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2XU's Women's Sub Cycle Jersey is bright, breathable and very comfy – it's perfect for summer riding. If you are not a fan of race-fit kit it might well be for you, provided the single colour choice and rather high price tag don't turn you off.
The jersey is designed for use in warm weather, and the recent stint of sunshine we've been having in the UK was great for testing, plus I also took it overseas.
2XU really brags about the breathability of the top, the rear mesh panel being made of 2XU's Aero Mesh X fabric, which is supposed to help transfer moisture away from the skin. I have to say it's really good – even when it got to the mid-20s, despite me sweating, this panel never felt damp.
The remaining panels are made of High Fil Sub (high filament) fabric, which has similar properties with a slightly thicker feel and less transparency.
The collar design seems slightly at odds, though: doubled over material and one level all round, it's almost promoting a build-up of the heat and moisture that the jersey is designed to alleviate. I found myself riding with the zip open much of the time.
The jersey also lacks underarm ventilation. The Aero Mesh X doesn't reach round under the pits, instead the thicker High Fil Sub material is used here. I really noticed this when doing very long rides, with dampness building up over time.
I tested a medium and I wouldn't have wanted any other size (it's not me in the pics). It's not a race-fit cut but it is far from baggy. I noticed that there was much more length to the jersey than with many others I've tested; sometimes a race-fit is too short in the body, so this was a refreshing change. It's spot on for someone with a longer torso, or those who like to have decent protection over their lower back.
The construction is top quality too, and the fabrics are stretchy – movement never feels restricted.
While the sleeves incorporate a wide, dimpled silicone band to help hold them in place, the base hem is just an elasticated band. This seems a bit of an oversight, and was an issue when I put something heavy in a side pocket and didn't balance the weight evenly – the jersey swings excessively to one side.
The three rear pockets are generous – deeper than many summer jerseys thanks to the extra length in the main torso panels. The inclusion of some reflective trim here is great too, something often overlooked on summer kit.
The design itself, bright and bold, makes a refreshing change from having black as a base colour, although there is only one colour combination. The design is sure to appeal to many, though.
I did have an issue with the washing instructions: cold wash only. I followed these initially but the top didn't really smell fresh after a wash, and the white inside collar wasn't coming up clean. I upped it to 30 degrees and this sorted both issues. Have I shortened the life of the jersey? Possibly, but who wants to ride round in a musty, grubby jersey?
And so to value. With an RRP of £80 this is not a cheap option. That said, it's in line with the big manufacturers, for example Santini's Volo Short Sleeve Jersey at £80 or Sportful's Women's Diva Jersey at £75. However, anyone looking to economise might want to consider the Boardman Women's Jersey that was reviewed last year by Ashia; it looks a very close match with regards to design, and is only £30.
Well made and sure to appeal to those who like length in a jersey, but slightly overpriced given it has some niggles
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 2XU Women's Sub Cycle Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
2XU says, "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."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
2XU list three primary features of the jersey on its site:
1. Contoured panelling,
2. Three rear pockets for easily accessible storage,
3. Superior breathability and moisture control to keep athletes cool, dry and comfortable.
Main Fabric - HIGH FIL SUB - High filament technology performance mesh for maximum moisture management and breathability. Cross channelled yarns wick vapour from the inner to outer layers to keep the wearer dry and comfortable.
Mesh Panels - AERO MESH X - Offering superior breathability and moisture control to keep athletes cool, dry and comfortable. With impressive stretch, this fabric offers greater comfort and flexibility.
Excellent rear panel with regards to breathability but lacking in underarm ventilation.
Elastic hem doesn't seem as robust as some, though it's stood up to a decent test period so far.
It won't be for everyone – it's a long jersey. It's not a skin-tight, skimpy race-fit jersey.
Medium was good for me, what I would expect.
Main panel materials are soft and stretchy – very comfy.
Eighty quid isn't cheap for a jersey, and given the few flaws mentioned in the review I think it's a bit overpriced for what you're getting.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It says 'cold wash' but that doesn't cut it, so I resorted to 30 degrees and this hasn't adversely affected the jersey.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is great for warm weather riding when the pace is steady and you are just enjoying the sunshine. I wouldn't say it's ideal for high performance use because of the lack of underarm ventilation and more casual cut.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like that 2XU has produced a jersey that will appeal to many leisure cyclists who are not fans of race-fit kit, who prefer something with a little more length. I love the deeper pockets and lower back coverage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of underarm ventilation, and the design – too many stripes for me – but that's a subjective thing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's an excellent quality jersey that is comfy and will appeal to many cyclists, but the lack of underarm ventilation and stability around the hem seem like rather careless oversights, and together with the high price knock the score down, though I still think it deserves a good 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…