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The Van Rysel RCR Women's Short-Sleeved Cycling Jersey is a great pro fit top for hot summer days or intensive riding, and is pocket-tastic!
For just under £40, Decathlon's premium brand manages to make a good looking, wearable jersey that works really well on hotter days. As climate change means that summers are getting hotter, I've got a lot of use out of this jersey in the last few weeks.
Its key feature is a stripy mesh panel that runs down the full length of the underarm and body, and also at the back of the neck. Although the whole jersey is pretty light, with a material that wicks sweat well, the additional mesh makes for a well-ventilated ride and the stripy nature of the mesh means it isn't overly see-through, so doesn't highlight bra straps. Think of it as bathroom window glass for jerseys.
Pockets are also an area where the Van Rysel jersey has got it right. As well as the usual three-pocket combo along the back, there are two additional zippable pockets (the website says one but there are two – one on each side) which run underneath the main pockets. If that were not enough, there are then an additional two 'bin' pockets which are located above the hip, bringing the total to a mighty seven pockets. Seven. I've had cargo trousers with fewer pockets than this jersey!
The middle back pocket is large enough for a decent-sized smartphone, and although there is no waterproofing, the fact that the zippable pocket material runs behind it meant that sweat didn't penetrate from my back to my phone, as those two thin layers tended to dissipate the moisture. I loved the bin pockets for tissues as I found them easier to access than the back pockets in terms of a quick reach.
Thinking about the cut, the RCR has a nicely slanted neckline which was comfortable, especially in hot weather. The full-length zip sits in a zip garage which adds to the comfort at the neckline.
The jersey is a decent length although the bottom edge has no gripper and the elasticated material used isn't very taut, so I found it a little gappy at the back. Combined with no lower gripper this was a bit of an issue in terms of fit, even though I'm well-endowed in the bum department. As I said, though, the jersey is a good length, providing ample coverage whether in shorts or bib shorts.
The sleeves again have no gripper at all, and run very long, almost to my elbow. This could be seen as a bonus as it meant I had to apply less sunscreen, but it did feel a little odd.
All of the tags (and there were many) were attached to a single bit of stretchy jersey material, which made them easy to cut out for comfort without any risk of damaging the jersey itself. This thinking more than made up for the minor construction issue of loose ends, of which there were also many.
The jersey has been washed several times without these threads progressing to holes, but they don't make for the cleanest of interiors.
I did have a bit of an issue with staining and washing on the thin fabric of this jersey. Some suncream left a mark, despite immediate washing, and the top of the jersey was prone to puckering along the seam that cuts across the chest, following washing. It isn't obvious to others, but it spoilt the jersey a little for me.
The RCR comes in a variety of sizes to fit UK 4-6 through to 20-22. I wore an XL (18). I loved the deep foresty green colour (billed as dark petrol blue) and the mint accents matched some Van Rysel shorts I was also reviewing (review to come). Other options are navy, mauve and magnolia.
The branding is discreet, as is the single vertical reflective stripe on the middle pocket. That said, you are likely to be wearing this jersey on a hot summer's day where reflectives are not top of the list of features to worry about.
Tass tested a summer Van Rysel jersey a few seasons ago, and was super-impressed with it. The RCR, which is a different design, is £5 more even though it's lost the gripper and the water-repellent pocket and lower zip garage, but it's still excellent value.
It manages to deliver more features and a more pro look than competitors we've tested at this kind of price. The dhb Aeron is perhaps its nearest tested competitor in the hot weather stakes, but at £60 it is half as much again to buy. (Read Lara's review here.)
The Altura Airstream was £39.99 when Emma tested it last year, but has gone up to £45, while the dhb women's short sleeve is just £30 (Emma tested that one too), but neither of these is designed for hot weather riding, which the Van Rysel copes with admirably and comfortably, and looks good while it's at it.
A lovely hot weather jersey with pockets. Did I mention the pockets? Oh, so many pockets!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel RCR Women's Short-Sleeved Cycling Jersey
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says, "This short-sleeved women's cycling jersey is designed for intensive cycling in warm weather.
This cycling jersey offers great ventilation, thanks to its breathable fabric and the mesh fabric on the sides. It has convenient pockets on the back and sides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Decathlon lists these details:
Primary fabric is breathable as well as stretchy and responsive for better support.
Mesh patches added to better release perspiration away from the body and provide better thermal regulation.
The use of mesh on the sides also allows the jersey to dry quickly after intense exertion (such as climbing, for example).
Very close-fitting for better aerodynamics.
Wide elasticated band at the waist for a perfect fit.
Mesh fabric is thinner, lighter and more ventilated than cotton or polyester.
This breathable fabric wicks away perspiration more quickly.
This fabric dries very quickly, helping to regulate your body's temperature very effectively.
4 pockets in the back (including 1 with zip), and 2 bin pockets on the sides.
Although the jersey clearly isn't going to fall apart, there are many loose thread ends which let it down in the construction stakes.
A great jersey for mid-summer riding combining lightweight material and mesh.
No significant issues so far after several washes, although the material at the upper chest has gone a little puckered.
The fit was reasonable rather than excellent. The top of the chest had a tad too much material and there's no bottom gripper didn't hold it ultra tight. One size down was too small, though.
I'm a street size 18 and the XL fitted well. Sizes XS to 2XL are available (approximately size 4-6 through to size 20-22). Note that the size/street size equivalents are different for tops and bottoms within this range, though.
Very lightweight summer top for the money.
The vents and light material made this comfortable to wear on very sunny days.
Even compared with jerseys we've tested at the cheaper end of the market this is great value, especially for the features.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The jersey marked with some suncream which never quite washed out at 30 degrees, and the material in that area (upper chest) puckered a little in the wash too. Not hugely noticeable but not perfect either.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This jersey performed well even in this summer's ultra-hot weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I loved the colour and the attractive and useful horizontal venting in the material.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's no gripper at the bottom.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Out of the other jerseys in its price range, the Van Rysel manages to deliver more features and a more pro-look jersey than its competitors. The dhb Aeron is perhaps its nearest tested competitor in the hot weather stakes, but at £60 it is half as much again to purchase. Closer in price are the Altura Airstream (£45) and the dhb women's short sleeve (£30), but neither of these is designed for hot weather riding.
Tass tested a summer Van Rysel jersey a few seasons ago, and was super-impressed with it. The RCR, which is a different design, is £5 more even though it's lost the gripper and the water-repellent pocket and lower zip garage, but I'd still say it's excellent value.
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
The Van Rysel excels at its price point in offering pro features at a budget cost.
About the tester
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure