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Verdict: 
For a multi-day tour when you need one jersey to rule them all – including in the pub in the evening – the Triban is it
Weight: 
445g

The Triban Long-Sleeved Merino Wool Bike Touring Jersey from French sports giant Decathlon represents incredible value for money, harnessing all the qualities of the famous fine sheepswool and looking chic both on and off the bike.

  • Pros: The performance of merino; functional and good looking; very competitively priced
  • Cons: Those with longer arms might find the sleeves slightly short in the cycling position

Packing for a multi-day cycle tour focuses the mind like nothing else. The knowledge that you have to lug everything with you up all the hills forces you to think very carefully about every single item. Do you really need that pair of pants or can you 'go commando' in the evening? Should you wear flip-flops? Saw the handle off your toothbrush?

> Find your nearest Decathlon store here

A single, reliable, super-versatile jersey that with some canny layering can be worn every day in all conditions takes out a lot of cycling kit-related guesswork. One that can all do that and double up as a pub jumper is priceless. The Triban merino jersey is one of those.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - back.jpg

The simple, solid burgundy colour with subtle black trim (also available in navy blue with orange trim) disguises what is a sophisticated and feature-packed construction: the 49% merino/51% acrylic main fabric is stitched into panels separated by breathable zones down the centre of the back and under the arms. Here a mesh fabric is deployed. The quilted shoulders incorporate an extra layer of fabric for windproofing, since merino on its own is not windproof.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - shoulder.jpg

The photos show the locations of the reflective strips – always good to have and these ones didn't crack or peel after the first wash.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - pockets.jpg

There are the three standard pockets at the rear plus an extra side one to the left.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - side pocket.jpg

A large single mesh pocket covers them, providing extra carrying capacity if a rain jacket needs to be stowed on the fly.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - pockets 2.jpg

There's also a two-in-one zipped breast pocket that I found useful for sticking the Garmin in while juggling the rest of the luggage at the end of each day.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - chest pocket 2.jpg

Based on our medium sample, the sizing is accurate. The fit is relaxed, as you'd expect for touring, but although great for standing upright with hands by your sides it doesn't work quite as well in the cycling position, with the sleeves riding up slightly (my arms are slightly longer than the model's in the photos) especially with a close-fitting gilet pulling them up into the armpits.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - riding.jpg

The collar has a decent height and when zipped up fully is comfortable against the neck thanks to a well placed 'zip garage'.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - chest.jpg

Although there's a silicone gripper at the rear, it's not enough to stop the jersey sagging when the pockets are loaded, something that wouldn't be an issue if the back was cut slightly shorter.

At 10 or 11°C with a summer-weight baselayer underneath, the Triban performed faultlessly. The merino traps enough heat to keep you warm for slower riding, but for potentially sweaty hill slogs heat escapes easily through the breathable fibre itself as well as through the mesh zones.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - side panel.jpg

Talking of sweat, the Triban didn't get at all whiffy in three very big days of Welsh riding. A fresh baselayer each morning – touring best practice – absorbed odours and the merino stayed impressively pong free.

> How to dress for cycling in autumn

Merino is not waterproof so a good rain shell is essential at the first drop of the wet stuff. Our Welsh tour featured biblical rainstorms throughout the first day, so the Triban operated underneath an Assos Equipe RS for much of that. My only criticism was that once the Triban's cuffs got wet – and the Assos jacket's raw-cut rather than elasticated cuffs must surely take some of the blame for this – they took a very long time to dry out.

Triban Long Sleeved Merino Top - cuff.jpg

In the pub that evening they were still wet, but my touring companions' verdict was that the Triban was otherwise so good for the price that this – along with any other minor criticism – was looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Value

The Triban at £49.99 offers astounding value for money. It is firmly in Rapha territory in style, and stands its ground in terms of features and performance, and smashes it on price: the Rapha Classic Long Sleeve II is now £125 (£120 when we reviewed it in 2017).

> Buyer's Guide: 20 of the best winter cycling jerseys

The Morvelo Merino Pimento is even more expensive at £130. I can't imagine you'll find a merino long-sleeve jersey with this level of performance for less.

