Review: women's cycling short sleeved jerseys

Women's short sleeved cycling tops: Endura, Torm and Rapha (L to R)

Review: women's cycling short sleeved jerseys

Over summer and into autumn, Cycling UK has been busy testing women's cycling jerseys. We've deliberately sought out jerseys in the mid-price range, with the ultimate goal of finding quality and affordable prices. Below are our three favourites from Cycling UK's Project Manager Cycling Development, Hannah Chivers.

Over summer and the early autumn I have been trying out three women’s short sleeved cycle jerseys. When choosing a jersey I want something which is comfortable, fits well, has space in the pockets for essentials and can stand up to plenty of washing.  I put the jerseys through they're paces in a mixture of settings which included a commute to Guildford from Haselmere (c.18 miles), a social club run and a short weekend tour.

I am 5ft 3 and a size 12 which meant all the jerseys I tested were the manufacturers' recommended medium size. I also tried them all in red, as everyone knows it’s the fastest colour!

Rapha Women’s Core Jersey (£75.00)

This jersey is part of Rapha’s essentials range which offers simple designs at a more affordable price point.  

For me the fit of the jersey was perfect, it was long enough to cover my back fully, tight enough to feel stylish but loose enough to have a post ride cake. For those after a tighter race fit I would recommend going down a size as I found the size I choose to be slightly baggy around the shoulders.

One feature which I liked was that the flat hem around the bottom, as it was fitted with a particularly grippy edging. This meant that it held really well against my shorts even when moving out of the saddle, even after several washes. 

It had four pockets which provided enough space for a pump, cereal bar and inner tube, including the very handy zipped pocket for keys and cards. For anyone on an overnight trip the polyester material although exceptionally soft and cool in the heat, did ‘need a wash’ after a busy day, but it washed well and dried very quickly.

This is the first piece of Rapha clothing I have tried and I approached it with a couple of pre-conceptions. These, however, were quickly dismissed when I tried this jersey which kept me comfortable in a wide range of conditions and felt beautifully soft against my skin. . 

Torm TL7 Jersey (£56.00)

The first thing I found striking about the Torm jersey was the deep red colour, I often find that women’s jersey are only in ‘girlier shades’ but the design of this jersey with its simple black on detailing on the sleeves felt stylish and timeless. The fit was the most relaxed of the three, meaning that although not baggy I felt as comfortable stopping for a pub lunch as I would on a ride.  

The jersey is a blend of merino and polyester called Sportswool, making it slightly thicker and heavier compared to the polyester jerseys. On first inspection I was worried that I would get too hot in the Surrey sunshine, in practice I found it held up to differences in temperature very well as it was breathable in the warmer weather and insulating on a cooler evening ride. The thicker fabric also meant that I was confident that it would hold up to a trek through the woods or a tumble. 

This jersey out of the three was the longest to dry, although in a warm room you could do it overnight. However, the fabric meant that it didn’t really need a wash, as the smell wasn't too bad after wearing it on two days' worth of touring. 

Another feature which made the jersey great for longer trips was the design and sizing of pockets. The jersey had two smaller zipped and three generous pockets, which I thoroughly tested by fitting a round of sandwiches, pump, inner tube, a waterproof jacket, phone, keys and some money (in the secure pocket), with almost space for a cuddly toy! The smaller pockets had a re-enforced shower-proof lining, which is perfect for protecting any electronic items. 

Endura FS260 Pro II Jersey (£49.99)

This jersey is part of Endura’s Sportive range designed for performance cyclists at any stage of their journey. 

The jersey had an anatomical cut and it fitted very close, but still it felt very soft and was not at all restrictive. The sleeves were longer than other jerseys I tried, but the large flat seam meant that they were not flappy over the narrower part of the arm and ensured, back in sunnier times, my upper arms didn’t get sun burnt. The gripper on the hem held the jersey close to my shorts and the pockets were generous. 

The jersey has an eye catching and well thought through design. A ‘pillar box red’ central panel is complemented by a bright silver zip and two contrasting white panels which run down the sides and under the arms of the jersey. The white side panels are made from a highly breathable fabric which helped me stay cool in the summer heat, and I felt were quite flattering.  

A thoughtful feature is the subtle reflective detailing found on the jersey sleeves and collar. Combined with its bright colour, it helped me think I was a bit more visible when zipping through shadier lanes. With a sporty fit, shrinking was a bit of a concern but after several washes the shape has stayed perfectly, although the white panels do mean you have to be careful what you wash it with! 

Overall a cool summer jersey clearly designed towards those who prefer a racier fit, but still with those thoughtful design features which will suit any cyclist.

If you're looking for cycling tops to go with your shorts, then check out our accompanying article which looks at a range of the season's cycling shorts too.

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