Hommage Au Velo's Women's Short Sleeve Jersey is a retro design with a boyish cut and no-frills fabric. It's spot on for leisurely rides, or for those who are not sold on 'high-performance' fabrics and skin-tight race-fit jerseys. The ethos behind the company is pretty appealing too.
The jersey is a simple design, both aesthetically and materially. Although the front and rear panels are not overly breathable, there is a mesh panel under the arms that delivers great ventilation where it matters. I came to favour the top for more leisurely rides when I knew I wouldn't be working up a sweat.
In slightly cooler temperatures than we've been having of late it's great when worn with a decent undervest that will handle moisture from sweat before it reaches the jersey (so it's perfect for a normal British summer!).
The main body is 100% polyester and, in the sweltering temperatures that we've had, is no match for the big brands and their all-singing, all-dancing high-tech material. It will be spot on in spring and autumn with a decent baselayer. The neckline is suited to this too – it has a bit of height and a tidy garage for the covered camlock YKK zip.
Unlike many female-specific tops that assume a tiny waist, this jersey is barely tapered at all – refreshing perhaps. The length is spot on. I must hasten to add that I tested a large; I am never normally a large but simply could not squeeze into the medium (it's a medium photographed, but I'm not the model). Size up. (There was significant difference between the two sizes.)
The sleeves are held in place by a very sticky strip of silicone – so sticky it sticks to itself! The underarm panel has a hem, while the rest of the sleeve is laser cut. I initially thought this was bound to fray but it still looks like new; a clean and tidy cut. The silicone strip really does stick to the skin rather than grip it, but it wasn't irritating in any way. Get it in the right place and it stays there.
The base line hem is a much more familiar combination of stretchy, dimpled tape at the front and a silicone strip mounted on elastic at the rear. It all works well.
Three rear pockets, with a top-line reflective trim, are slightly higher than many jerseys, but not so high that they are awkward to access. In fact it just makes them more generous than most pockets on female-specific jerseys.
A fourth, zip-pocket, sits over the left most pocket. It's lined with water-repellent material to protect any contents and has a headphone hole to the open pocket. It's best suited to smaller, MP3-type devices rather than the latest, larger smartphones. It's equally useful for valuables, of course.
The jersey is available in three different colour schemes: black and navy as well as this mint green. Although the design is pretty understated, it doesn't just blend in with all the other kits on the market – when I was out in a group, loads of people commented on how nice it was; it's unique.
With a price tag of £85 the Ghisallo isn't cheap – but bear in mind that 10 per cent of this is going to charity. There are comparable jerseys out there: the 2XU Sub Cycle Jersey is £80 and the Saikel Chevrons is £95; both have many similar features, but with designs that are very different.
If you are out to simply ride at a pace that doesn't work up a serious sweat and prefer an understated design and boyish cut, I'd say the Ghisallo wins hands down.
Appealing design with a boyish cut, best combined with a decent baselayer
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hommage au Velo Ghisallo Jersey women's
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Hommage au Velo says, "Our Ghisallo is a beautifully cut, lightweight, crisp summer jersey that will help you on undulating roads and up the steepest gradients whilst maintaining your elegance and aesthetics. This is a "Race Fit" designed to fit snugly with no flapping in the wind."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Laser-cut sleeves for an ultra-clean look on the arm
*Highly breathable mesh underarms for performance in the heat
*Elasticated gripper with carbon filaments on the front to prevent riding up
*Covered camlock YKK zip for great looks and longevity
*Soft zip garage at the top for extra comfort on the neck when fully zipped up
*Raglan sleeves give a clean & uninterrupted look over the shoulders
*Reflective trim on all rear pockets for additional visibility
*Three rear pockets + 1 zipped pocket with for credit card & keys
Fabric 1: 86% Micropolyester, 14% Elasthane
Fabric 2: 100% Polyester
Fabric 3: 100% polyester
Very tidy seams, even panelling and no loose ends.
The fabric doesn't perform as well as some on the market with regards to breathability and drying out.
No obvious signs of wear and tear.
This is sold as race fit, but I'd say it has quite a generous cut around the waist.
A medium was way too small for me. I needed a large. Size up.
There are cheaper jerseys out there, but remember that some of the cost is going to World Bike Relief.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, 30 degrees as advised.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's great for leisurely rides – looks good, feels comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Rear panel was not overly breathable and holds moisture. Lack of tapering at waist.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, for recovery, leisurely rides.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's not a highly technical garment – Hommage au Velo doesn't make any claims that it is – but it is a good jersey for more leisurely riding. It has minimal tapering, though its cut and simplistic design will certainly appeal to many, and it's perhaps a little over priced for what you are getting, but some of that goes to a very good cause.
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…