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The Vulpine Merino Button Jersey is soft and comfy with good cycle-specific features, although it's subtle enough not to look too out of place off the bike.
It's 100% wool – fine, medium-weight, non-itchy merino. Even a few washes down the line, it feels good without any prickliness at all, and flat-lock stitching throughout adds to the comfort. Plus, as usual with merino, it wicks moisture away from your skin well and is very resistant to odours. That means you can sit indoors at a mid-ride café stop without feeling guilty about putting other customers off their cappuccinos.
The Merino Button Jersey is quite unusual in that... well, it has buttons. The clues are all there if you think about it. That means opening the neck to let the breeze in is more difficult than it is with a zip, but we're guessing that most people who use this jersey aren't going to be too bothered about that; it's a casual riding jersey rather than a top for people who are training or racing. The buttons are actually on the left-hand side – you know, the women's side – which makes things more tricky if you're a bloke and you're used to them on the right, but you'll probably leave them done up most of the time anyway.
The cut is slim – not skin-tight racer style, but certainly close to the body – so there's not a whole lot of excess fabric to waft about as you ride. The rear is long so there's no risk of you showing any bare flesh back there. If anything, I'd say it's maybe a touch overgenerous. I'm 1.90m tall and had the medium sized jersey and it still reached way down. The hem is elasticated and there's a silicone gripper inside so there's no danger that it's ever going to ride up.
There's plenty of storage space around the back although the pocket arrangement is unusual. You get a deep, slant-topped pocket on each hip, and between them a zipped pocket that'll take a wallet, phone or MP3 player. This one sits much lower – it's only 9cm high. Why have Vulpine done that? It's to keep your stuff out of the way if you're wearing a backpack. It's a good idea and it works well.
You get reflective trim back there too, and a loop from which you can hang an LED – again, out of the way of a backpack. Embroidered logos are a stylish finishing touch.
Who should buy this jersey? Although I love the feel of merino, I'm not a massive fan of it for high-intensity riding in the summer. Yes, it wicks sweat really well but if you do manage to get it sopping wet in the heat it gets heavier than synthetics. Anyway, the relaxed design of this jersey suggests it's more suitable for leisure riders, commuters, tourers... people who are perhaps going to carry on wearing it once they reach their destination. If that's you, this is a really high-quality choice.
Extremely comfortable cycle-specific jersey that doesn't shout 'bike kit' if you wear it around town too.
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Make and model: Vulpine Merino Button jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Incredibly comfortable, with extraordinary attention to detail. Odour-free, sweat-wicking, cut long and slim for cycling. Made from 100% highest grade mid-weight Merino, faultless flatlock stitching, with three well thought out rear pockets, a light loop and reflective detail at rear.
100% merino wool
Cut long for cycling
Flatlock stitching for comfort
Two rear-angled pockets
One rear zip pocket for valuables
Reflective band and light loop
Silicon waist gripper
Engraved buttons with V stitching"
There's nothing to take issue with there.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Merino wool naturally wicks sweat and is antibacterial so it doesn't easily pick up unpleasant odours.
Very well made from super-soft merino with flat-lock stitched seams, embroidered logos and a good silicone gripper inside the hem.
Although Endura do a merino jersey at £45, most are considerably more expensive than that. Shutt VR's are around £80 and Rapha's are more than that.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort and the lack of odour.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The buttons are on the left-hand side which I found awkward. I never remembered.
Did you enjoy using the product? Definitely.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.