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The retro-style Hoy Vulpine Women's Akita City Jersey is a joy to wear – it looks good and feels soft, though its sweat-friendly wicking properties aren't odour-repelling enough for my liking.
Looks-wise, the Akita walks a stylish line between on-bike practicality and the ability to blend in with pedestrians off the bike. There aren't even any rear pockets to give you away – something you may love or hate, but as it's more casual than a road cycling jersey, the expectation is you'll have a bag for larger extras and spares.
The only thing really giving it away is the swooping rear panel designed to prevent on-bike lower back gape.
A retro ribbed collar and cuffs and small embroidered Hoy V logo on the chest and back look great. The velodrome-inspired label is a nice touch, with its three stripes - the 'Cote d'Azure' blue line, measurement line and sprinter's line - a nod to Sir Chris's track cycling career.
The jersey performed well on a gentle ride in changeable spring weather – cosy enough in the shade or when clouds appeared, without being stifling in the sun.
But in that strange paradigm of certain materials that claim to be anti-bacterial or odour fighting, the Akita's polyester fabric seems to do the opposite and was actually quite whiffy even after a short ride in the sun (not a problem this reviewer regularly encounters). This is the biggest setback for this item, especially if you're transitioning from bike to social environment in it.
Stitching-wise, flatlock seams are comfortable on the sides and arms and there are no internal labels to annoy – information is printed on the inside of the jersey. Material does bunch up a bit where three layers of material are stitched together, though, with the scratchy zip backing making for a mildly itchy neck.
Another thing about the zip is that you'll needs two hands, or one hand and your teeth, to undo it from the top, or the collar will fold over rather than undoing – the zip is quite stiff so it needs a firm tug. Once the zip is below the ribbed collar one hand will undo it, and it's easy enough to do up again one-handed, but once left open you'll notice that zip.
The neat little triangular key pocket, opening at the right hand seam and held fast by stitching along the bottom, all but disappears into the seam when closed, save for the small metal tag. You can, as claimed, fit a smart phone in as long as it’s not massive, and it'll be obvious it's there, visually and tactically, as the pocket is stitched to the bottom of the front seam.
Fit-wise the Akita behaves like a T-shirt: there's some looseness without it being overly baggy, and it's fitted at the waist to flattering effect. The arm cuffs on the small size were snug on medium sized arms without pinching or leaving an imprint on the skin. If your arms are on the larger side, this will be the jersey's limiting factor, size-wise.
A good-looking non-Lycra option for casual rides and commuting, but the fabric holds on to body odours
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Make and model: HOY Vulpine Women's Akita City Jersey
Size tested: Small, Sky Blue
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 Hoy Vulpine Akita jersey is billed as a good option for commutes, cafe rides and touring, which I would largely agree with - it walks a nice line between style and practicality for less taxing rides.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The jersey's polyester fabric feels nice to the touch but does trap odours, unfortunately.
Generally good apart from some messy stitching where material bunches up around the zip.
The odour factor is a major drawback, unfortunately. Everything else worked very well, performance wise.
Some very light bobbling occurred after a couple of washes but nothing major.
Very comfortable to wear, overall.
A good value product, quality-wise, with its flatlock stitching, and attractive tailoring.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The product performed well on commutes and weekend rides, being comfortable on the bike and adaptable enough to blend in off the bike. But the smelly factor is a drawback and the zip could do with improving.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A comfortable and good-looking jersey with good tailoring and detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The jersey became smelly after a short time and the zip is quite scratchy on the neck.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 33 Height: 167cm Weight: 63kg
I usually ride: Specialized Vita Elite My best bike is: Trek Madone
I've been riding for: 9 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: Commuting, touring, sportives, fitness - and training for RideLondon