Sleeve Jersey – review

A well priced mid-layer that has a definite 60s sci-fi feel to it...

FWE are a brand created on the South Downs, which happens to be where I grew up. The Downs are a cyclists’ dream and provide some good climbs, spectacular views and a large number of options when it comes to what type of riding you want to do. I tested the FWE jersey, new from the in-house clothing brand of Evans Cycles, on these hills, but the question is whether it’s the type of kit that may become seen there more frequently?

The first place to start with this jersey is the looks, which is usually the last thing I mention. The reason I’m starting here is because it has a very distinctive Star Trek-esque design. Putting it on I looked like I was about to embark on a fight with an alien due to the combination of mustard yellow with dark collar and cuffs. Whether this was done deliberately as a homage to our inner nerds or was coincidental we don’t know, but it’s undoubtedly the most immediately noticeable element of the jersey. I won’t pass judgement as it’s a subjective element, but as a Star Wars fan you can guess my feeling about riding along as a Captain Kirk-alike.

One for Star Trek fans?

Obviously, judging it on looks alone would totally defeat the point, so removing the inherent ‘Trekiness’, the jersey is halfway between a casual and racing cut, It’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t create too much bunching where you wouldn’t want it and sits similarly well beneath a jacket. It’s also completely unrestrictive in movement terms which makes accessing the pockets easy. Speaking of which, it has three conventional rear pockets and one zipped, which are easily big enough to house spare tubes, phone and food.

In riding terms, the jersey is definitely better used as a mid layer rather than an outer. As it isn’t windproof or waterproof it offers little protection in bad weather and therefore works best when sat underneath a jacket and over a base layer on cold winter days, and only really as an outer layer in autumn and spring, when you may want more than a short sleeve jersey but windproofing would be a step too far.

One element that lends itself to use as a mid-layer is the jersey’s breathability. You can wear it comfortably as a mid layer without worrying about creating the sweat-filled sauna effect often associated with wearing a long sleeve jersey underneath a jacket. This is due to the fast wicking almost mesh-like material on the back, which I found removed sweat nicely.

The material may be good for wicking, but as well as a lack of windproofing, there isn’t anything in the the way of insulation (like a Roubaix lining, for example). That means on cold days you really need a jacket over the top, and ideally an insulating one rather than just water of windproof shell. The next version of this would certainly benefit from having some added insulation which would make it a better outer layer and a slightly more versatile piece of kit.

Three open rear pockets and an additional zipped pocket provide plenty of storage

As I said earlier, fit is good, but the silicone grippers on the back are definitely needed to help keep it in place. They’re another area that could be improved upon, though, and I found that when I had full pockets the jersey would more or less stay in place but tended to ride up when the pockets were empty. That’s the only gripe, though, as elsewhere it’s very well made right down to the details.

Any issues can be forgiven, though, when looked at in light of the £39.99 price tag. It might not be perfect, but it’s a very good deal for the price.

The weight of the jersey mean it’s best used as a mid-layer in winter, rather than an outer layer

Conclusion

Overall, the FWE jersey brings together some good performance elements but rather than being a true winter outer layer it’s definitely more suited to mid-layer status. It lacks the wind or waterproofing and insulation to fend off the elements, but the £39.99 price tag means it’s not going to break the bank as a lightweight, fast-wicking long sleeve jersey. Plus in the milder conditions of spring and autumn you’d certainly consider it, even if you look a little like Captain Kirk on a bike.

Pros

– Good value
– Well made
– Excellent breathability

Cons

– No windproofing and limited insulation as a winter outer layer

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