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2XU Sub Cycle Jersey



Bright, good-looking and (mostly) comfy summer jersey that could do with some refining

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The 2XU Sub Cycle Jersey – and its matching bib shorts – are part of a small cycling range from an Australian company better known for its compression, running and triathlon gear. Unfortunately, there's a slight 'first generation' feel to the Sub Cycle that leaves it with some niggling issues.

  • Pros: Cools and wicks well, strong style, easy-to-use zip
  • Cons: Slightly strange fit, gets smelly quickly, no hem gripper

First, the positives. The Black/Green Shapemania colour scheme is bold and stylish, while bright colours on the back and sleeves aid safety. The elastic topper on the three rear pockets is a reflective silver, but there's enough black elsewhere to stop it all getting too garish. Asymmetric cuff colours are a nice touch. On the downside, if the golf-sock-as-cycling-jersey look doesn't appeal, there are no other colours available.

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The rear panel is 'Aero Mesh X' fabric that vents well and dries rapidly, while the front, sleeves and shoulders are 2XU's thicker, though still perforated, 'High Fil Sub' for a little more wind protection. All seams are overlocked bar the sleeve cuffs and hem, which are flatlocked. Nothing itches or chafes, whether the jersey's wet or dry. Silicone grippers inside the stretchy elastic cuffs mean the sleeves stay firmly put.


Strangely, there's no silicone inside the elasticated rear hem, leaving it to ride up relatively easily. It's quite likely to do that, as the fit is aero-efficient tight (the model in these pictures would need a smaller size).


I fall bang in the middle of the recommended chest size for a medium, and the fit is tight but a little strange. The elasticated cuffs are on the verge of being too narrow, while the neck is too loose to sit against my skin. And while it's tight enough across the chest to give a small but noticeable compression feel during hard-breathing efforts, the zip refused to lie flat against my front, preferring instead to undulate all the way down. This creates patches of noticeably cooler air, looks messy, and offers dubious aerodynamics.


With no flap behind it, the zip leaves red teeth marks wherever it does press against your skin, though the grippy little puller extension makes it very easy to adjust while riding. And while we're looking closely, some of the stitching is a little untidy... but don't get too close, as this fabric is the kind that develops smelly pits after a single ride.


Wear it again without washing and the odour actually lessens once the jersey gets warm and moist (honest, guv), but ideally it needs washing every time. The Sub Cycle cleans up well, with no ill-effects from its time in the machine.

2XU says nothing about UV protection, while the rear mesh is very open, so assume it gives none.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best summer cycling jerseys

That's quite a list of negatives, but bear in mind that each is fairly minor and nothing is a show-stopper. None of this was enough to ever make me wish I was wearing something else, as it's cool, mostly perfectly comfy and from a foot away looks great. However, it's enough to stop it becoming a go-to item. With four sizes from XS to L, sizing up won't help, as while it would relax the arm and chest fit, it would only make the large neck and snaky zip worse. If you have skinny arms, a barrel chest and a big neck, however, you may be OK.

While a subtly tweaked Sub Cycle Jersey could be a real winner, competition is fierce. The dhb Aeron Speed jersey may not look as sexy, but it's a great fit, highly breathable and only £55. At the 2XU's price, £80 gets you the Castelli Prologo V jersey, a well-evolved (fifth generation) short sleeve top that's cool, well made, and cut for a slim yet unrestrictive fit. The high-scoring, tight-fitting Santini Tono SS Jersey is also worth a close look at £79.


Bright, good-looking and (mostly) comfy summer jersey that could do with some refining

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Make and model: 2XU Sub Cycle Jersey

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

2XU says the Sub Cycle Jersey introduces "the seasonal offering of 2XU's Sub Cycle Jersey in vibrant colours and prints."

Though the company does a large selection of compression, tri and running gear, this is the only short-sleeved cycling jersey currently in its range.

The Sub Cycle is a slim-fitting, mesh-backed top for hot days, with bright colours and reflective trim for good visibility.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

2XU says this: "The 2XU Sub Cycle Jersey is engineered with a HIGH FIL SUB fabric for ultimate moisture management and rear AERO MESH X panelling for unmatched breathability."

Rate the product for quality of construction:

A mesh rear panel, flatlocked seams and strong grippers keep this jersey comfy in high temperatures. It's generally very good, but look closely and some of the print is a little fuzzy-edged, and not all the stitching is neat.

Rate the product for performance:

Slim fit keeps it aero, though a front panel that won't sit flat doesn't help.

Rate the product for durability:

It's not exceptionally light, but the upside is a solid-feeling construction. Some stitching is a little untidy, but nothing came loose during the test period.

Rate the product for fit:

Sizing is tight-ish and the main body is a good, slim fit, but details niggle. The neck is wide, the arm grippers are narrow and the zip refuses to lie flat against your chest.

Rate the product for sizing:

A decent slim fit for the stated chest size, if a little restrictive during hard breathing. A wide neck and a flappy front mean sizing up isn't advisable.

Rate the product for weight:

On par with many and lighter than some.

Rate the product for comfort:

Generally good, but sleeve cuffs are a little tight and the zip can irritate the skin.

Rate the product for value:

It's comfy, boldly good-looking and performs well on the bike, but the slightly odd shaping and occasional messy detail let it down, especially for £80.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washes up well, which is good as the fabric is the kind that can smell after a single ride. It's no worse than many others, and as it hums less when warm and damp than once it's dried out on the bathroom floor, it's not too antisocial.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Cools and wicks well, while the easy-grab zip makes temperature adjustments simple.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Strong looks and good, if not excessive cooling for warm spring days.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The slightly odd fit and unprotected zip.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.

Use this box to explain your overall score

With small tweaks to the fit, some colour options, and perhaps a small price drop to reflect the quality, this would be an easy 7. It'll be interesting to see how the range evolves.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking

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