The Hoy Vulpine Fortress is a really good windproof and water-resistant jersey in an excellent cut, and the arm warmers, which use the same fabric, are equally impressive performers.
I love the cut of the Fortress jersey. It's slim without any bagginess. If you're a chunkier build than me and you're concerned that this might mean it's a tight fit, you probably don't need to worry because the polyester/polyurethane fabric is super-stretchy across its width. That's one of the beauties of this jersey (and, to be fair, of many other jerseys of a similar ilk from other brands) – you get protection from the weather in a sporty, aero cut.
The dropped tail is excellent too. It's long enough to keep your bum covered and silicone print on the inside of the gripper meant it always stayed properly in place throughout testing, whether I was sitting in the saddle or standing up. It's the most successful tail design of any jersey of this kind that I've tried.
Grippers inside the sleeves are similarly effective whether working against your skin or the top of the arm warmers.
The neck is tall and close fitting. I have the medium sized jersey and the collar has a 14 inch (35.6cm) circumference (if you wanted to check that against one of your existing jerseys). It's lined with a microfleece fabric so it feels comfortable.
Although it's lightweight, the Fortress is considerably warmer than a standard jersey in dry weather by dint of being windproof, but it's in wet conditions that it really scores. The fabric keeps out spray from the road and can deal with anything up to quite hard showers as long as they don't go on for too long. As with other foul weather jerseys, water can get in through the untaped seams over a period of time, but sometimes that's a better option than carrying and sticking on a flappy and perhaps less breathable waterproof jacket.
Speaking of breathability, sweat vapour is able to escape through the fabric, although I've used other jerseys that are more capable in this regard. Hoy Vulpine has perforated the reflective panels on top of the shoulders and on the tail so as not to compromise the performance there.
In terms of temperature range, I'd say the Fortress is suitable for about 8°C up to 15°C or so.
The three rear cargo pockets have elasticated tops to help keep the contents in place, and there's a zipped outer pocket for your valuables back there too.
The leading sections of the arm warmers are made from the same water resistant fabric, while the panel along the underside is a brushed back Roubaix. They use the same grippers as the jersey and stay in place perfectly.
When looking at value we rate a product according to its RRP, and at £140, although not cheap, the Fortress set is good value. It's nearly £100 cheaper now – and a steal. Don't dither, though – the medium in mandarin is already sold out...
Windproof and water resistant jersey in an excellent fit, with added arm warmers and now at an excellent price
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: HOY Vulpine Mens Fortress Jersey and Arm Warmers
Size tested: 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?
Hoy Vulpine describes this as: "Weather resistant racing cycling jersey & arm warmers, for fast riding in bad weather.
"Extremely comfortable aero rain and wind resistant jersey, provided with complimentary arm warmers. Large perforated reflective patches, a long tail and high neck provide superb detailing. Spring & autumn high tempo riding made simpler."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hoy Vulpine lists these qualities:
Super soft, fleece lined softshell fabric keeps the wind and cold out.
Highly water resistant fabric outer shell beads rain off, keeping you dry and warm.
Large shoulder & rear reflective panels, perforated for breathability. Reflective logos.
[It's only the collar lining that you could call fleece lined]
Both the jersey and the arm warmers are well made, the zips are from YKK and the grippers are good.
At £140 this package was good value. Get it at (currently) £49 and it's exceptional.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple. These go into the machine on a cool wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's very good at keeping wind and water out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fabric's ability to keep water out and the fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's nothing grating about the performance.
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
At its RRP of £140 this jersey and arm warmers set scores an 8; at its current sale price of £49 I'd be tempted to give it a 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.