At road.cc 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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Offering high performance, a good fit and attention to detail, the Monton Lifestyle Bamboo Jersey would score big with a couple of well-placed tweaks. Recent years have seen a refreshing availability of bright, bold jerseys on the market, and Monton's range only adds to this trend. The China-based brand offers a vast array of colourful designs – although the jersey on test is a more understated number in its range.
In a four-collection range that caters from commuter to pro (literally, it sponsors UCI Continental team RTS-Monton), this women's Lifestyle Bamboo number sits at the more relaxed end of the scale. That's not to say it's baggy – it's still snug, but there's some wiggle room.
Despite Monton's guide claiming its sizes run small, I tested my usual size – an EU small, which corresponded to the height/weight scale perfectly – and it almost fitted like a dream. Unfortunately, two areas came up a bit short of the mark in the fit stakes. Namely, the sleeves and the overall length – both cropped higher than other brands in this size, and higher than feels comfortable.
When twinned with summer shorts, the result is a back-gap that even the elasticated gripper can't fix. Nice bit of ventilation, sure, but I prefer the streamlined look. If you don't class yourself in the 'long torso' category, though, or you always wear bibs, this might not bother you.
Pocket-size is ample, with three to fit a day's-worth of riding without any hint of a sag.
Monton Lifestyle Bamboo is 100 per cent polyester and stays dry even when you've got a serious sweat on – perfect for long, hot days – aided further by the generous oval meshing paired with 'prismatic fabric'.
A downside, though, of exceptionally ventilated white material is that it's pretty transparent, so your sports bra options are slim: wear white, or run the risk of it interfering with your colour scheme.
With only the underarms featuring a silky, non-mesh material, the Bamboo is a wicking sensation with a slightly scratchy penalty. While overall comfort is good, the material could be a little smoother, and seams a little softer.
Points for Monton on the zipper stakes. As someone who is terrible at no-handed cycling but gets hot in a race, I always look for an easy, unsticky zip. Here, the Bamboo delivers – performing fuss-free time and again without any resistance.
A spell of summer rain rendered the bright white jersey splattered with brown muck on-test, but it washed up as good as new at 30°C, and subsequently snuck into a 40°C wash or three without any shrinkage.
For £90, I'd expect this jersey to be up there with the best of them, and while some of the other material options in Monton's range might provide more overall comfort, I felt that the Bamboo didn't quite match up to price tag expectations. At its current 55% off RRP offer, it's a good deal, but at rrp it's up against the likes of Santini's Volo jersey at £80, and Alé's Graphics PRR Strada, for £10 more, both of which Ashia was impressed with.
A snug, sweat-wicking top with good looks, but length could be an issue
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Monton Women's Lifestyle Bamboo SS jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
The 2018 Lifestyle Bamboo caters for all types of riders, with a more relaxed feel than some.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Monton lists these features:
Low volume, breathable, moisture wicking 100% polyester oval mesh jersey front, shoulders, sleeves and rear pockets
Prismatic fabric on the back and side panels
Moisture-wicking silk fabric underarm with antibacterial properties
Full zipper with micro-fibre tape to avoid friction between skin and zipper
Reflective piping detail
2018 gripper waistband
Three rear pockets
Well-designed panels that fit well, attention to detail, but seams could be smoother.
Wonderful wicking, bone dry on hot summer climbs and a user-friendly zipper.
Cleans up a treat, no shrinking even on a hotter wash – looks set to last.
An otherwise true-to-size fit that's let down by a lack of length.
Aside from the length, provides a true fit against height and weight on the chart.
At 98g it's super-lightweight, and it feels it.
Back gap (when twinned with shorts) and seam-itch took away comfort points but overall it still felt good.
It doesn't shout the premium expected with a £90 jersey.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Needs very little attention; it washes well and dries fast.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great overall performance, staying dry with strong functional details (zip, pockets, gripper).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its superb sweat-wicking capabilities and understated yet zingy design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The rough seam inside, and that it's shorter than others in its class.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is comparable to plenty of jerseys that purport to be premium (Alé's R-EV1 is £20 more at £110, but markedly higher at its RRP than more entry-level options, which this feels more like. (Boardman's Women's Jersey is now £15...)
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes!
Would you consider buying the product? Not at RRP.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? At the sale price, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Points go to Monton for providing a wide, dazzling range of women's jerseys – while offering a more modest, yet stylish, option in the Bamboo. Unfortunately, the fit – otherwise bang-on – was let down by the length. Not all women are proportionally shorter in the body than men, and it's not uncommon that cycling manufacturers fail to acknowledge this. The sleeves were a little short too, but this is personal preference. However, the sweat-soaking capabilities, attention to detail in the panel-design and easygoing looks make this jersey a winner that would score big with a few well-placed tweaks.
About the tester
I usually ride: My Contessa Scott Foil My best bike is: My first, Cannondale CAAD 8
I've been riding for: 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: Road, bikepacking, triathlon, a little cyclo-cross, racing and a smidge of mountain biking