Ribble's Nuovo jersey is a good choice for late winter and spring riding. It's not quite thick or windproof enough to be a deep-winter option, but the cut and styling are good and it's an easy top to get on with. It's good on its own in milder weather, or with a baselayer when it's colder.
This is a pretty comfy jersey, made from a Roubaix-style stretch fabric with a soft-piled interior. It's plenty comfy enough that you can wear it without a baselayer. The cut is good – sporty without being racy – and the sizing sensible: a large fits me (1.89m, 95kg – Ash in the pics is a bit smaller than me) with room for a baselayer underneath.
There's a good quality YKK zip, and the collar has a raised section around the rear to keep out draughts.
You get three pockets and zip compartment at the back, elasticated arm cuffs and a silicone gripper at the bottom stop the arms and tail from riding up, and reflective tabs on the shoulders and the rear. You can also have the jersey in fluo yellow if you want to stand out a bit more; the grey is a little bit nondescript for my liking but you may disagree.
Out on the bike the jersey feels good: it doesn't bunch up when you're riding, there's enough length in the arms (and the cuffs are tight enough) to keep you fully covered, and the fabric is breathable enough to stop you from getting clammy when you're working hard. In the rain you can't expect a jersey made from a fairly standard material to keep you dry for too long, but this Ribble top will shrug off the odd shower, and dries pretty quickly.
One thing it isn't, which Ribble says it is, is windproof. I would not class this as a windproof top: the industry standard suck test – trying to suck air through the fabric with your mouth – suggested that there's a bit of resistance but it's pretty easy for the wind to penetrate. This was something borne out on the road: on a cold (around freezing) road ride at pace, the Nuovo wasn't keeping enough wind out to keep me warm, even when working hard. If the mercury drops, you'll need at least a windproof gilet over the top to stay cosy.
That doesn't make it a bad top: it's comfortable and good as part of a layering system. You shouldn't rely on it as your sole protection against the wind on a cold ride, though.
Overall, it's a useful top, and the breathability of the fabric and the comfort next to the skin mean that it'll still be coming out of the drawer well into the spring. We haven't had temperatures in the low teens round here of late, but I'd confidently predict this jersey on its own would be a good option for the weeks before you get your guns out.
At £75 it's not expensive, but it's not the cheapest either; dhb's similar Aeron Roubaix jersey is £10 less, and B'Twin's excellent 700 Warm Long Sleeve Jersey covers about the same range of temperatures and is only £30. Stacked against those (especially the B'Twin), it starts to look a bit pricey given the performance.
Decent three-season top that's comfy and well cut, but not quite warm or windproof enough for winter rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ribble Nuovo Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Ribble says, "The new AW17 Nuovo collection brings all the best features of a winter cycling jersey into one great product. The thermal yet breathable fabric is unrestrictive and we've cut the jersey in a sporting fit that's suitable for riding or racing, road or cross!
"Crafted from Italian fabrics. Designed in England. #defywinter"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thermal , breathable 4Way stretch fabric
Quick dry ventilation
Elasticated seamless breathable arm cuffs
Three reinforced rear pockets
Reflective rear zipped valuables pocket
Multi filament Polyester 63% Polyester 37%
Machine wash at 30C
Wash with colours
Do not tumble dry
Good in milder winter weather but not one for deep winter as an outer layer.
Washes well, fabric can snag but it's not too bad.
Good cut, covers the right areas without bunching.
Easy to get on with.
Not bad value, doesn't stand out either; similar options can be had for quite a bit less.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Wash at 30°C, comes out looking good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
So long as you're not depending on it to be windproof, pretty well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's comfy and will be versatile though autumn and spring.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Ribble say it's windproof, and it isn't.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, except when I got cold that time.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe as a spring/autumn layer.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a decent jersey, though it's not quite what Ribble says it is.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.