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Given its name, it's no surprise that Spoxe's Fade to Black jersey has a somewhat stealthy look to it, broken only by cascading Spoxe logos on the shoulders and rear pockets. This dash of colour transforms what would have been a fairly boring and conservative jersey into one with an edgy appeal, perfect for pulling out when that yellow thing in the sky makes an appearance.
As a true summer jersey, the 140gsm Coolmax fabric used is very light and airy, and even comes with a UV protection rating of 40 – always a good sign for a jersey designed for maximum breathability. Viewed from the right angle, the fabric is nearly see-through, such is the openness of the mesh. A smooth running, full-length YKK zip is specced at the front, which features a metal toggle that's easy to grab hold of and operate one handed. At the rear, you'll find three ample sized pockets made from a heavier and less stretchy fabric, while a strip of silicone around the waistband holds the whole thing firmly in place.
The cut is on the racier side of things, as the jersey is intended to fit tight to the body to make use of the fabric's wicking properties and improve aerodynamics (and style). It's a little longer in the body compared with what you'd typically expect for the size (medium tested), but as someone with a tall and skinny physique, for me this was a plus as it meant the pockets were placed lower on the back and didn't require the flexibility of a gymnast to get into.
As is the current trend, the sleeves are also a little longer than typical (although nowhere near the elbow lengths you sometimes see in the pro peloton), and are stylishly finished with a 4.5cm silicone-injected 'power band' cuff. This is supposedly for improved aerodynamics, but evidently I need to do a few more bicep curls as the fabric was flapping in the wind on my arms.
In use, the Fade to Black jersey is ideally suited to days when the mercury climbs to 25°C and above. The fabric never gets bogged down and heavy with sweat, efficiently wicking it away. For occasions when additional ventilation is required, such as on a steep climb, the full length zip is easily adjusted with one hand, saving the need for any potentially catastrophic no-handed riding.
In fact, for a recent hilly mountain bike marathon race, when temperatures were predicted to reach the low 30s, the Fade to Black jersey was the first I reached for because of its breathability. It didn't let me down. The race also provided an ideal opportunity to test the jersey's durability, as a rolled front tyre had me cartwheeling through the air. Despite its minimalist fabric and construction, unlike the skin beneath, it escaped unscathed, save for a small tear in the central pocket where I had stored my mini pump.
At £75 the Fade to Black jersey isn't cheap, though it's currently reduced to £50, but it's an investment that could easily be worthwhile if you live in a hot climate or travel to them for a sportive/race. Because of its weight and breathability it's ideally suited for days featuring long, steep climbs, such as you might find on a summer trip to the Alps or Pyrenees. That it looks stylish and stands out from the crowd is just a bonus.
A snazzy summer jersey with excellent breathability and a slim fit – ideal for that planned summer epic
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Make and model: Spoxe Fade to Black Jersey
Size tested: Black - 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?
The Fade to Black jersey is intended as an out-and-out summer jersey, prioritising light weight and breathability.
Spoxe say: "Made from UPF40+ Coolmax 140gsm single-stretch direction Italian fabric to hold shape and design, this jersey was proudly designed in Melbourne to be worn by you wherever you are. The sleeves are finished without hems, usingåÊ4.5cm silicone injected power band arm cuffs to smoothly transition from the jersey to your arm for that aero look and a silicone gripper waist band keeps the jersey where it should be at all times.
"The fabric has excellent moisture wicking capability, never leaving you feeling damp and never chafing."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made from UPF40+ Coolmax 140gsm single-stretch direction Italian fabric
4.5cm silicone injected power band arm cuffs
Silicone waist gripper
3 rear pockets
Available in Mens S-XL and Womens S-L
The jersey design is relatively simple and relies mostly on the fabric itself for performance. All the stitches are neat and tidy.
As befitting a summer jersey, it's light and very breathable. The fit is race-orientated and apart from some slack in the arms (more to do with my lack of biceps to be truthful), there isn't any excess material to catch the wind and slow you down.
It has survived a fairly nasty crash with only a small tear in the central rear pocket - impressive for such a lightweight jersey.
It's light on the scales and that translates well on the bike too.
The fit is race-orientated but not restrictive. As someone with a tall and skinny physique, I particularly liked the extra length in the body, which locates the pockets further down on the back for easier access.
It's very specifically a summer jersey which will limit its use for most UK conditions, but the cost is worth it if living and/or travelling to somewhere hotter.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Fade to Black jersey is pretty much everything you would expect of a summer jersey, wrapped up in a stylish package.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The extra length in the body.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The arm cuffs were a little slack on this tester's skinny arms.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 22 Height: 190cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Cannondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: Road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mountain biking
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.