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The Shimano Evolve jersey is breathable, good looking, and wicks well, but there are some small niggles like the pockets and length that could be improved.
Shimano clothing has become relatively well known for pushing the boundaries and adding new features in the past few years, and the Evolve jersey is no different.
It's a warm weather jersey, designed for temperatures between 16-26°C, and like the previous version that Jez tested a couple of years ago, it's made with a dual construction, which Shimano calls 'Dry Touch': a '2-in-1 construction [which] acts like a built-in baselayer keeping the rider cool and comfortable without added bulk'.
While baselayers normally cover your entire torso, the Evolve's only covers the areas where you expel most heat, namely your back, chest, and beneath your arms.
Above all of these areas the outer material is heavily perforated, which allows heat to escape more easily. It worked well – I found the jersey comfortable and effective at reducing heat build-up.
Helping things further is a well-made full-length YKK zipper, which is easy to open when you need to let excess heat escape. One of the things that I really like about this jersey is the look: aside from the venting and the zip, there is very little on the front, giving it a clean and classic look.
The material on the outer is a polyamide and elastane mix, which wicks moisture well and gives a good amount of stretch, allowing the jersey to mould easily to different body shapes and sizes.
Fit is largely good from the belly button and above, but on me it comes up shorter than most jerseys I have used and also tends to ride up, which is a little irritating. Cycling jerseys are often cut short at the front so they don't bunch up when you're on the bike, but I would say it is about two inches shorter than typical for a medium size. Everything else fitted as I would expect, but it's worth trying on before you buy to make sure the sizing is right for you.
On the back the jersey has three main pockets which also have smaller pockets within them. On the left there is a small pouch, in the middle a larger phone pocket, and on the right two small pockets on the outside. While it can be useful, in general I found them a bit of a faff and was frequently having things stuck in smaller pockets or having to root around pockets to find what I was looking for.
There is also no gripper on the bottom hem of the jersey, and I found that it rode up quite a lot. Given that this it's already quite short, I found I had to readjust it fairly frequently during a ride. It was better when the pockets were heavily laden, although even then it rode up more than most other jerseys I've worn.
Its RRP of £149.99 is a bit steep (£20 more than the previous version), even if the length suited you. That said, it does have the built-in baselayer, and its ability to deal with heat is very good, which goes some way to justifying the high price.
It's £30 more than the Megmeister Premium Woven Zig Zag Jersey, which comes in at £119.99 and has broadly similar heat-management qualities. I also looked at the Katusha Icon jersey a couple of months ago, which is £15 cheaper and outperformed the Evolve in terms of heat management and comfort.
Overall, there are elements of this jersey that I like, in particular the simple design and built-in baselayer, but it's not cheap, the pockets are fiddly, and check the length – it's much shorter than I would expect it to be, made worse by its tendency to ride up.
Performs well in hot weather but expensive, on the short side, and has a tendency to ride up
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano Evolve Jersey 2020
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
It is a high quality jersey designed to keep you cool between 16 and 26°C.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Multiple pocket types improve storage capability for long rides.
New anatomic pattern for natural riding posture.
Performance posture arm pattern.
Super soft material feels as great as it performs.
Double layer structure (Mesh lining on chest, under arms, and back).
Laser cut venting.
Reflective elements on back.
360 degrees reflectivity.
Very well made jersey with strong stitching and good material choice.
It worked very well within the designated temperature range, it wicked sweat well, and fitted well apart from the length.
It's well made and likely to last a long time.
Around the neck, arms, and shoulders fit is good, but it is much shorter than I would expect.
Everything apart from length is as I would expect for a medium, but its shortness is exacerbated by its tendency to ride up.
Its decent breathability and wicking help to make it comfortable in terms of heat management, but the way it rides up isn't.
It's more expensive than Megmeister's Premium Woven Zig Zag Jersey (£119.99) and £15 more than Katusha's Icon (£135). Although it has some really nice features and performs well in the heat, the price is high considering some elements could be improved.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I chucked it in at 30 degrees without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well in terms of managing heat, but is let down a little by the length and its tendency to ride up.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The built-in baselayer – a good concept that works well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Its short length combined with its tendency to ride up.
Did you enjoy using the product? Sometimes
Would you consider buying the product? I would need to try the size up.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd advise them to try it for length first.
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is tricky because its performance in hot weather is very good, and the built-in baselayer works well, but it's let down by some fundamental elements such as its tendency to ride up, when it's already quite short. Fit is subjective, and it might be an OK length for others, but also the pockets are fiddly to get things out, and it's not cheap. Balancing all that out, I'd say it's above average, but not quite a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.