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The mid-range Northwave Sonic is a snug-fitting jersey for warm days, with a minimalist look. The construction is good, but not high-end, with the side panel seams noticeably not flatlocked. Construction is mostly Lycra, with side and underarm panels of a wider mesh for ventilation. The zip is reasonably robust, and is do-up-able with one hand to the garage at the collar.
At the back, three pockets are deep enough for a gilet/armwarmers, with the centre pocket sporting a hidden-zip pocket for mobile/cash. There's a small reflective patch too. Below the rear hem is the obligatory silicone gripper strip.
It's a little detail, but I do like Northwave's nod to their Italian origin with the little green, white and red tab, also forming the hanging loop inside the collar. The Northwave logo on the front is raised rubber lettering - it seems well-attached, and hasn't shifted in a few months of use/washing.
On the bike the fit is good, the rear being just right and the front not bunching up around the tum. The fabrics admit a decent breeze, and the full-length zip is always there for serious hillwork.
My only gripe is the arm length. At 94cm chest/84cm waist I'm a Small according to Northwave's fit chart, the tested garment was a Medium, yet the arms were easily an inch or two too short for my liking. The sleeve ends in a 6cm-wide double layer of Lycra, which, according to Northwave, 'adapts to the body with constricting the muscles. The double layer is extremely elastic so always fits perfectly around the leg'.
Unless you've got things drastically wrong Northwave obviously mean arms and the fit certainly is snug, bordering on compression-tight. That would be fine, but as it's a bit short the sleeve tends to ride up over the bicep, almost turning the jersey into a vest in look. Pulling the arms down to keep tan lines razor-sharp throughout a sunny ride is not a great use of time better spent eyeing componentry or dodging errant wildlife/road users.
Over a few months the Sonic jersey was a pleasant bit of kit to pull on, paired in spring/early summer with a short-sleeved baselayer or windblock T-shirt depending on conditions (and the Sonic bib shorts). The fabric isn't ultra-light/breathable, but should serve you well for most UK conditions. Pockets are perfectly functional and the look is minimalist chic with a nod to contrast/visibility.
If only the arms were a tad longer.
Comfortably fitting, good looking jersey – but the arms may feel too short
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Make and model: NorthWave SS15 Sonic Jersey Short Sleeves
Size tested: Black/White Med
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?
It's for people on a budget, looking for a summer jersey with minimalist styling.
Northwave says: "The Sonic jersey's distinctive design features six large breathable mesh inserts positioned in high-sweat areas and lots of tech for cyclists who demand a high performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly breathable Lightech fabric.
YKK full opening zip with camlock puller.
Mesh inserts on back on sides on sleeves.
3 rear pockets with the middle having an invisible zip.
6cm Double Lycra arm ends for good grip without constriction or any feeling of tightness.
Double Lycra waist on the front silicon grip on back.
Reflective Logo 5cm reflective strip on the back.
Well-put-together, but not premium. But then it's £55 RRP.
The arms really let down what would otherwise be a good jersey.
It still looks like new, two months later.
At 166g it's not light, but not heavy either.
The side panel seams are noticeable, and the arms, again.
At full RRP, I wouldn't say it's great value. Maybe at a clearance price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In terms of keeping you cool on warm days going quickly, it's not bad. And can be paired with a gilet/armwarmers perfectly well. But don't count on it to keep those tanlines sharp.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The small details of Italian tabs, minimalist design, and the rubber logo. nice.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The arms, and to a lesser extent the seams.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. But not at RRP.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with the caveats on arm length. If the arms fitted, sure.
Use this box to explain your score
If Northwave lengthened the arms it would be a much more attractive proposition. Probably a 7.
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 71kg
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking and Dutch bike pootling