The PBK Montagna cycling jersey is a high quality short sleeve staple with a lovely cut, a lot of features, and attention to detail that was unheard of at this price point only a few years back.
Part of the core range, it's a racing cut designed to hug your contours for a flattering and practical cut. PBK describes it as being the fusion of classic design and innovative fabrics, an everyman jersey capable of taking club runs, races, audax and gran fondos in its stride.
In a time when many garments are made in the Far East, this one is designed and produced in Italy. Jerseys have also become slightly thinner in recent years, though judging by regular bridleway blasts, this weave seems very rugged. It's resisted thorny foliage with no hint of fraying, bobbling or similar damage thus far.
It's tempting to scoff when you learn this is our old friend polyester, but as with most materials, polyesters aren't created equal. In this instance it's a micromesh 'ball' blend, chosen, we're told, for its tactile, temperature-regulating, fast-wicking properties.
The Montagna is laden with features, many of which you can't see. For starters, the fabric is impregnated with a permanent anti-bacterial, which keeps things socially acceptable on longer rides. The factor 50 UV protection is another welcome and increasingly popular touch – though don't forget to add a stout factor on exposed skin.
Flat seams and raglan sleeves continue the unrestricted feel. PBK has also kept scratchy labels – a pet hate of mine – to a minimum. A full-length hidden zip gives a clean look while crucially allowing easy climate control – and letting some of us show off our medallions like an 80s pro.
On the zipper tag front... while it isn't too fiddly on the fly when wearing mitts, a larger tag would be welcomed, especially since I often wear summer jerseys during early spring and late autumn when the temperature can fluctuate (with a long-sleeve baselayer): full-finger gloves and slimline tags can be a frustrating combo when you're clipping along at a decent pace.
A silicone strip runs around the hem and does a decent job of preventing it from riding up, even when hunkering low in the drops or on tri-bars for long periods.
Round the back, we have the usual terrace of pockets. In common with several other contemporary jerseys I've tested recently, these are relatively shallow but are blessed with a reasonable amount of give. Throughout the test period, I've carted a 5-inch smartphone, super zoom travel compact camera, and a big bunch of keys on and off road at a fair lick without anything being ejected. Admittedly, it took a few rides before I truly relaxed. A zippered 'valuables' compartment built into the right pocket is a useful parking spot for cards, notes and so on, or even spent energy bar wrappers.
I'm much broader across the shoulders and shorter in the torso than my measurements and weight would imply. Until recently, large had been my default, but increasingly, medium is the best option. The Montagna in a large felt almost tailor-made. The cut doesn't leave much to the imagination yet still manages to flatter those regions we're slightly self-conscious about.
As a package, the Montagna looks and performs in excellent proportion. The fibres don't feel overly synthetic, and compared with similar jerseys it seems to retain a more ambient temperature, wicking moisture before that familiar clamminess has chance to strike.
Though not the sweatiest or smelliest of riders (I don't think!), I've deliberately worn mine for several hours a day for a whole week in between washes to see if I could tax the anti-bacterial. As you – and more local neighbours – would hope, it passed with flying colours. It also seems unaffected by regular 30-degree machine washes – and an accidental tumble drying!
To sum up, it's a decent value top that does a decent job. A few tweaks here and there – bigger pockets, for one – would bump up the score.
Attractive, feature-laden summer jersey at a decent price but I'd appreciate slightly deeper pockets and a bigger zip-pull
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: PBK Montagna Jersey
Size tested: Large
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?
PBK says: "The three-tone 'Montagna' cycling jersey is a blend of a classic cycling three-tone design and innovative modern fabric so that you look good and feel good no matter what your ride throws at you.
"The soft textured, breathable Italian 'Ball' fabric provides temperature regulation to ensure a constant body temperature throughout your ride. Micro-mesh construction allows breathability and quickly wicks sweat to keep you dry.
"Cut for a comfortable and anatomical fit on the bike, the jersey has a permanent anti-bacterial treatment, while the use of one hundred percent natural inks prevents irritation. The 'Montagna' jersey is constructed with minimal labels and precise hand stitching throughout to prevent chafing.
"Available in multiple colourways to offer you a unique wardrobe, the jersey is great for club runs, road races, Audaxes and Gran Fondos. These jerseys do it all and do it well."
I'd say it's a generally very competent do-it-all road jersey at a sensible price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PBK lists these features:
* 100% made in Italy (printed, cut, stitched)
* Slim fit
* Fast wicking, breathable, soft Italian 'Ball' fabric with 4 way stretch for freedom of movement
* 3 rear pockets with reinforced stitching
* Rear zip pocket for valuables
* SPF 50 UV protection
* Full length YKK non-slip zipper
* Silicone hem gripper to prevent jersey riding up
* Anatomically cut for 'on the bike' comfort
Material: * 100% Polyester
Range: * Core
Size / Fit: * Slim Fit
Brand: * PBK
Colour: * Red
Snug but generally flattering.
About right for me.
Lightweight and rugged – much like other contemporary jerseys occupying this price point.
Very comfortable over longer distances and warmer days. No tell-tale banding come ride's end, it wicks moisture pretty efficiently and the fabric doesn't feel particularly synthetic.
Good but not exceptional when set against competition of similar specification.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward. Pop in the machine at 30 degrees and it emerges looking and smelling spotless. Some oil-based dirt may want some gentle agitation beforehand, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performs very well in all contexts. The fabric wicks and breathes efficiently, and the full-length zipper permits further, rider-tuneable airflow. Integral antibacterial and factor 50 SPF are similarly nice but increasingly common touches. Being picky, the pockets could have been slightly deeper and the zipper tag a bit larger.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Design, and the fact that it does the job and for a reasonable price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A larger zipper tag and deeper pockets would be nice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, worth a closer look.
Use this box to explain your score
Good benchmark jersey with the right sort of features at the right price. Would have scraped an 8 if the zipper and pockets were slightly better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)