The Sportive jersey from Madison is a relatively affordable summer top that uses some well-positioned fluoro panels on the sleeves and around the neck to help you get seen.
Research has shown that reflective rather than fluoro is what catches other road-users' eyes the best in dusk conditions, and there's some good-sized reflective flashes on each side of the lower back too, plus a small reflective Madison logo at the top of the back. On the front is a white stripe with another logo. This stripe didn't seem quite horizontal when I wore the jersey, which slightly spoiled the effect.
For the most part, the torso is black, so it should stand up well to road grime. Madison offer the Sportive in a range of colour schemes, so as well as the black/hi-viz you see here, you can have the same design in white/blue, black/red and red/black. All of the colour schemes are reasonably attractive to my eyes, with the subtle branding helping give a fairly grown-up look. Last year's version had a more basic design and this new model definitely moves things a step up in terms of appearance.
In terms of construction, the majority of the jersey is made from a stretchy lycra which is pretty soft and comfortable. A fine mesh is used on the underside of the sleeves and for a stripe down each side. Overall the fabric was comfortable and the stretchiness means it's not at all restrictive in use. Breathability is reasonably good - not on a par with much more expensive jerseys but respectable for the price. Standard (non-flatlocked) seams are used throughout, but I didn't find this impacted negatively upon comfort in use.
There is a full-length unbranded camlock zip with a nice rubberized Madison pull and a zip garage at the top, to stop throat irritation. Unusually, the strip of fabric used for the zip garage runs the whole length of the zip as a sort of storm flap inside the jersey. On weather-proof jerseys one of these can really stop draughts coming through the zip, but here I am not sure why this is needed, given that you're likely to want more rather than less air coming through the front of your jersey. Anyway, it didn't cause any problems, and the zip worked smoothly during the test.
The sleeves are fairly close-fitted and with a more compressive band around the ends. There's no silicone here but the tighter bands do a good job at keeping them in place and there's not any flapping around. There is a strip of nice sticky silicone in the hem at the bottom of the back to stop the jersey riding up when you're leaning forward.
Also at the back are the customary three pockets. These are really well-executed with a stiffening strip across the openings which means you can always get your hand in without fumbling. There's also a fourth pocket, overlaid on the right-hand of the three. As we're seeing more and more, it's has a water-resistant lining so you can safely bung your phone in there. Stitching on the pockets is robust and with the stretchy fabric you can stuff them with plenty of cargo. Full marks for the pockets, then.
I tested a medium size which gave a reasonably close but not skin-tight fit. The back is dropped a few inches lower than at the front to suit a typical riding position. Madison say the Sportive is ideal for training and racing. I'd say it is more of a fast training jersey than something I'd wear for racing, but you could certainly do a lot worse.
In summary, Madison have done a decent job with the Sportive jersey. It has some nice colour combinations and some good details - I was particularly impressed with the pockets. At this price, though, there's some really strong competition and with a bit of shopping around you may be able to get a more technical jersey from a more prestigious brand for this sort of money.
Decent, eye-catching summer jersey with slim fit and excellent pockets; perhaps a mite overpriced
road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Sportive Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A technically cut high performance jersey ideal for training and racing.
The Sportive jersey boasts a super soft touch stretchy fabric that offers unrivalled wicking and stretch for maximum comfort and moisture transfer
The vented mesh side and under arm panels aid cooling.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full length front zipper provides that welcome flood of cool air when needed on those hot summer rides.
Three open pockets on the rear of the jersey for easy access to gels & bars and a zippered security pocket for valuables.
Elasticated silicone rear hem ensures the jersey stays firmly in place.
Black reflective rear prints add an element of stealth safety when riding in low light conditions.
Soft zip guard avoids any irritation.
Limited lifetime warranty.
Fairly simple construction but there's not that much wrong. The stitching isn't flatlocked but it's robust. Comfortable stretchy fabric. Did I mention how much I like the pockets?
The fabric used is pretty comfortable, aided by a high degree of stretch and a really smooth texture.
Good jerseys are getting cheaper. £45 is a fair price for the fit and features here but with a bit of shopping around you can get bigger brands and a more technical jersey for this sort of money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good combination of visibility and summer-riding comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Chest logo was slightly off-horizontal, which bugged me a bit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.