Affordable Thermal Cycling Jersey — Review
Have you ever looked for cycling specific clothing with the word “thermal” on it, and nearly fell off your chair once you saw the price? Cycling specific clothing is expensive as such, and the word thermal seems to ramp up the price exponentially. Luckily big online stores are full of affordable, made in China -options. Like with most made in China product, the prices are low and the quality is… Erm, whatever it happens to be? That’s why I got a very affordable thermal cycling jerseys for testing. Here are my thoughts about it.
Thermal Cycling Jersey, team kit version
When I saw this cycling jersey for the first time online, I wasn’t very convinced. A fake team kit thermal cycling jersey for less than 20$. There’s no way to get decent quality for this price, right? Well, curiosity got the better of me and I ended up ordering one, just to see how it’s like.
A long wait later the package finally arrived. The first experience was quite positive. It was great to see the decals and markings on the right places and when it comes to appearance, the jersey looked pretty good. Even the typical weak point of cheap clothing, the zipper, felt sturdy and well-made. However, the material didn’t quite feel like what I was used to. It was surprisingly thick and heavy, kind of like a track jacket, and has a nice feeling brushed fleece lining. I couldn’t help but wonder whether this jersey was supposed to be more like a jacket than a jersey. With that said, I was looking forward to testing it out.
Chinese made clothing tends to run smaller in size than what you are used to with western brands, so I recommend ordering a size larger than your average jersey. The size charts available on the ads on Amazon, eBay, etc are not much use because of the wildly varying tolerances on them. It’s not abnormal to see +/-3 cm measurement error given with the size chart, which makes its usefulness questionable.
I’m 178 cm / 65 kg (5’10 / 144 pounds) and got size large. It’s a bit baggy and a bit long, but Medium size would have probably been too small for me, judging by my earlier experiences with Chinese made jerseys.
To be fair, I ended up testing this thermal cycling jersey way outside of the temperature range it was meant to be used at. I found out that it’s way too warm for over +10°C degree weather and way too cold for -10°C degrees or lower. Granted, I used a combination of baselayers and wind vest alongside with it, but the versatility of it surprised me.
The jersey is not advertised to be windproof and it certainly doesn’t feel like it. However, once you put it on and go for a ride you’ll be surprised, for better or worse. The first thought is just how warm it really is. The second thought is, it’s not very windproof. What’s interesting is that once you warm up slightly, the jersey starts to feel more and more windproof. The material is so thick and dense that it traps the warm air inside and the wind can’t really get to you after a certain point. I tested it down to 5°C degrees when road biking and never felt like I would need more clothing. However, if it’s colder than that I’d like to have something windproof on top/underneath the jersey.
For mountain biking this jersey is brilliant. For high intensity rides it’s easily warm enough down to zero or even a bit below freezing. The jersey really benefits from the overall slower speeds of mountain biking and thus reduced wind-chill.
The only real problem I found during testing is the lack of breathability. The jersey is made out of the same material all around, which means no sweat-wicking mesh panels or other high-tech fabrics were used. On the other hand, can you expect such features for less than 20$?
This affordable thermal cycling jersey was a positive surprise to me. Considering the price, it has got no real downsides. It’s not fully windproof and not the most breathable jersey available, but for less than 20$ can you really judge it for that? What you get instead is a fairly well-made shirt that will keep you warm in those temperatures when a jacket is too much but a regular jersey and arm warmers are just a tad bit too cold.
- Great value for the money
- Decent quality overall
- Plenty warm enough for mid-season rides
- Not very breathable, made out of the same material instead of having more breathable fabrics at the back side, for example
- Lacks proper wind-proofing, let alone water-proofing
I’ll leave it to you to decide whether wearing a fake team kit is cool or not.