When choosing a cycling jersey there are all kinds of factors to consider – material, fit, style, practicality, performance – but first and foremost, expectation levels are based on your budget.
So, if you’re splashing out on kit from one of the premium brands, and paying premium prices, you can be entitled to expect a lot for your money. Spend enough, and your jersey of choice should tick all the boxes and more.
With all this in mind I got the chance to try out the short sleeved T1 Jersey from UK company Torm recently, and it’s far from premium £54 price tag immediately created a few preconceptions in my mind. On the website the jersey’s classic styling looked great, and the merino wool content is right up my street, but I couldn’t help wondering where the compromise would be.
How would it look on a real cyclist, rather than a website model? What kind of quality could I really expect? Will the fit feel baggy, saggy and misshapen? How long will it last? Will it wash well? Will merino at £54 do what merino should do?
I’ll admit straight away, I needn’t have worried.
On a recent trip to the Vosges mountains in France I took the T1 with me, and wore it for the first time on one of those tricky weather days: warm in the sunshine, cool in the clouds, chilly on the summits, and with the threat of rain in the air (conditions which, to be honest, are often par for the course here in the UK summertime).
Paired with a light base layer, it earned it’s stripes with aplomb.
(Classic, retro looking stripes, naturally).
Torm use a material called SportWool (a merino blend, as I mentioned), and with the temperature range between 14 and 21 Celcius the T1 proved enough to keep the worst of the chills off when the sun disappeared behind the clouds. I would go so far as to say that, particularly for a short sleeve jersey, it was really cosy.
Once I started to generate some body heat it became noticeably trapped within, and when things got chilly on the summits and the descents I didn’t feel the need to layer up any further. At the same time, when I was working hard on the climbs and the July sun was beating down I was comfortable rather than overheating.
All this suggests that the merino is doing what it gets paid to do and, as I mentioned, you’re not breaking the bank here. On this changeable day and carrying only arm warmers and a gilet to keep of the showers, I felt well equipped to cope with conditions.
For temperatures in the late 20’s and 30’s I’d suggest it might prove too warm (I didn’t test this – I could be wrong) and on such a day you’d probably plump for something thin and lightweight anyway, but on those days when you never quite know what to wear it’s just the job.
Since it’s initial outing in the French mountains I’ve ridden with it back here in the UK a couple of times (again, in temperatures never exceeding about 20 degrees) and after having put the T1 through the wash a couple of times it shows no ill effects.
So back to my initial question – where is the compromise?
I’m not sure there is one.
It’s practical, and the quality of the material, the stitching, the zips, and the details around the collar and pockets feels comparable to jerseys in a far higher price bracket. It also looks great – classic and minimal – and the cut is snug but not skin tight. It’s not an aero jersey for shaving seconds off your Sunday morning 10k PB, but it certainly won’t hold you up on the club run or the town sign sprints.
(Incidentally, size wise, the chaps at Torm seem pro-active when it comes to helping you get the right size first time – drop them a quick e-mail and they’re happy to chat).
This jersey is only a compromise in as much as it will cover a few different bases weather-wise when paired up with the right accessories and that, to me, here in the UK, is a jersey we all need in our wardrobe. I’m pretty sure I’ll still be wearing it come autumn, and with the right layers.
Whether you are looking for quality practical kit, or something to turn heads in the café but without the premium price tag, for my money the Torm T1 ticks plenty of boxes.
This is an awful lot of jersey for £54!