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In action, the Liv Flara Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey feels every bit as cosy as Liv claims. The ThermTextura tech delivers warmth and impressive moisture wicking. It's a snugger than expected fit, yet the cut is generous where it counts – lower back, neck and cuffs. The pockets are a bit small and fiddly, but for performance-meets-versatility that'll help you transition through the seasons, it's a great bit of kit at a decent price.
'Warmth that moves you' is the strapline for Liv's Flara range, a series of chilly weather essentials designed to keep you riding through cooler temperatures. The kit can be layered and worn together to produce versatility for a range of conditions. In this Flara Jersey, Liv's ThermTextura tech – a fleecy inner material that's stretchy, wicking and breathable – helps to keep the heat in and the elements out.
I was impressed to find the jersey stayed dry on the inside after a sweaty and hilly ride when tested without a baselayer. But something I found particularly notable was the inner fabric's ability not only to let moisture out, but not let it in either. While this jersey is not wet weather protective (nor does it claim to be), when it does get a little wet on the outside, the inner remains remarkably dry. Rapha's Souplesse jersey, by comparison, almost immediately felt damp on the inside when it got wet. But these jerseys aren't designed for rain, so in the case of the Flara it's more an added benefit.
The Flara feels very comfortable to ride in, and more protective than is often the case as it's nice and long. I tested it on dry, cold and sometimes windy days, and while it doesn't claim to have any wind protection it did keep my core just about warm enough down to an air temperature of 10°C/feels-like temp of 4°C worn alone, and plenty warm enough with a baselayer. The Flara is Liv's mid-thermal jersey, so it's made to be worn in finer weather than its Flara thermal jacket, which can be added when temperatures plummet to freezing – or when rain joins the party.
This women's jersey is a 'club fit' designed for performance-meets-comfort: not too loose nor too tight. I tested a medium (four sizes are available, S-XL), and it felt super-snug all over (even snugger on Tass in the photos). By comparison, it's tighter than Rapha's Souplesse in medium – particularly evident around the arms. This is closer than I'd expect for a club fit, so it may be worth sizing up unless you want a tight fit.
The length of the Flara jersey stands out – it's a lot longer in the body than the Rapha Souplesse or Santini's Coral, winning extra snug points when the wind sets in. At the base of the jersey, the elastic gripper is generously wide to keep the jersey in place; there was no evidence of the back creeping away from my hips even with the pockets stuffed full.
The sleeves are long enough to pull over a good portion of my hands, securing gloves easily with the wide elasticated cuffs to form a secure windproof seal. Similarly, the collar fastens high and sits flush against skin. The Flara fits like a jersey that practises what it preaches: stay warm and ride through the seasons.
While it's common to find three main pockets on a jersey, Flara settles for just two with a third, smaller pouch that's zippered at an angle – which looks interesting but is a bit of a puzzle to detect and unzip while wearing. An envelope-like flap of material sits atop the two main pockets, which in theory is a security feature, but in practice is just extra material to identify when fiddling around with the contents mid-ride.
The pockets aren't hugely generous in overall volume, either. While they're deep enough to sink a large phone, they taper toward the outer. On the plus side, I was still able to cram in enough for the ride and they stayed sag-free even when bursting full.
The front zipper is functional and without fault. While it's not uncommon to find an easy zip/unzip motion on a jersey, I am always pleased by this feature as no-handed riding is not my forte.
Cooler months mean lower light and to answer this Liv has added reflective material across forearms, upper back and rear pockets that doubles up as the design detailing on an otherwise understated, classic jersey.
At £79.99, the price is in line with our recently tested Santini Coral Thermal Jersey, but the Liv offers greater coverage across the lower back. It's almost half the price of Rapha's Souplesse Thermal Jersey with which it compares very well on performance, making it a good value jersey.
When it comes to Flara care there could have been a snag, so to speak. I was surprised to find that this jersey asks for hand wash and drip dry only – hardly practical for an item that's going to get sweaty on a regular basis... scrubbing a chain is quite enough after a ride!
After a couple of hand washes, I decided to pop it into a 30°C synthetics machine wash – without incident. While I couldn't recommend this method, measuring the result showed no evidence of shrinkage, damage to the reflective motifs or colour fade.
A cosy jersey that's versatile for use from autumn to spring
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Liv Flara Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
It's a thermal jersey that's designed to keep you riding when the weather gets cold.
Liv says, "Don't let Autumn or Winter stop you riding with the Liv Flara thermal jersey. Warm, yet highly breathable, this thermal jersey is a staple part of any riders wardrobe when it gets cold."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Liv lists these features:
Fit: Club fit
Fastening: Full zip
Storage: Three rear pockets (two main, one small zipper pocket)
Features: Reflective accents
Great attention to areas where the wind can get you: collar, base and cuffs. Panelling gives the jersey a snug feel.
Performed better than expected on wicking and warmth thanks to the inner fleece material, polyester construction and focus on areas that need more protection. No evidence of sweat, and even a light dusting of water doesn't sink through (though it's not designed to get wet).
Washed without shrinkage or colour fade and looks like new. It's hand wash only but I did put it in 30°C washes without issue. (See below.)
The length of the body, neck and sleeves along with the stretchy feel and panelling gave this jersey a particularly warming and secure feel on the bike.
It is on the tight side for a club fit, so it might feel tighter than you'd expect; you might want to size up. But every aspect of the jersey feels in proportion.
Mid weight, so it's versatile for layering.
Incredibly cosy in the cold, especially across the lower back which is long and stays in place securely.
It's £10 less than the Santini Coral Thermal, and nearly half the price of the Rapha Souplesse, so value is pretty good.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
When you spend £80 on a piece of kit you don't really want to go against the washing rules – but hand washing isn't very practical for bike kit. It machine washed without issue on test, but road.cc can't officially recommend this method.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fantastic performance. Warm, dry and versatile – has kept me riding in the cold, just as Liv intended.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cut that delivered cosiness. Probably the most protected I've felt in a long-sleeved jersey.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pockets. For a jersey designed to be layered, there needs to be more space for additional kit alongside the usual items for when the weather turns.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is in line with our recently tested Santini Coral Thermal Jersey, but the Liv offers greater coverage across the lower back. It is almost half the price of Rapha's Souplesse Thermal Jersey with which it compares very well on performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The quality and comfort is excellent and the price is not excessively high. I'd like to give this jersey 9/10 but it loses some points on the fit and pockets so overall, it's 'very good'.
About the tester
I usually ride: My Scott Foil My best bike is: Oldie but the goldie, CAAD 8
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, general fitness riding, triathlon, audax