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Jersey Grouptest

A good fitting jersey is crucial. So try them on before you buy.

Take a trip into any bike shop and wander into the clothing section (usually tucked away at the back) and the array of jerseys on offer is bewildering. Dozens of colours, different designs and some festooned with logos and all claiming to offer the only jersey you’ll ever need. Yes, choosing a jersey is a head-scratching task.

First, what do you want from a jersey? This all depends on personal preferences and the type of riding you do, but there’s a few things to look out for. First, and easily the most important factor, is the material. There’s lot of different fabrics our there, many with bold claims of this and that, but wicking sweat away from your skin is the aim. Man-made fabrics are arguably better, especially if you’re ham fisted with the washing machine, though many natural sourced fibres such as wool have made Merino jerseys a popular choice – their best attribute is their ability to cope with good and bad British weather and managing not too pong too badly after a ride.

How well the jersey fits is next on your checklist. Jerseys come in many shapes and sizes so it’s worth trying some on to find one that fits. There’s many different approaches to making a jersey fit well, from tapered sections, multi-panels, seam placement and whether the fabric is stretchy, or not. Most of the jerseys tested here are of the close fitting variety, there are plenty of options if you prefer a looser fitting garment, as do your preferences for sleeve length. Styling is too subjective, so we’ll leave that one to you.

So, here’s our selection of quality plain jerseys which have found favour with the RCUK test team over the summer.


Gore Bike Wear Shark

Gore are better known for the waterproof and/or windproof jackets, you’ll see the Gore-tex logo on a lot of clothing. But more recently Gore Bike Wear has turned its hand to other clothing garments, including this jersey. The Shark comes from their racing range, and subsequently is designed to be close fitting. The first thing you notice is how great the white looks. The second thing you notice is how soft the material is – lovely – and how clingy the mildy-stretchy fabric feels when next to your skin. It’s quite a chunky feeling fabric, and this allows it to be used in slightly cooler conditions favourably. The ¾ zip helps getting the jersey off after a sweaty session, which can be tricky, that clingy material certainly hinders removal. Three rear pockets, generously sized, and we like the zipped pocket, great for keeping house/car keys safe.

There’s some nice detailing too, with the red piping separating the black mesh sections under the arms and on the back of the shoulders. The piping on the sleeves and around the back is reflective, as are the logos. The waist and sleeves have really grippy hems, which contribute to the good fit of the jersey. Our only complaint are the long sleeves, we’d prefer them to be a little shorter, but then again, other testers liked them long…

Available in Orange, Green, Blue, Red, Black and also the very pimp White.

  • Price: £50
  • Website: www.gorebikewear.com


  • Rapha Sportwool

    Rapha are synomous with high quality clothing, combining the retro touch with thoroughly modern materials and manufacturing techniques. The Sportwool is the only natural fibre jersey in this test, and is based on Merino wool. It’s a material which has gained a lot of popularity over the past couple of years. Uniquely, Rapha have combined the best of both worlds by using both Merino and Polyester – the resulting fabric is called Sportwool – so you get the comfort and great wicking of the wool, and the drying and wearing qaulities of the Polyester. It washes well and unlike many wool jerseys does not sag when you fill the pockets up.

    The cut is loose, especially around the shoulders and sleeves, and the rear is dropped a little. There’s a full-length zip on front, and three generously sized rear pockets, a pocket for your pump, a zipped key pocket and even comes with a pair of matching armwarmers. Yes it’s an expensive jersey. Very expensive. But in a range of weather conditions it’s a fantastic jersey, it’s supremely comfortable, possibly the most comfortable on test, with very nice detailing and the looks are up there with the Solo. But you can’t escape the fact you could buy two of Sugoi’s jerseys and still have money left-over for lunch…

  • Price: £105 (includes armwarmers)
  • Website: www.rapha.cc


  • Assos JerseyUni

    The Swiss company has a great reputation for well-made and durable clothing. You’ll see the logo a lot as they’re often the first choice of many riders. They’re arguably the benchmark by which other companies try and follow. They’re at the upper echelon of our price range here, but you’re paying for a lot of experience and expertise.

    Like the Rapha jersey the Uni features a full length zip, a bonus when you’re scaling Col du Galibier on a hot summers day, and for that pro look. The fabric is reasonably thin, and has a visible perforated look, which they call Micro-Cell. It’s very light, and extremely breathable. A bit chilly on its own though when it’s the temperature scale isn’t nudging the mercury into 30, but a baselayer soon solves that. On hot summer days the combination of the fabric and full-length zip make it our choice when it’s hot.

    The fabric is slightly stretchy giving a good fit, but ingeniously Assos have used stretchy Spandex for the sleeves. This gives an incredible fit, allowing for more shoulder/arm movement. There are three rear pockets on the back, with the largest zipped pocket, and a piece of elastic along the central section keeps the waist secure. Further exhibiting their honed attention to detail, there’s a small section of micro-fibre under the armpits area for rapid expelling of undesirable odours.

