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The Liv Race Day Thermal Long Sleeve Women's Jersey is a stylish, functional top that doesn't cost an absolute fortune. It will keep you warm enough without a baselayer on cool days, and its low bulk means it fits well under a jacket too.
Liv's Race Day collection is for 'performance-minded' roadies. It's based on Team Liv pro rider kit specifications, so you can experience the functionality and comfort that the professionals do. I tested the Race Day Jersey alongside the bib shorts (review to come). The 'full kit' effect is bold and attractive. Unlike the shorts, the jersey is easier to match with kit from another manufacturer.
The jersey doesn't boast any windproof properties, but don't let this put you off. It does an excellent job of protecting you against the cold without causing you to overheat. Even when working hard I never noticed moisture building up inside the jersey. Janine had a similar experience with the Flara Jersey; the Transtextura fabric just seems to be able to handle the moisture really well.
I rarely use a long sleeve jersey without a baselayer, but as the temperatures have climbed recently this jersey got several rides without one. It was outstanding. In fact it seems to work even better without an added layer between it and the skin. Admittedly I cooled down rather quickly if I stopped, the lack of a windproof shell perhaps not helping here.
The interior of the jersey is soft and fleecy so wearing it without a baselayer isn't an issue at all. This all just adds to the versatility of the jersey; it is certainly not confined to a small temperature range. It's not so versatile that it'll handle more than a bit of drizzle; it isn't marketed as water resistant so no surprises really.
Liv tells us that the 'race-fit' of the jersey equates to a 'second-skin effect to help reduce wind resistance, ideal for race conditions and the speed-conscious cyclist'. I personally found it to be a rather quirky fit. It is tight around the upper body, as you might expect from a race-fit, but it was generous around the midriff, almost loose.
It is longer than most winter jerseys in the body – something I actually value: plenty of coverage for the lower back and abdomen.
The sleeves were the most unusual element; they were very narrow in the upper arm and rather long – think Froome. While the excess length is of little consequence – it tucks over or into a glove – the lack of space width-wise will be an issue for some. Janine mentioned 'slim' arms on the Flara too. Pulling on the jersey over even a thin baselayer is an art – you really have to hold onto the sleeve of the baselayer. No baselayer, no issue.
The fit at the collar is good – no excessive height and not too tight. As the material is so low bulk, the jersey fits under a winter jacket so it's not confined to spring and autumn months.
Three rear pockets are roomy, well placed and easily accessible. There are also some token reflective tabs incorporated; while they are effective, there could be some more central ones.
The base of the zip is protected by a tight seam which does a great job of protecting shorts from the zip, but I did find that it got in the way of joining the zipper, making it just a little more fiddly than some out there.
The jersey uses sublimated graphics to create colours that remain vibrant for longer. The material itself is silky smooth to the touch and hasn't lost any of its sheen or brightness during the test period. It is rather delicate, so don't lean on anything rough.
Liv claims that the jersey has UPV 50 sun protection, which I can't claim to have tested, but it's nice to have.
Price-wise, the Race Day is significantly cheaper than many leading brands which have ranges modelled on pro kit. Santini and Ale both have plenty of experience of clothing the pros, and their ranges are generally more expensive than Liv's. The Santini Coral Jersey performs on a par with the Liv Race Day but will cost you £25 more. Alé has some striking designs, for example the Pulse Long Sleeve Jersey with the same RRP as Santini's Coral. If you step away from the leading brands then dhb has its Aeron Roubaix for exactly the same price as Liv. It seems that Liv really is setting the standard in female kit when it comes to quality that doesn't cost a fortune.
My one and only reservation about the Race Day Thermal Jersey is the cut; the arms and midriff just aren't for me. This aside, everything else about it is impressive: versatility, performance, comfort and a striking design, all for a price that won't have you sucking in air.
Comfort, performance and versatility at a price that won't break the bank, but the cut won't suit everyone
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Liv Race Day Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Liv claims that the Race Day Jersey is for 'racing or zipping around town. Warm yet wicking fabric is chosen for both high performance and durability, to keep you comfortable on your most intense rides. Freshly redesigned colours and graphics arrive in a fitted style with stretch for an ideal fit.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Liv Race Fit
*Full-length front zipper
*3 back pockets
*Flatlock seams, nonrestrictive collar
*ThermTextura™ fabric keeps you warm on chilly days
*High-visibility reflective accents
*UPF 50 sun protection
Cut needs refining, but otherwise it's as good as any I have tested.
Delicate exterior prone to snagging.
Excessive sleeve length. Too generous around the midriff for my liking – certainly not the race fit I am used to.
Medium was the right size for me – if I'd gone to a small to get a better fit at the waist I don't think I'd have got my arms into it. A large would have drowned me at the midriff.
Very comfortable, even if you opt to do away with a baselayer.
Definitely offers the performance and comfort of many others that are considerably more expensive.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Recommends a hand wash and 'drip dry flat'. Life's too short! I have had it on 30/synthetics and it's like new still. I am not advocating this, obviously...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How well it performed and felt without a baselayer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The narrow sleeves in the upper arm.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, poor fit aside it performs as well as others that are more expensive.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with a warning about the cut.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I'm bowled over by the performance for this price, but the cut needs refining.
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…