Verdict

For a multi-day tour when you need one jersey to rule them all – including in the pub in the evening – the Triban is it

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Triban Long-Sleeved Merino Wool Bike Touring Jersey

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Decathlon says: "We've designed this jacket for your long rides or for rides lasting a few days in cool weather. Keep your body at the right temperature with this comfortable merino jersey. The mesh back pocket helps increase the storage capacity."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The main fabric is made up of 49% wool, 30% polyester and 21% acrylic. The Triban jersey is machine washable at 30° but cannot be tumble dried or dry cleaned. For 'stock advice', Triban recommends keeping it folded in your wardrobe (rather than hanging on a coat hanger). It comes with a two-year guarantee.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The Triban is made in China and the complicated stitching is very well executed.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

For touring in autumn or spring this jersey ticks all the boxes. On a typical dry autumn day the merino is warm enough to be worn directly over a baselayer. Underneath a rain shell it insulates well. And crucially for a multi-day tour it doesn't get smelly.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

I can't comment on long-term durability yet, but in the short term it has emerged from a three-day tour and subsequent wash cycle looking as good as new.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

The size medium fitted well in a relaxed, touring kind of way when I was standing up straight with my arms by my sides. However, in the bike position the sleeves were a little short, especially with a gilet over the top that fitted closely under the arms. I would also have liked a slightly shorter rear to compensate for the inevitable sag when merino pockets are loaded up.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

Overall sizing is about right.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10

This is not a lightweight technical softshell, nor does it try to be.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Soft and very comfortable with just a short-sleeved baselayer underneath, which was my default dry-weather touring setup.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

My touring companions were very impressed by the Triban and thought virtually any criticism – such as that the cuffs took a long time to dry out – was unjustified given the price.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Probably because the jersey is only 49% merino it didn't shrink in the wash, keeping its size, shape and stretchiness perfectly. The reflective elements, which are often the first casualty of a machine wash, have not cracked or come unstuck either.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Decathlon describes it as a 'road cycling bike touring jersey'. For a traditional autumn or spring credit card tour as opposed to a bikepacking adventure it is excellent. Merino can't be beaten for its temperature-regulating properties and at this time of year all you need is a baselayer underneath and to have a packable rain shell at the ready since merino is not waterproof.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

If you're travelling light and don't want to take a separate 'civvy' garment it's understated enough to be worn in the pub in the evening. A true touring secret weapon.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The sleeves were a little short and the body a little long on me, but on someone with shorter arms and a longer body that might not be an issue.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The price is very competitive. Other brands struggle to bring similar jerseys in under £100. The Lusso Merino Long Sleeve Jersey is £99, while the Morvelo Merino Pimento Jersey is £130.

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

It's very, very cheap for a merino jersey – even if it is 49% merino – which made me suspicious at first, but it does come with a two-year guarantee as proof that it's not throwaway fast fashion, and having used it as my sole jersey on a three-day cycle tour I am convinced it is worth a 9, just dropping a mark because I felt the fit could be more cycling-specific.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 178cm  Weight: 68kg

I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu  My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic

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: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, school run on a tandem

Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.

As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.

He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).

 

15 comments

Avatar
Sriracha [347 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

"The simple, solid burgundy colour ..."
Solid red at this end. Is it just my screen? Or my eyes?

Avatar
peted76 [1636 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

That looks bloody fantastic! 

Can I question the given weight of it please, 445grams seems like a typo, unless it has lead sewn into the pockets.

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hobbeldehoy [58 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

These Decathlon jerseys are great value. Plenty of pockets, good fit and materials. I bought a short sleeve for l'etape this year. Very practical. Some participants were wearing rapha stuff which I thought looked rather bland.

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hughsain [32 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

That jacket looks incredible for the price - and literally ticks every feature box I could ask for. And, final bonus, no obtrusive Decathlon branding!

