With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, now is a great time to review a selection of women’s jerseys in either ¾ or long sleeve versions.
Worn either on its own or within a technical layering system, the jersey is a versatile piece of kit – it’s the key to maintaining comfort and an optimal body temperature in all weathers.
SMART fabrics have revolutionised jersey design in recent years, and many bike jerseys incorporate mesh or perforated fabrics to promote air flow. Moisture wicking is another essential feature; drawing body heat and sweat away from the skin and drying quickly abates the chill factor when taking a break or on draughty descents.
Like all exercise clothing, bike jerseys have the potential to get whiffy after an intense work-out, so some manufacturers have designed anti-bacterial capacities into the fabric used, so if needs must, and you have turned out in the same gear two (or more!) days running, you don’t have to keep down-wind of your friends.
I found that the longer sleeve, even elbow length, added a surprising amount of warmth in addition to extra protection; the looser fit jerseys allow you to take this to the next level with the addition of thermal layers, body armour and elbow pads.
Yeti Women’s Enduro ¾ Jersey
The standard medium in this jersey was quite a slim, race-style fit. I found the cut flattering and the longer back sat well with a pack and didn’t ride up. The lightweight wicking fabric kept me warm and comfortable and it dried quickly when wet. A thoughtful design; I like the colour contrast and sublimated graphics. The sleeves are snug fitting which gives it a feminine slant, however if your arms are more powerful, you may find them restrictive and may need to upsize.
- Price: £49.99
- From Silverfish
Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch ¾ Sleeved Jersey
A well made jersey that provided good ventilation and moisture management. Three different fabrics are used to good effect here; the back and sides are entirely perforated mesh allowing it to breathe, the sleeves are super soft polyester, finished with neat cuff and the front is a more wind-resistant, sheeny fabric. The fit is true to size and described as “athletic”. The V neck sat comfortably and I liked the addition of an easy-reach, “sunglass-wipe” inside the front hem.
- Price: £44.99
- From Pearl Izumi
Juliana ¾ Enduro jersey
I loved the comfortable, flattering cut of this jersey; the sleeves seemed to be the perfect length and width and the longer body meant a good overlap with shorts and no worries about riding up. The front placket with buttons allowed me to fine-tune ventilation and the fabric was comfortable, moisture wicking and breathable. On the down side, after more than one wear I wasn’t totally convinced by the anti-bacterial properties and also, if you purchase one of these jerseys, is it going to make you covet the bike to go with it?
- Price: £50
- From: Jungle
Specialized Women’s Andorra Comp Jersey
Though I tested the short sleeved version, this jersey is available in a long sleeve. Designed for trail and all-mountain riding, Specialized seem to have pulled out all the stops to give you a highly technical product that can meet every eventuality; not only does the proprietary fabric transfer moisture well, but it also offers chemical free, UPF30+ rated sun protection that never wears off; hence it was top of my pile when packing for Moab last autumn.
Other features that impressed me were the relaxed “loose like a T-shirt” fit that gave superb freedom of movement and the sneaky little zippered side pocket that doubled as a sunglass wipe. It washed well and dried quickly and my only criticism (if it is one!) is that the super sheeny fabric didn’t leave much to the imagination when it got “nippy” out there and there were days when I wished that I had worn a more contouring bra!
- Price: £45
- From: Specialized
RaceFace Women’s Khyber Jersey
Definitely one of my favourites from the test, this lightweight jersey is superbly designed, true to size for a relaxed fit, and packed with features. It does all this and ticks the box for being eco-friendly too!
Race face’s trademark REPREVE fabric contains over 50% recycled materials including plastic bottles and post industrial waste. With a mesh construction and a Cooldry content, this fabric is lightweight, super-quick drying and has a UPF rating of 50+. I love the understated design with the contrast racing stripes on the sleeve and the reflective tape down the back (though the latter is covered if you wear a pack). All seams are flatlocked so there are no ridges and they can be tested to full stretch over a whole range of movements without any risk of splitting. A handy, decent sized, faux suede, zippered stash pocket doubles as a goggle wipe.
The down side of the fabric venting so effectively was that when riding into a chilly breeze, the fabric let it straight through and this was quite cooling. The black/grey colour is slimming and definitely a sensible choice for muddy winter riding in the UK, though it might not make you stand out in those Instagram pics!
- Price: £54
- From RaceFace
Flare Stage Enduro Jersey
Designed and manufactured in the UK, Flare has come up with some imaginative graphics on their range of classic no-nonsense jerseys. Very much with the needs of female enduro/DH/bikepark riders in mind, the cut is flattering and relaxed, and loose enough to fit body armour underneath if desired. Though bikepark isn’t my usual style, I did find that there was an ease to wearing this kind of jersey on extended rides or for easy going touring.
The raglan sleeves give good freedom of movement at the shoulders, narrowing down the arm so that unnecessary flapping is avoided. There is no cuff but this was not an issue and they stayed in place on the forearm when pushed up to cool off. The hem of the jersey doesn’t dip over the rear, though the length is generous and provided ample overlap with shorts.
Again a hidden pocket in the left seam provided a useful place for a key or change.
- Price: £50
- From Flare
ION Tee LSA ¾ Helix
With the casual look of a cotton shirt, but drying 4x faster, this durable but lightweight, loose fit jersey, part of ION’s 2016 Blizz freeride line, is perfect for shredding the bikepark. The DriRelease front body, together with the jacquard mesh sleeves and back, gave it superb breathability and ventilation and the Sanitized finish really did seem to keep it fresh; even the most confirmed dirt bagger could be saved from embarrassment here! Slouchy and with extra length in the sleeves, this jersey can accommodate full body armour and with its lift pass pocket/goggle wipe it is ideal for those seeking some serious down-hill action. Of all the jerseys, this was my favourite in terms of colour and graphics, a really cool combo with the ION Nai bikeshorts. It is the most expensive in the test, but if radness is high on your priorities and your budget stretches to it, you won’t be disappointed by the performance.
- Price: £73
- From Ion
Here are my recommended shirts:
Race Face Khyber Jersey – Specialized Andorra Comp Jersey – Juliana ¾ Enduro jersey
|Brand:||Yeti, Specialized, Pearl Izumi, Juliana, RaceFace, Flare, Ion|
|Product:||Women's Enduro, Women's Launch, Women's Andorra, Women's Khyber, Stage Enduro, Tee LS|
|From:||www.ion-products.com, www.flareclothingco.com, www.raceface.com, www.silverfish-uk.com, www.pearlizumi.co.uk, www.jungleproducts.co.uk, www.specialized.co.uk,|
|Price:||£45 - £73|
|Tested:||by Sharon Anderson for|