The Mai Tai Evo Jersey from Primal is certainly going to get you noticed, but thankfully its retro styling isn't there to dazzle you away from any shortcomings. The Evo is a performance-cut jersey that works really well when things get a little warm.
The AE Elite fabric is made from polyester and nylon and has a fairish amount of stretch, although primarily the jersey relies on its close cut to offer its slim shape. It isn't skinny tight, like a lot of performance jerseys, but offers a close fit with a bit of room, a realistic range of sizing if you like.
The Evo is a great jersey for when the weather turns warmer, from high teens centigrade and above, thanks to the lightweight material. The side panels and underarms use a mesh fabric, which aids breathability and keeps the jersey feeling cool and breezy, especially when climbing or you are working really hard.
The full length YKK zip runs smoothly, which makes it easy to move up and down one-handed while in the saddle, should you wish to regulate body temperature. You don't get a zip garage at the top but the neck isn't high, so irritation isn't really an issue.
At the rear you'll find three pockets in a traditional layout, though it is good to see that the two outer ones are angled, making entry and exit much simpler when crouched in the saddle. They are a decent enough depth for a tube, phone or short mini pump, and the fabric is reasonably taut so you don't get masses of sag when fully loaded.
The right hand pocket also has a zip for valuables like cash or a debit card.
The rear tail is dropped by a good three inches for plenty of lower back coverage when in the saddle, and it is all held in place by an elasticated hem and silicone gripper. I certainly never had any issues with the jersey riding up while I was riding.
Overall quality is very good indeed, with no signs of any stray threads or rough stitching, and from previous experience of Primal products (Primal makes our road.cc kit), durability will not be an issue.
Price-wise, the Evo actually sits towards the mid to lower end when you look at the collective of jerseys we are sent in for review. You can go cheaper, but I'd say at £65 you are getting a technically designed jersey that offers a great cut and fit for the performance rider.
Fun looking jersey that performs well when the temperature rises
road.cc test report
Make and model: Primal Mai Tai Evo Cycling 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?
Primal says: "Everyone longs for white, sandy beaches on a gorgeous island. Escape to your own tropical paradise, complete with brilliant sunset and a drink in hand, hammock not provided."
"For the competitive athlete, the Primal Evo Jersey is ergonomically cut to make you ride faster and look better, combining advanced features with lightweight Q3 fabric and mesh paneling to provide the ultimate in comfort and performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1 Rear Zippered Side Pocket
3 Angled Rear Cargo Pockets
Full Length Hidden YKK Zipper
Mesh Side Panels
Mesh Underarm and Neck Panels
Q3 Elite Fabric
Silicone Waist Gripper
Tagless Label System
I'm right on the border of small and medium, and I would probably go smaller to get a closer fit.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
'Wash warm' is all the garment says, and it came up clean on both a 30 and 40-degree spin cycle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A comfortable, highly breathable jersey for warmer conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The colour, yeah honestly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not everyone will like the colour...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Primal kit always tends to perform well and this Evo jersey is no different. I'm certainly a fan of the realistic sizes rather than some super-narrow, Italian sized race jerseys.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.