The Giant Elevate Short Sleeve Jersey is a great race-ready lightweight summer garment with plenty of appeal, especially for Giant fans. Sure, the obvious branding might put some off, but under the image is a great jersey.
To be honest, by the time you've read this far in this review it's likely that you've decided already whether you like the Elevate jersey or not. It's always going to be the case with such obviously branded kit – you're either willing to be a riding billboard or you're not.
Regardless of whether or not you ride a Giant bike, and whatever your opinion on one of the biggest brands in the business, you should know: this jersey forms one half of some very good summerweight, performance-bred kit.
The race fit is spot on, with plenty of stretchability in the 'TransTextura' fabric, which also incorporates a 30 SPF rating for those bright sunny days. It moulds to the body superbly; so well, in fact, that the size medium that technically probably was a touch small for me was still comfortable with no cutting under the arms.
The sleeves are made of the stretchiest Lycra, with a slim fit around the arms. Giant hasn't included grippers here, and I applaud the decision: the natural elasticity of the cut does the gripping work without unnecessary pressure points or friction against the skin. This can only be a good thing when the heat is on and the sun cream comes out to mix with salty sweat.
Meanwhile, the waist does receive a gripper band on the rear flank, but it's low profile, with the elasticated (almost old-school looking) hem fitting snugly around the waist. In the medium size, I found the rear of the jersey to be a bit shorter than I would usually expect, but I'm in no doubt that a large would solve this problem.
However, what a large probably won't solve is the surprisingly small pockets. Even in the medium size, the pockets are incredibly small, which is a problem if you have relatively big hands like mine. I'm sure this is fine for a crit racer who might only want to carry a gel or two around with them, but for a 100km-plus ride? You're left short.
They're quite flexible, but as soon as you start trying to store a spare tube, mini pump (which sticks out more than usual anyway because of the pocket's shallowness), the usual puncture kit, energy bars and gels plus – potentially – a packable gilet, and you've long since gone to find your saddle bag.
Maybe Giant assumes that riders will be using a saddle bag for tools and the like anyway, but decent-sized pockets aren't exactly difficult to fit onto a jersey (unless you're particularly pint-sized). There's also no zipped security pocket. Frankly, I'd happily sacrifice a few grams on top of the 150g total weight if Giant could rework the first, and add the second.
Also, as I alluded to at the beginning of this review, in my opinion that branding could also do with a little toning down. I like the colours and the underlying design, but if you don't ride a Giant or you're just not into the brand as a whole, I suspect you're going to be put off.
The quality can't be underestimated, though – the seams are strong yet comfortable and flexible, and the zip is easy to work on the move, and it washes easily.
Value isn't its strong point – at £100 it's pretty pricey, although it's still cheaper than some, such as the Le Col HC jersey. But if you wanted to save yourself £20-£30, recent reviews on road.cc show there are plenty out there to consider – many of them with more accommodating pockets...
Functionally, though, aside from my gripe regarding pocket capacity, there's nothing wrong with the excellent Giant Elevate jersey. The problem is, you probably decided whether you wanted to buy it when you saw the pictures. And that, for many, will be its main flaw.
Without doubt a very good race-cut jersey, but it has its limitations
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Elevate Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Giant says: "For all-round riders who demand the latest technologies, elevate is the smart choice. Designed and engineered with high-performance materials. and optimised for comfort in the racing position, elevate helps you get to the finish line fast."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Race fit
- TransTextura fabric
- SPF 30
- Full zip
- Three back pockets
- Silicone rear gripper
No flaws that I can see with the seams or joins.
It's virtually perfect in terms of weight and breathability.
The main fabric could be susceptible to fraying on cafe garden furniture with age, but other than that it seems hardy enough.
It's superb as a race garment, though some may find it a little short in the body.
I felt it sized slightly small, but this could easily be a legacy of the racier cut.
150g is good for a lightweight jersey, although not industry-leading.
It's very comfortable despite sizing a touch small.
It's a very good jersey, but so are others at £20-£30 less... Practicality is also limited with those pockets.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easily, actually. Returned as new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, no question.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable yet racy cut, good quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Small pockets with no security pocket, prominent Giant branding limits appeal.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, despite becoming an advertising hoarding for Giant.
Would you consider buying the product? If I rode a Giant, but I don't so I think it would look out of place.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they weren't fussed about the branding thing.
Use this box to explain your overall score
There's not much wrong with the performance of the Elevate jersey, but it's not cheap and those pockets are too small for longer rides, which brings the score down from a potential 9.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding