Jura Cycle Clothing are new kids on the block, having launched in 2013. As they explain on their website: “Claire the founder, a keen cyclist, was fed up wearing lycra and seeing her husband (also a keen cyclist) heading off on his bicycle dressed in lycra!”
While that stretchy stuff is much maligned these days, as a byword for badly dressed cyclists in ill-fitting clothing, it obviously has its place at the racier end of the cycling kit spectrum. Lycra is a necessary evil, you might say, that not everyone looks good in.
Jura Cycling Clothing have gone down the merino wool route – a material which these days is almost as ubiquitous in cycling circles as lycra. As a confirmed merino fan I was excited to get the chance to test one of their long sleeved jerseys.
If you’re after a sleek and racy long sleeve jersey that will shave 10 seconds off your 10km personal best, then this is not that jersey. If you are looking for a high performing piece of technical kit with wind-proofing, waterproofing, and cutting edge technology, you need to look elsewhere.
If, however, you want a top notch item of merino clothing, which does all the things that merino wool is really good at – insulation, temperature regulation, odour control – and you want it with stylings that are unashamedly retro but without making you look like you’ve arrived in a time-machine from the 1970’s, then you’ve come to the right place.
When you first take this jersey from its wrapper the silky smoothness of the wool demands a good stroke, and the stitching and other details ooze quality. It’s made from 100% Italian merino, as opposed to many ‘merino’ cycling jerseys out there which are blended with a technical material. The result of this is a jersey which, genuinely, you’ll be happy to wear around the house, down at the pub – in fact everywhere, as a light yet cosy long sleeved sweater.
But don’t get the wrong idea – when I describe it as a sweater I’m underselling it’s qualities as a cycling jersey. I’m a size large (occasionally medium) in most cycling kit, and the large version of this jersey clings to my body nicely. As I mentioned earlier it’s not skin tight and racy, but there is very little in the way of excess material flapping around as you ride; it hugs the body, you might say, and the zip collar rises high around the neck which adds to the snug feeling.
On the bike, with collar zipped up high, it feels warm and comfortable. In addition the length at the back is generous, as are the sleeves. It always disappoints me to find sleeves on a jersey which ride up the wrists when stretched out in the riding position, but there are no such problems here. When riding it’s just a very comfortable and luxurious jersey – it feels a bit like riding in your Sunday best.
In terms of practicality, this is a jersey that you would pick and choose when to wear. Whilst merino wool does have some ability to wind-proof this is limited, and so on a cold winter’s day you would need to layer up; either wearing this jersey under a wind-proof jacket, or with some wind-proofing beneath it. I would also be reluctant to wear it as an outer layer when the roads are wet, as although good merino deals with moisture well you wouldn’t really want it soaking up rainwater from the road.
As a good quality and warm winter layer, or as an outer jersey when the conditions suit, and when you want to turn a few heads in the mid-ride café, this long sleeved jersey from Jura is lovely, lovely thing.
It’s a little piece of luxury to add to your cycling wardrobe.