Shimano's top-end S-Phyre Windresistant Jersey represents performance perfection. The fit is tight but well proportioned, with well-thought-out features. Wind resistance is excellent, with the jersey also keeping out rain for a while. You do, however, have to pay a lot for it.
- Pros: Great fit with flat cuffs, lightweight for the warmth
- Cons: Very small sizing, rather expensive
The best testing ground for a winter jersey is, unfortunately, winter. With freezing winds quite common, a good windproof can be enough for most conditions. This long-sleeve jersey from Shimano is very effective at stopping that wind with the brushed internal fabric providing the perfect amount of warmth.
Shimano's most intriguing feature is the 37°C temperature regulation technologies. This is essentially an attempt to keep your body at a constant temperature. I'm not sure how Shimano has done it, but I've been comfortable when riding at a moderate pace in 2°C and strong winds. In those conditions, I've paired it with Shimano's S-Phyre baselayer (£69.99), S-Phyre gloves (£99.99) and a normal summer jersey.
Okay, I admit, this is a rather expensive outfit, but it's kit that works so well I'd be happy to both recommend it and buy it myself. The other thing is, it never really felt like I was wearing a ton of winter kit; not feeling bogged down by clothing yet being warm is really rather nice.
The jersey is designed to be tight. My medium is aero, even on my 5ft 7in, 62kg climber's frame (it's not me in the photos). The fabric undoubtedly helps here, with stretchy fabric conforming perfectly around my shoulders, chest and arms. The hem is really grippy, and cut to fit perfectly on the bike. I did find the waist to be slightly loose compared with the rest of the jersey, but I prefer that to it being overly tight. One note on sizing is that I'd usually buy a size small, so I'd suggest sizing up for a slightly looser fit.
The sleeves are nicely long with the flat cuffs easily covering my wrists. The cuffs are designed to be used with the S-Phyre gloves and the integration here is excellent. The stitching on the sleeves is the only place it contacts the skin, but I experienced no irritation.
The collar, too, has a good length to it and sits snugly around the neck to prevent cold air getting in. I also wore a snood for some rides and didn't find the collar restrictive at all.
Shimano also advertises this as being water repellent. I'd say that although the jersey sees off most of the rain, you'll need a proper rain jacket for full waterproofing.
The finishing touches are what you'd expect for such an investment. The zippers of both the full front and also rear valuables pocket are smooth and easy to use on the fly. The rubber toggles on the zippers aren't the tidiest solution, but they're very effective, especially when you're wearing gloves. That rear valuables pocket is large enough for an iPhone 6s in a protective case and with enough room for keys too.
The main pockets are roomy and deep, with the stretchy fabric holding larger items securely. There's a small pocket inside the left pocket too, which I wasn't a massive fan of. That's the side I normally keep some food in, so it tended to get in the way when I put my bar back in.
The rear also features a massive reflective strip for extra visibility.
Washing the jersey, I've been careful not to let it slip into the tumble drier as Shimano warns against this. It's come up smelling fresh every time, washed at 30°C.
In terms of value, it's hard to argue that you're getting a bargain here, but I would say you're getting what you pay for. The Sportful Fiandre Ultimate Windstopper Jacket is one of the closest comparable designs at £185, but you can find it discounted heavily online. The Sportful is also available in two high-vis colours, whereas the S-Phyre comes in black only. It is £40 cheaper than the Assos iJ.haBu, but we're certainly still at the premium end of the scale.
If you have the cash, though, or you find it discounted somewhere, I'd strongly recommend it.
A premium product with premium performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano S-Phyre Windresistant Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Shimano says: "The S-PHYRE Windresistant Jersey incorporates 37°C Temperature Regulation technologies with Anatomic 3D construction to deliver exceptional fit, aerodynamics, and cold weather versatility for off-season training comfort. MicroVents offer active ventilation without added weight or aerodynamic penalties.
"Super-flexible #5V zipper allows the jersey to conform to the rider even in cold weather. Water-repellent membrane and coated fabrics guard against changing weather conditions. Thermal air space created by the brushed fleece quilted interior surface offers comfortable warmth. Flat-finish cuffs are system engineered to work with S-PHYRE gloves, and a rear reflector panel for low light conditions rounds out the package."
The thermo regulation witchcraft really works. The fit is very close with no flapping to cause aero losses and it kept me very comfortable while doing my off-season training.
The water repellency is okay but I'd suggest a rain jacket for anything more than a shower or road spray.
What Shimano means by 'comfortable warmth' is 'enough warmth to allow your body heat to do the rest'. This isn't super-insulated, but I was comfortable at 2°C with only a baselayer and a jersey underneath. The flat finish cuffs work really well with the matching gloves.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
LOW LIGHT SAFETY
ANATOMIC 3D DESIGN
WET WEATHER READY
Main body: 53% Polyester, 37% Polyamide, 10% Elastane, Polyurethane breathable windproofing, Water repellency
Back: 51% Polyamide, 33% Polyester, 16% Elastane, Water repellency
The lack of stitching means there's been no issues with pulled threads. The stretch in the fabric allows a really close fit to be very comfortable.
It just works. The thermo regulation kept me comfortable on hard rides and the collar fits perfectly to keep air out.
It hasn't lost any wind or rain resistance and the fabric looks unblemished despite having been used with a backpack.
The stretch in the shoulders and chest mean that this is an aero fit made for fast riding. The wrist is a really well fitted area with zero space for nasty cold air to get in.
It's made for racing, so it's tight. I found this to be excellently proportioned but I'd recommend going up a size if you like a looser fit.
About what I'd expect for this type of fabric. The weight saved over a big jacket and multiple layers is the best thing though.
The temperature regulation kept me comfortable all day. I never got clammy and the lack of stitching combined with the fabric's stretch makes this super-comfy.
You get what you pay for. But there are cheaper options that also do a very good job.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I washed it on 30 or 40°C and it came out fresh every time. I've avoided tumble drying to preserve the wind and water resistance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfect temperature regulation, wind resistance and fit. Integrates very well with other Shimano S-Phyre products.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The temperature regulation is sublime and something that I didn't notice until I got home from a three-hour tempo ride to find I wasn't soaked in sweat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is into Assos territory. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it'll put a lot of people off when the Sportful is available for £140.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, it's nice to feel sleek when riding in 2°C.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. With a thin rain shell, I was covered for every winter ride.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If this was £40 cheaper, I'd be tempted to give it 5 stars. There is absolutely nothing to complain about regarding the fit or on-bike performance. If you've got the cash, or this comes down in price, I'd strongly recommend it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.