    Expensive yes. But for features the Assos wins hands down. Now, we wish they hadn’t sent us a bright yellow sample, they do make some howling designs… Other colours and less logoed alternatives are available.

  • Price: £70
  • Website: www.assos.com


  • Giordana Body Clone

    The Italian company’s Body Clone range is designed to offer a great fit, contouring to every ripple in your body. It’s a stylishly understated jersey, and the whole team agreed that the black with red detailing is a classy look. There’s a three-quarter zip with a low collar, and three rear pockets and like the Gore jersey there’s a small zipped pocket. We found the sleeves just the right length, but oddly on our medium sample the sleeves are incredibly tight, while the fit everywhere is perfect.

    Fabric is MCK (Micron Carbon Knit – it’s a micro-fibre composed of a continuous filament of conductive material) which apparently boasts antistatic qualities and supposedly protects the body against electrical static and magnetic fields, promoting blood circulation and cell oxygenation. To be honest we didn’t notice an improvement of blood circulation between this jersey and others tested here. What we did find though is this jersey managed to not smell too rotten after use, whether that’s a side-effect of the fabric or just proof we weren’t riding hard enough, we don’t know.

  • Price: £47.00
  • Website:www.giordana.com


  • Solo Leone

    Solo hail from New Zealand and owe a lot to the ‘50s and ‘60s for the styling cues, essentially combining retro styling with modern fabrics. This decision to hark back to the olden days for inspiration was triggered between two friends who held a desire to wear cycle clothing that displayed simple design, echoing the passion and beauty so inherent in clothing from the black and white days. It’s a great style statement.

    It’s a very successful mix. The technology in the jersey isn’t that from the ‘50s or ‘60s, but very much the state of the art fabric currently available. Sport X Dry fabric does a great job of wicking sweat, and the feel of the material is soft and high quality, it’s quite a thick material like the Gore and we did find it a little warm when the going was hot and sweaty. The fit is among the best here, the sleeves are perfect, the waist has a sticky non-slip band, the short zip is a smooth quality item – there’s no expense spared here. This is also the only jersey to have cotton cuffs and neck, which added to the high comfort levels. Three rear pockets with a zipped pocket. If you’re into retro (and who isn’t these days?) check out the Solo.

  • Price: £63
  • Website:www.solocc.com


  • Sugoi Convert

    Sugoi are a Canadian company who already have a great reputation for their MTB clothing, but also have a great range of road clothing. The Convert is made from FinoStretch fabric, it’s not as fitted as others here, but the slightly looser fit is certainly comfortable if not that ‘aero’ which does feel quite liberating when reaching for the bars. There’s a lot of panels in this design, all flat-locked stitched, and a large mesh panel is placed under the arms. Three pockets – no zipped pocket though – and a 10″ zip takes care of ventilation and means it slips over your crash hat easily.

    All in, it’s a simple jersey with neat features. Like Rapha’s it feels soft and quite un-polyestery so, as we’ve already said, it’s very comfortable. The fabric takes care of sweat removal really well, and the multi-panel design aids movement. The icing on the cake is included in the £50 is a pair of matching arm-warmers.

  • Price: £50 (includes arm-warmers)
  • Website: www.sugoi.ca


  • RoadCyclingUK.com

    The Overall Verdict

    Choosing between these jerseys isn’t easy. They all offer similiar features, they all fit well, and the different fabrics employed all do an equally good job of wicking sweat and keeping you cool on the bike. If you spend most of your time in ill-fitting team kit these are all a joy to wear and they have features that make it very hard to pick a winner. However if spending £50 and up leaves you in a cold sweat and you want to spend just £29.99, you can always buy a (very well fitting) RCUK team jersey instead…

    The Gore and Giordana’s are good choices. Both reasonably priced they offer a lot for the money, but neither are quite perfect: the sleeves on both need some attention to improve the fit – we love the Gore fabric though and their stuff is always hard wearing. The Solo looks great, if you’re into the retro thing, and fitted very well. Rapha certainly has a distinct style, it’s very understated and classy, and if you value the brand’s style kudos you won’t be put of by the price. It’s the only one here made from Merino wool, which is hard to beat for comfort. The Assos offers a lot of features, it fits perfectly and is comfortable and the material is excellent at wicking sweat.

    Our pick of the bunch though has to be the Sugoi, by a whisker. It’s not as feature-laden as others here, but when on the bike you’ll be hardpushed to notice the difference, and the already reasonable price includes a pair of very nice armwarmers. Bonus.

    NEXT: We’ll be comparing a few bibshorts to find out which offer the best comfort.

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