It might be British Summer Time but it's still chilly enough to have to wrap up warm on a bike ride, and Sportful's Giara Warm Long Sleeve Jersey is a great choice, providing excellent warmth along with great fit and style. It's a bit expensive, but can be found discounted online.
Pros: Warm, comfortable, good fit, looks great
Cons: Might need a wind jacket or vest on windy days
A long sleeve jersey is really useful this time of year. Worn over a short sleeve baselayer it's adequate for milder temperatures, then when the temp drops or the wind picks up you can just add a gilet or wind jacket to increase your protection from the elements.
This top comes from Sportful's relatively new line of gravel-inspired clothing, a range that combines all the material technology of its more race-focused offerings but goes for a more muted and understated style that arguably better suits the adventure and gravel cyclist.
The main thing to take away is that it looks really nice and isn't out of place on any road ride, off-road exploration, the commute or an audax. Plus, as Sportful is keen to remind us on its website, it won't look out of place in the coffee shop. That's important, that is. It's available in two colour options as well.
Providing a good level of insulation for a reasonably wide window of spring temperatures is a brushed thermal fabric. It's fleecy on the inside and soft against the skin. It's not a windproof fabric, which is both good and bad. On warmer rides, it provides good breathability and because a small amount of air can seep through the fabric it manages your temperature well. When it's a cold hard wind, though, you'll want to add a windproof jacket or gilet to stave off the chill.
Generally, it copes with and provides ample insulation for the majority of weather conditions at this time of year. Ride at a brisk tempo and it manages to provide a good level of breathability; throw in a few hill repeats and you won't find yourself drowning in your own sweat.
The shape and fit are excellent, as is always the case for me with Sportful clothing. It's opted for a slightly more relaxed cut with this Giara range, to go with the relaxed styling, but it still hugs the body in all the right places. There's ample arm length, the pockets don't sag when loaded and it's not at all baggy, aided by a silicone-lined waistband.
As mentioned, there are pockets, three main ones, around the back, plus a zipped pocket which I'm a fan of – always nice to have somewhere secure to keep the house keys, you don't want those bouncing out of your pocket and leaving you locked out.
At £85 it's not exactly cheap for a long-sleeve jersey – £15 more than the Lusso Terrain and £10 more than the Kalf Club Thermal, but you can get it discounted at various popular online retailers at the moment (see buying links below).
In conclusion, it's a great looking jersey (well I think so, anyway) with a slightly more relaxed fit than some race-focused tops, making it ideal for everyone but the wannabe racers, right at home on the Sunday morning group ride or off-road adventures.
Smart looking warm and comfortable long-sleeve jersey ideal for spring weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Giara Warm Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "The Giara warm top is casually styled with rich heathered fabric makes this not only a great winter jersey but also a stylish option that won't look out of place at the post-ride coffee stop.
"The Giara warm top is constructed with brushed fabrics that offer next to skin warmth and comfort, with silicone elastic grippers on the wristband to keep the elements away from your core."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Silicone gripper elastic on waistband
3 high-capacity rear pockets
Full front YKK® zipper
Not cheap at RRP, but worth shopping around as it's currently being discounted.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy to look after.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well in variable spring weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Looks great and works great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing to report here...
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 overall score
It's a very nice warm and breathable long-sleeve jersey that looks great, though it's a bit expensive at RRP, with no windproofing, and that knocks it down from an 8.
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.