The Hincapie Sportswear Nitro short-sleeve jersey is stylish, comfortable, lightweight and close-fitting, making it ideal for cycling on those warm summer days we all enjoy. It comes at a price though, and some riders may choose not to buy kit with the name of the brand – and the eponymous super-domestique – so prominently displayed.
Long-serving professional rider ‘Big’ George Hincapie and his family have been in the cycling clothing business for many years, mainly focused on providing custom-made kit for clubs and teams in the US, as well as a few in the pro peloton.
The company also makes off-the-peg clothing, now available in the UK through Evans Cycles, in a choice of styles and price-tags from the top-end ‘Signature’ range to this Nitro range which is more at the budget end (although it’s all relative).
First up, the fit. This Nitro jersey is very comfortable indeed; it’s close-fitting all round but not too tight anywhere. The cut is good too, with the back longer than the front, but not too long, so stuff in the three rear pockets stays near the small of your back rather than hanging down over your backside.
The zip is full length. There are pros and cons to this over a half or three-quarter length zip, but mostly it boils down to personal preference.
Next, the fabric. The main front and back panels are made from a thin, stretchy material called TourTek, designed to be light and help wick moisture away from the body, while the side panels are mesh to help ventilation. There’s another little panel of mesh on the back of the neck too.
Although it’s mesh, Hincapie claims this fabric has a sun protection factor of 30. The sleeve cuffs around the biceps are made from Dimplex Lycra, which keeps the jersey nicely in place, while microscopic dimples in the fabric help aerodynamic performance, apparently.
The Nitro jersey retails at a penny less than £75. This is on a par with similar quality kit from some other brands, but it’s still a lot of money for a lightweight summer jersey that you might only wear a few times a year. You can get very similar jerseys for much less dosh. However, right now you can get the Nitro from Evans for £52.49, which is a lot more reasonable.
And finally, a word on the design. The look of the Nitro jersey is clean and understated, with the main panels in our test kit being black, white and red. The Nitro jersey is also available in dark blue, light blue and white, and in yellow, black and white. What isn’t understated is the word ‘Hincapie’ writ large across the front and back of the jersey, and on the arm cuffs.
It’s not unusual for the manufacturers of cycle clothing to display their brand-name in such a big way. It’s not limited to cycle clothing either; think Superdry and Animal for example. But because Hincapie was the lieutenant of a certain disgraced Texan, some riders may prefer not to be associated with this name in such an obvious way.
Stylish, comfortable, lightweight and close-fitting - ideal for summer cycling. Not cheap at full price though.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hincapie Sportswear Nitro 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?
The Nitro short-sleeve jersey is aimed at warm-weather riding. The UK distributor website says this:
"The Hincapie Nitro Short Sleeve Jersey is a performance fitting sublimated race jersey, utilizing stretch kint and mesh vent panels.
Fabric: TourTek jersey fabric
Cut: Aerodynamic pattern, reduce drag & maximize performance. Accelerator stretch mesh provides flexible ventilation and quickdrying performance.
Dimplex Lycra sleeve bands and comfort collar construction."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hincapie Sportswear's global website says this:
* Super-fine TourTek™ jersey fabric wicks moisture away from the skin.
* Aerodynamic pattern and elastic TourTek™ fabric hugs the body to reduce drag & maximize performance.
* Accelerator™ stretch mesh provides flexible ventilation and quickdrying performance.
* SPF 30+ by construction for superior UVA/UVB protection
* Dimplex Lycra® sleeve bands and comfort collar construction.
Construction seems very good. This product is well made, with neat seems and no loose threads.
Performance is very good. On test rides, the close fit meant no fabric flapping in the breeze, but the jersey wasn't too tight anywhere to be uncomfortable.
It's too early to say, but as the fabric is very light I'd guess this jersey won't happily take a pounding for years on end. For a start, it will need to be washed carefully after use. All our test kit carried this warning: "Inks my bleed slightly. Wash garments in cold water and line dry to remove any bleeding effects." To be honest, this might be too much hassle for riders who want to bung sweaty kit in the washing machine after a long hot ride, and not worry about separate 'delicate' progams. Other riders may feel that for the best part of 75 quid the colours ought to stay put.
This is a very lightweight jersey, making it comfortable for hot conditions.
I found this jersey very comfortable. The close fit meant no fabric flapping in the breeze, but it wasn't too tight anywhere to be uncomfortable.
While similar jerseys from the so-called premium brands can cost double the price of this Nitro, it's still not a bargain, especially for something you might wear only a few times a year (if you live in the UK).
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The product performed well: comfortable, light and close-fitting.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked the relatively short cut, meaning stuff in the pockets stays near the small of the back rather than hang down over the backside.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Peronally I wouldn't go for a full-length zip. Some riders may also prefer to avoid the large brand-name. But these are individual calls.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? personally, no
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This is a good item of clothing and scores 9 on aspects such as comfort and fit. It's not especially good value though, meaning a point knocked off, and the need for separate washing is a pain, which means another point docked, giving an overall score of 7.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,