Thanks to its lightweight mesh construction, the PBK Scala jersey is perfect for those hot and humid days in the middle of summer. The fabric has excellent wicking properties and a comfortable feel against the skin, and the price is a steal too.
PBK is online retailer Probikekit's in-house brand, and if the rest of the range is as good as this Scala then it's definitely been doing its homework.
Apparently Scala translates from Italian to English as 'climb', which is why PBK has gone for such a minimalist design.
Because that's where the Scala is made, from start to finish, according to PBK – everything from cutting to printing and stitching.
Everything bar the sleeves is made from 100% polyester, which provides enough give to create a close-fitting jersey without being restrictive to movement. It has a racing style cut which is quite flattering even if you aren't a racing snake.
The sleeves are polyester, too, but include 10% elastane to give them more stretch to achieve a snug fit whether you have muscular biceps or traditional cyclist's pipe cleaners for arms. They are quite long too, finishing not far above the elbow, which can play havoc with your tan lines.
The majority of the jersey is a mesh construction – everything but those sleeves, to be precise – and it works well to keep you cool on days when there isn't much air movement about. The micro dot holes on each side of the material let cool air in and warm air out, and I never felt overwhelmed in it from the sun even when climbing some 25% inclines.
If you do overheat you can always drop the full length zip as far as you want to.
I always wear a baselayer regardless of the time of year or weather, but if you don't you won't find the Scala uncomfortable against the skin as it is very soft without any itchiness whatsoever.
The fabric is also said to come with an anti-bacterial treatment to stop nasty niffs and it works pretty well – I managed about eight hours in it one week before it actually needing washing. You also get SPF50 sun protection throughout the jersey too.
The style of the Scala is pretty traditional, with a slightly dropped tail held in place by elastic and a silicone strip and three pockets situated above in a horizontal layout across the back. I've used deeper but these were still firm enough to hold heavy stuff like a phone and multi-tool, and I never felt like anything was going to fall out. You also get a zipped valuables pocket on the right hand one which is the ideal size for bank cards and cash or a key.
Priced at £49.99, the PBK Scala is good value for the performance and comfort. The finish is pretty good as well, although there are a few stray thread ends and the like kicking about – admittedly, you only notice that if you are having a really good poke about inside.
Other in-house brands such as BTwin from Decathlon and Wiggle's dhb have models for around the same price, the latter's £60 ASV Race jersey being priced at £45 after discount. The Decathlon equivalent comes in at a tenner cheaper than the PBK – but BTwin is always hard to beat on price.
Overall I was very impressed with the Scala right across the board, and with a bit more attention to the stitching detail it would be hard to beat.
Well priced, funky looking jersey that is great for riding in the summer heat
road.cc test report
Make and model: PBK Scala 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?
PBK says: "Scala translates from Italian to English as 'Climb'. This is a high performance jersey with a fast-wicking design and aerodynamic Lycra sleeves with an eye-catching geometric print to one side.
"The soft textured, breathable Italian 'Ball' fabric provides temperature regulation to ensure a constant body temperature throughout your ride. Micro-mesh construction allows breathability and quickly wicks sweat to keep you dry.
"Cut for a comfortable and anatomical fit on the bike, the jersey has a permanent anti-bacterial treatment, while the use of one hundred percent natural inks prevents irritation. The jersey is constructed with minimal labels and precise hand stitching throughout to prevent chafing.
"Combining style and performance, the jersey provides premium all day comfort whilst catering for high performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PBK lists these features:
100% made in Italy (printed, cut, stitched)
Fast wicking, breathable, soft Italian 'Ball' fabric with 4 way stretch for freedom of movement
3 rear pockets with reinforced stitching
Rear zip pocket for valuables
SPF 50 UV protection
Full length YKK non-slip zipper
Silicone hem gripper to prevent jersey riding up
Anatomically cut for 'on the bike' comfort
Aerodynamic Lycra elbow length sleeves
The jersey matched the online sizing guide.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple – a straightforward 30-degree wash cycle keeps it clean.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's an ideal jersey for riding on hot days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A few rough edges.
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
Breathable, lightweight and very comfortable, the PBK Scala jersey is great for wearing on a warm summer's day. The fact that it is so competitively priced too is a bonus.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
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.