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iandusud [193 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Shame about the short arms. I've got a long sleve Decathlon top that was great value for money but have this same problem with it. I'm 6'1". So I'm sure this would work for shorter or even average sized riders but not for the taller amongst us.

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1896 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I'm not a merino fan but I really like how Decathlon have been making their stuff look a bit more classy (and less "Lidl") recently.  Good work.

 

That said, the colour does remind me of something... I don't think I'd wear it for exploring a strange planet in the company of anyone named 'Kirk'.

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Bmblbzzz [366 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

It looks very Torm-like to me, which is good. Also good to see a merino content higher than some sportswool garments.  

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Simon Smythe [2 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

445g is correct. I would say it's a fair weight for what it is. The fabric itself is heavier than 100% manmade and there are extra pockets, chunky zips with pullers, extra seams for the mesh zones, quilted shoulders and thick, elasticated cuffs at the sleeves and front of the waist – all marginal weight gains. As a one-and-only jersey on a tour  I can forgive the extra hundred grams or so over a Castelli Perfetto or similar. And don't forget how cheap it is!

Avatar
KoenM [140 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Sriracha wrote:

"The simple, solid burgundy colour ..." Solid red at this end. Is it just my screen? Or my eyes?

It's also in blue if u don't like the red!

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kil0ran [1752 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

It's excellent - and for those concerned about animal welfare the merino comes from South African sheep where they don't use mulesing.

Their current-season stuff is universally excellent. The RC500 rainproof and winter jackets are pretty much the same cut/features as this merino jersey. 

Avatar
kil0ran [1752 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Sriracha wrote:

"The simple, solid burgundy colour ..." Solid red at this end. Is it just my screen? Or my eyes?

It's not as red as it is in the photos, but it definitely isn't burgundy. 

Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode [262 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
peted76 wrote:

That looks bloody fantastic! 

Can I question the given weight of it please, 445grams seems like a typo, unless it has lead sewn into the pockets.

My Polaris windproof in an XL is 400g+/-  so maybe the shoulder bits plus the extra netting/side pocket and merino adds a little extra, it's hardly heavy for a long sleeve jersey, I barely notice mine at all and am wearing it now as a cardigan. Okay, I haven't taken any of the gear off since getting in including the 3/4 length bibsyes

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Joe Totale [185 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I've got one of these, I'd say 445g is correct in terms of weight. 
It's a fantastic commuting jacket and the fact it's merino means it can be used day after day without getting smelly. 

The blue one which is the one I bought looks rather smart as well. It's early days but so far I'm very pleased with my purchase. 

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Grrr [2 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
iandusud wrote:

Shame about the short arms. I've got a long sleve Decathlon top that was great value for money but have this same problem with it. I'm 6'1". So I'm sure this would work for shorter or even average sized riders but not for the taller amongst us.

 

same problem i have, 185cm, 71kg, every clothing manufacturer seems to think people of that height must weigh 15stone. I pick something based on chest size and the arms are way too short. I would imagine, based on what I’ve noticed, there’s more tall slim cyclists than tall stocky ones. 

I must end up returning 90% of tops I buy.

Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode [262 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Grrr wrote:
iandusud wrote:

Shame about the short arms. I've got a long sleve Decathlon top that was great value for money but have this same problem with it. I'm 6'1". So I'm sure this would work for shorter or even average sized riders but not for the taller amongst us.

 

same problem i have, 185cm, 71kg, every clothing manufacturer seems to think people of that height must weigh 15stone. I pick something based on chest size and the arms are way too short. I would imagine, based on what I’ve noticed, there’s more tall slim cyclists than tall stocky ones. 

I must end up returning 90% of tops I buy.

You do really mean people who have large bellies not the actual weight right? I'm 15 stone (46/47" chest) who finds XXXL in some garments to be too small around the chest and shoulders so they come up short in the arms/torso so far too snug, they presume we are all skinny 71kg cyclists with weedy stick arms and shoulders and/or fat bellies yes

it's why I always ask for actual measurements of armpit to armpit, neck to hem length and choose athletic to race fit and hope that what fat I have doesn't make me look like everything is spilling out!