If you want a jersey with the performance of a top-end race garment without a too over-the-top price tag, the new Sportful Gruppetto Pro Ltd is a really good pick. A great fit and fabric that keeps you dry on hot days mark it out as a top performer. It also comes in several, admittedly quite bold, colour choices.
The jersey sits below the popular BodyFit Pro range but still benefits from the Italian company's close ties with professional race teams over the years. The fit is more relaxed, though, with a more generous shape around the waist and shoulders. Not that I found it baggy or hanging off me, it's just not as tight or restrictive as a race fit, and for longer social rides it was a perfect choice.
It's a very comfortable jersey in all the key areas, with smooth seamless cuffs and an elasticated waistband. The slightly looser fit makes it a good option for cyclists who want the performance without the overly tight aero fit of some race jerseys.
It's made using the company's own DryPro fabric which provides a nice degree of stretch, benefiting the good fit. It's also extremely adept at dealing with sweat. Fling yourself up a long or steep climb and produce loads of sweat, and the jersey can cope with it all, pulling the excess moisture away to keep you dry.
There's additional mesh material in the side panels to provide extra ventilation when the temperature ramps up. I had a few very hot days in which to test the jersey and it coped admirably, perhaps not to the same degree as some of the very expensive, very lightweight jerseys I've tested, but the difference is small, certainly less so than the sometimes huge price difference would suggest.
There must be hundreds of sleeve designs, some great, many bad. I like Sportful's approach: a seamless lie-flat design, it works brilliantly. The sleeves are comfortable around the arms, aren't too tight and don't irritate. And they are a nice length as well.
The rear of the jersey is dropped down and there's silicone gripper tape around the waistband to keep it in place. One feature I always appreciate is a small zipped pocket alongside the regular three at the rear. Another good detail is the slim flap of material that covers the full-length YKK zipper, a nice visual touch.
The Gruppetto Pro Ltd is by no means cheap, but it's a lot more affordable than many jerseys that offer only marginal extra benefit. If it's still more than you'd consider paying, check out the guide below – prices start at £4.99…
But if you're willing to pay out for the Gruppetto Pro Ltd, its performance in hot weather and on demanding rides is impressive, as is the fit – which should really work for many cyclists.
A comfortable and breathable jersey for long rides and hard rides that does plenty to justify its price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Gruppetto Pro Ltd jersey
Size tested: Small
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?
Sportful says: "Professional level construction with all the features you need for all day two-wheeled adventures. The Sportful Gruppetto Pro Ltd Short Sleeve Jersey uses an anatomic fit, DryPro microfibre fabric, a full-length YKK® zipper and Aero Stretch Mesh inserts on the sides for increased breathability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sportful lists these features:
Anatomic fit with medium cut for all-day comfort
DryPro microfiber fabric for optimum wicking
Lie-flat silicone gripper elastic on waistband
Full-length YKK® zipper
Front flap over zipper for clean finish
Aero Stretch Mesh inserts on side for increased breathability
Rear reflective accents
Hidden rear zip pocket
Top quality, very good for the price.
Comfortable, with a good fit in all key areas.
It's a bit more relaxed than an out-and-out race jersey, which is no bad thing when you're not actually racing.
The sleeve design ramps up the comfort factor, and the stretchiness of the fabric prevents any restriction.
It's not cheap, but you can pay way more for little extra performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A doddle. Bung in the washing machine with your normal clothes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provides good comfort on longer rides and keeps you cool and dry in the heat.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The sleeve design, great fit, zipped pocket and the flap concealing the zip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The design is rather bold...
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
A high-performance jersey with a relaxed fit at an okay price, what's not to like?
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.