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The Hoy Vulpine Men's Senko Jersey is a well-thought-out short-sleeve top for racy days. It feels great on the bike, bent into the drops, gunning it. The tight fit prevents any flapping, and the fabric choice means you're unlikely to ever need to unzip to stay cool. It looks fab too.
UK-based Vulpine's collaboration with Sir Chris Hoy has created the Senko range, Senko being a Japanese keirin racing term for leading out the charge with half a mile to go. The Men's Senko jersey reflects this – a product designed for speed. This isn't the jersey you're looking for if carrying tons of kit is required. Understand the fit and purpose, though, and it delivers on the promise.
The Italian fabric is cut tight – words like 'aero' and 'compression' sprinkle the Senko range's marketing blurb. With a 32in waist, 37in chest and being 6ft tall, I'm usually a medium, but the Senko range demanded a small to fit the aero aspirations and ensure the cut would stay in place – this is not a jersey to smuggle excess pies inside. The same sizing issue applied to the Senko Bib Shorts I tested.
There are Coolmax panels down each side and under the arms to aid cooling, but this jersey isn't limited to scorching days – I've been out in pouring rain and 10 degrees or so, and with the right baselayer/shell the Senko is perfectly capable as a layer that adapts either way.
The collar sits pretty high, with a zip garage to protect the skin. I didn't often need to ventilate using the small zip-pull, the fabric being so breathable. The 4cm-wide arm grippers stay in place on skin or arm warmers, helping to keep the armpit fabric pulled slightly away from the skin to aid airflow.
The three rear pockets aren't large, and the light fabric doesn't lend itself to load-lugging anyway. Fitting in a mini-pump and toolbag, tightly-rolled jacket and mobile pretty much maxed them out. There's no zipped valuables pocket, and the slick pocket interior surface and relatively shallow 15cm depth means you'll want to be aware of mobile phone security if riding over surfaces likely to deliver a big hit to the saddle. The back is held down by a deep drop tail with the obligatory silicone grip strip.
Apart from the large reflective HOY V on the rear, the only other branding is a smaller non-reflective version on the left breast.
The jersey is comfortable against the skin, with mostly flatlocked seams and no scratchy labels – the care instructions are printed on.
Riding with a selection of merino and polyester baselayers, both mesh for cooling and normal 150gsm-weight for warmth, the Senko did an excellent job allowing moisture transfer. Even underneath a shell in relatively warm rain things felt comfortable while pressing briskly on.
It pairs perfectly with the bib shorts, and layered correctly with the right arm warmers will give you a system that works across a wide temperature range while looking quite the business. Yes, £99 is a significant amount, and there are a lot of high-quality product to choose from at that price point, but the Senko can hold its head up as a snappy-looking performance-orientated option for your go-faster cash.
A very good go-fast option that looks a million bucks – just get the fit/sizing right
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hoy Vulpine Men's Senko Jersey
Size tested: Small (weight is for medium), Royal Navy/Classic Navy
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 folk who want to go fast and look sharp doing it.
"Elite level, race fit aero jersey, for maximal summer road cycling comfort.
"Sleek, summer road cycling jersey utilising the best materials. Presented simply, without shouting its credentials. Constructed from soft, lightweight Italian fabric for an aerodynamic race fit. Coolmax mesh side panels provide extra cooling, whilst rear pockets are angled for easy access. Full length YKK zip and deep arm grippers maximise comfort."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Italian compression fabric for aero fit and moisture loss, with mesh Coolmax side panels for heat control.
Printed care instructions, not scratchy labels, plus flat-lock stitching for maximal comfort.
Reflective rear facing logo, to warn following traffic in low light.
Unique HOY Vulpine silicon gripper on hips, with wide arm grippers, tested for maximum comfort vs grip.
Flatlocked seams almost throughout.
Breathability is exemplary, even with layers under or over.
Despite loading the pockets up, after a month of almost daily wearing the seams are holding fast. With such light fabric and tight pockets, but no reinforcing evident, this remains to be seen as a failure point.
Very, very snug. Sleeves could be maybe half an inch longer.
Go smaller. If in doubt, ask Vulpine for advice and use the returns service.
Pretty light for a jersey able to layer up for cooler rides.
Very comfortable indeed.
The 100-quid price point delivers some outstanding jerseys, and the Senko holds its head up.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed up well with no evidence of pilling.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – lets you get on with the suffering, or enjoyment, or both.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The look – it's sharp. Really sharp.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No zipped pocket, and the sleeves might be a half-inch longer – but I'm quibbling there.
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
It's a very good summer jersey for fast riding, but I'd like to have seen a zipped valuables pocket – there's one on the top-end Palmares model – and for £99 I want somewhere to keep my phone safe.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc 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: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling