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With its ultra-fine merino layer against the skin, its rather natty colour scheme, and promise of EU production, the Embers Merino Sun Jersey is rather a splendid piece of riding kit.
Embers Merino hail from the other side of the M1 to me, in Belper in Derbyshire, and while that might sound like a foreign country to some of you, I can assure you it means they have no choice but to get some good riding in. There are hills and dales all around – and I can't help but think that goes some way to explain why this jersey is so good.
Billed as a "Premium lightweight jersey designed for warm conditions or high tempo riding in cooler weather", the Sun Jersey lives up to that with aplomb. Its mix of merino inner and tech fabric outer ensures that smells are minimised, comfort next to the skin is maximised, sweat is wicked away and it dries rapidly, keeping you in comfort all day.
Straight out of the packet there's very much a wow factor about the colour-scheme; no dark and dreary here. The vibrant blue stripe may or may not be your cup of char, but it's certainly very noticeable – in a chipper sort of way. Personally I'm a blue fan (the colour, not the group) so for me it works, both in the gruppetto where it's certainly a cheery top, but also from a safety point of view where it contrasts vividly with the greenery. As the light drops it also has a good measure of reflectivity about it, including on the right shoulder for signalling, which is a nice touch.
A full-length YKK zipper, complete with draught excluder and zip garage, ensure that on the hottest days it is well ventilated and its fast wicking nature hold up well to tempo riding. The fit is good, Embers themselves say that should you want a race fit then size down (it's not me in the photos). Flatlocked seams mean no irritation on the inside, and soft elastic ribbing keeps the arms really comfortable.
With four pockets to the rear, one of which is zipped – though not waterproof – there is ample stowage. Hold back on the heavy items, though, as the jersey will deform if you try to stash too much weight. There's also a headphone hole should you be that way inclined.
The clean looks benefit from it being largely free of logos, with just one small Embers front and rear, and an image of St Blaise (the patron saint of wool workers) on the breast. The party isn't spoiled by the price, either. Okay, £95 isn't cheap, but you do get a very nice piece of kit that comes in under premium competitors. It also competes well for performance – after six months of use it's held up well with no threads, splitting and so on, so the value seems good.
I've enjoyed this jersey a great deal. It brings a smile to my face just pulling it on, with its chipper looks and nautical feel, and in use the jolly nature doesn't leave you. It's as comfortable as it is bright, and with the warm days with us again it will be seeing plenty of sunlight on my back.
Vibrantly styled, excellently executed and fairly priced – a great choice for the summer
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Make and model: Embers Merino Sun Jersey
Size tested: Small, blue/white
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?
Embers' marketing spiel says it's a "premium lightweight jersey designed for warm conditions or high tempo riding in cooler weather", and I would say they've got it spot on!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FABRIC : The Core Merino fabrics are constructed with a merino inner which faces the skin and a technical synthetic outer. Supersoft, odour resistant, fast drying and durable.
COMPOSITION : 21% Merino, 79% Polyester
FEATURES : Full length ultralight YKK front Zip, Triple back pocket & Zipped valuables pocket. MP3 player cable guides. Printed Panels, Elasticated non slip gripper hem, Flatlocked seams throughout, Reflective rear and shoulder logos. Embers Blaise 3D logos.
Everything sits well, and fits well, nothing errant or out of place.
Comfortable and fast wicking, cracking job.
It can deform when loaded too heavily, but it retains its shape well and there's been no adverse stretching after six months.
Very! The merino next to the skin is a nice touch, really helping it to score high on the comfort front.
Certainly not cheap, but when compared with other self-proclaimed premium items it delivers terrific bang for your buck.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I found it both comfortable and practical as a jersey, the light colour helping to keep the sun away, and it wicks well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I really enjoyed the styling – it is smile-inducing to behold and wear – a perfect summer jersey.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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
An excellent summer jersey with great performance and styling
Age: 37 Height: 176cm Weight:
I usually ride: WyndyMilla Massive Attack, Raleigh SP Race, Hoffman BMX My best bike is: WyndyMilla Massive Attack
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, adventure-packing, crossing countries