With what can only be described as a funky design, the Huez Inverse Rock jersey is certainly going to get you noticed. Thankfully, that love it or hate it explosion of colour is backed up by an excellent cut and great performance in a range of temperatures.
"Taking inspiration from the Helvetic rocks of Alpe d'Huez, this is our latest limited edition digital print, connecting us to the epic climb," says Huez on its latest creation, which is also available in a black version if this one is a little too out there for you.
As with all of the Huez kit I've tested, the overall quality and level of finish is very high indeed. The stitching is neat and tidy throughout the well-positioned seams; none are placed where they could irritate the skin, even wearing a rucksack or whatever, which also helps with durability.
The fabric is Italian (the jersey is manufactured there too) and has high levels of stretch in all directions for a really close, race-style fit, enhanced by the cut of the panels. It's a flattering fit, so even though the jersey has a very slim fitting shape you don't need to be a racing whippet to look good in it.
Whether you're sitting more upright or hunkering down in the drops at full stretch, the Inverse Rock moves with you without ever feeling tight or restrictive across the shoulders, which is impressive considering how close the fit is when you're off the bike.
The tail is dropped for decent coverage when in the drops and the front arched up towards the centre which reduces bunching around the stomach and stops the zip rubbing on the front of your shorts.
The sleeves are pretty long, coming down nearly to the elbow, and are held in place more by the fabric than any sort of cuff, but it works well. I had no issues with them riding up at all even when things were hot and sweaty.
Keeping temperature levels under control, Huez has gone for mesh side and underarm panels which help to extract some bodyheat. I'd say the jersey works comfortably up until about 20°C before it can start to feel a little warm, but on the flipside the fabric will keep you warm down to low double figures so it makes for a great spring/autumn jersey.
If you do overheat you can always drop the full zip which is easy to adjust while riding and is positioned under a zip garage at the neck to stop any irritation.
Pocket-wise you get four across the lower back. Three are in the traditional position, with each offering plenty of storage space and made of non-saggy material. They'll easily swallow one of the latest large smartphones plus our jersey also came with a Huez branded aLOKSAK waterproof valuables bag.
The fourth pocket sits to the left-hand side, sized and positioned perfectly for an energy bar or anything else you might need to grab hold of on the fly.
The only thing it's missing is a zipped pocket for a key or some loose change; most jerseys now have one of these.
At £130 this jersey is up there with some of the top priced kit we've tested, and although I think it is an excellent piece of kit, we've seen some impressive jerseys for a ton or less. Sportful's Gruppetto Pro, for instance, ticks most of the same boxes for 80 quid, there are some good Alé options at £100, and Café du Cycliste's Zahira is 10 per cent cheaper.
The Inverse Rock is just a little too much money for me, even for the quality and performance. If you're happy to spend the cash, though, it's a great top (and it's for sale online in the black version for £98).
Great fit and very well made, but it'll cost you
road.cc test report
Make and model: Huez Inverse Rock 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?
Huez says: "Taking inspiration from the Helvetic rocks of Alpe d'Huez, this is our latest limited edition digital print, connecting us to the epic climb.
"It was created to encompass the performance and technicality of the most high-end race jerseys whilst retaining comfort and practicality which allows it to be used all year round for racing, training and everything in between.
"The Italian made Lycra was created to be at the pinnacle of fabric technology offering a 4-way stretch fabric which provides excellent breathability in warm to mild temperatures. The folded and bonded cuff keeps the sleeve in place to keep those tan lines tight.
"The low cut neck line provides classic, race-inspired styling. Three rear pockets allow you to pack away all your essentials for a day on the road, pump, shades and fuel. The small silicone pellets at the waistband keeps everything in place."
The design of the Inverse Rock jersey might not be to my taste, but the performance is pretty impressive.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Huez lists these features:
Dark fabrics with Coldblack® technology have been proven to reflect more heat than lighter colours. This special finishing technology reduces heat build-up and provides reliable sun protection up to UPF 50, and typically keeps the fabrics 9°c cooler than non-treated black fabrics.
3M®'s brilliant reflective technology keeps you highly visible when darkness falls.
Ultra-grippy silicone keeps the garment firmly in place.
Anti-UV clothing protects you in three ways by absorbing, blocking or reflecting UV radiation that causes sunburn and long term skin damage. Don't forget - even when the sun's not out, UV is about.
Sizing is absolutely spot on with Huez's sizing recommendations.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with staining at all after a simple wash cycle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
An excellent performance jersey for most weather conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of zipped pocket.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, it's a bit pricey for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The design is a little on the garish side for some, but performance-wise the Huez is hard to knock, although it is on the pricey side.
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.