In terms of performance and comfort, Lusso's R1 Style Breathe Women's Jersey will be hard to beat. The zebra print might not be for everyone – other designs are available – but the jersey is certainly what Lusso claims it to be: breathable with a pro fit. To top it off, it's made in Manchester.
Never having been an animal print fan, I wasn't sold on the design but there are plenty of alternatives. Also, teamed with the matching shorts I have been testing (full review to come), it did grow on me. It's certainly a striking top and might be more palatable for some than brighter designs such as Cycology's Spin Sista.
The fit is best described as something between Bicycle Line's skin-tight, clingy Monza and Funkier's generous Prima Pro. In fact, there is much about it that sits between these two. It's more substantial than the Monza but nowhere near as weighty as the Prima Pro (it's 10g more than the Monza but almost 60g lighter than the Prima Pro).
Having tested all three jerseys, I would say that Lusso's is the best fitting. It's snug without being skinsuit-tight, and doesn't cling at any single point. I found its proportions spot on in terms of length and tapering. It basically ticks all the boxes for anyone looking for a jersey that offers pro performance without the often associated super-tight, skinsuit fit.
Equally, it's a far cry from a loose-fitting, touring style top. Naturally, all of this is down to your own body shape, and it's worth noting that it's not me in the photos.
I rarely zip up a jersey fully, and I have to say that this was the only flaw in the R1's fit – I found it a little too tight around the neck when fully closed. Thankfully there is a garage at the top so no zip irritation but, for me, it was too tight to keep zipped up. Certainly something worth checking if you like to zip up.
Unlike Shaun and Mike's experiences with the men's versions of both the R1 jersey and the RS19 bib shorts, I'd say Lusso has the sizing spot on with the female range. Stay true to size if in doubt.
The front baseline hem and lazer-cut sleeve ends are lined with a wide panel of grippy, silicone dimples. There is certainly no excessive compression around the arms, the sleeves simply hold their position. The rear baseline hem has a decent silicone strip, too, and loading the easily accessible pockets doesn't result in the jersey shifting.
There is a zip pocket which is useful for keys; the opening could be bigger but I haven't struggled excessively to get anything out of it.
The three main pockets are certainly more generous than most I have experienced on summer jerseys. They add to the ability of the jersey to perform through spring and autumn when you want to carry a gilet or light rain jacket.
A small but effective reflective strip helps if you are losing light as the shorter days arrive.
Thanks to variable weather in recent weeks I've been lucky to be able to test the R1 in a range of temperatures: from around 15 up to 30°C. On its own, it's spot on for hot, sunny days. If the temperature drops, it teams really well with an undervest or baselayer.
In both scenarios I never noticed an excess build-up of heat. The only part of the jersey that occasionally holds sweat – depending on how hard I ride – is the collar. It's never excessive to the point of being uncomfortable while riding, though as I said I do have it slightly unzipped so it isn't sitting against my skin. I'd say it out-performs the two jerseys I mentioned already with regards to moisture regulation/breathability.
Both front and rear panels contribute to this as they are a super-thin, waffle-like fabric. The sleeves and side panels are more of a 'solid' material but I never noticed the build-up of sweat here that occurred occasionally at the collar. I was surprised, given how light it is, that the jersey actually helped me to retain some decent warmth in the cooler temperatures.
We've tested some pretty cheap jerseys this summer, notably Decathlon's Van Rysel RR 900 at £34.99: a decent alternative if you are happy to compromise on the pro performance element.
The three jerseys already mentioned, from Bicycle Line, Funkier and Cycology, undercut Lusso too, pushing the R1 into the mid-range bracket, but I'd still say it's pretty good value for money at £64.99. It's certainly not limited to being a summer-only jersey like, for example, Bicycle Line's Monza. And given its great fit and performance, I wouldn't feel I could gain much more by forking out another £75 for Rapha's summer offering.
In conclusion, I can hardly fault the R1 Style Breathe. It offers a comfortable fit with exceptional performance in a range of temperatures. Lusso has taken care of some important detailing that is often overlooked, such as generous pockets and reflective detailing. It might be pricier than some of the other jerseys we've tested this summer but it's far from overpriced. Personally, I'd be willing to pay the extra for the excellent performance and accompanying 'Made in England' label.
Lightweight, comfortable and seriously breathable, a great quality jersey, made in the UK
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso R1 Style Breathe Women's Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says, "The R1 Style Breathe S/S Jersey has been designed for a Pro-fit and is a performance summer technical garment. The fabric is the new TX2 which helps the airflow move more cleanly over the shoulders and body of the rider. It remains fully breathable helping regulate your temperature and keeping you cool, reducing your need for extra hydration through the loss of perspiration.
"The TX2 material is a fully managed moisture transfer fabric, ideal for between 15C to 35C."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lightweight and Aero – 90% polyester 10% Lycra
Multi Fabric Design
Full Front Zip for easy access
4 Rear pockets (1 zipped)
Moisture Transfer Breathable Fabric, 50+ UV Ray Protection
SC-4s Arm & Hem grippers
Race fit (None flap)
Made in the UK
We've tested some pretty cheap jerseys this summer, such as Van Rysel's RR 900 at £34.99. Three others from Bicycle Line, Funkier and Cycology undercut Lusso too. I'd argue that it's still pretty good value for money at £64.99; it's certainly not limited to being a summer-only jersey like, for example, Bicycle Line's Monza, and you'd have to fork out another £75 for Rapha's Souplesse Aero jersey.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues. Instructions printed directly onto jersey which is always winner – no irritating labels.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent – top notch for moisture management.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit and cut.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really; the design wouldn't be my personal choice but there are plenty of other options available.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, in a different design.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: comfortable, breathable, with generous pockets, made in England and not overpriced for all of this. Only let down by the tight collar.
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…