I should probably come clean early on and fess up that, despite wearing lots of different bits and pieces of cycling kit, I actually haven’t reviewed all that many. As such, I approached this write-up feeling slightly unsure on how many words you, the reader, might want to read – and just how technical to go.
My resulting decision on the approach is what follows below, but it almost looked very different. On returning from a ride to try out this jersey for the first time, I very nearly grabbed my laptop to whizz down a couple of what would likely have been decidedly over-the-top paragraphs. This is due to the ride illustrating just how brilliant the jersey is, therefore gushing adjectives may have outnumbered actual specifications in my hasty review.
Instead, I wanted to take some time over the testing and exploring of this top, no doubt reflecting the great care and delicate decisions that Sir Chris Hoy and the fabric wizards at Vulpine took and made during its design. As a coming together of one of the country’s most successful athletes and a wholesome, home-grown retailer, it was pretty clear when my delivery arrived that it would get a thumbs up.
Unwrapping the jersey from its plastic-y bonds, the first thing I noticed was just how lovely the fabric felt – as well as how blue it was. While I appreciate that sounds like a silly thing to say, I had been a little worried that the fabric had a shine to it from one or two photos I’d seen. Instead the cobalt, matt blue is really smart, with red detailing and embroidery setting it off nicely.
I opted for an XS, knowing that the fabric would have a bit of a stretch to it while also wanting to make the most of the race fit. With this being a warm jersey rather than a winter jacket, it’s pretty adaptable and can easily be layered with a short or long sleeved base layer, as well as popping a gilet or waterproof over the top to combat the elements. One of the best things about the fit however is the length of the sleeves. Now I know that we women don’t all have the same length arms, but the clever pattern cutters at Vulpine got it bang on in terms of making the junction over to gloves while also not getting in the way.
With the outside of the jersey a really smooth polyester and elastane shell, the inside (as the name suggests) features a fleecy Roubaix lining. Against bare skin this is really comfortable – and made for successful Goldilocks rides in mid-Autumn (i.e. not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuuust right). The dropped tail with silicone grippers is a handy touch and I found the length at the front to be bang on, where some women’s clothing can come up short.
Branding-wise, it’s definitely HOY Vulpine, with neatly embroidered logo stacks on the front, arm and rear (zipped and slightly reflective) pocket. This makes for a neat design though, in a marketplace that increasingly features bold colour blocks and garish patterns. While women’s cycling apparel has definitely moved in a good direction of late, the design of the HOY Vulpine range is a really comforting nod to those women who want to head out in non-flowery, smart and well-fitting clothing.
Features-wise it ticks all the boxes you need for a jersey, with a good neck height to keep the chills out, zip garage and three sizeable pockets with a bonus zipped one in the centre. As mentioned above this fastening is lined with a reflective material, but it’s pretty subtle. I.e. hi-vis haters shouldn’t be put off, but drivers also won’t be blown away by your presence.
The price tag for the Roubaix jersey is a penny under £80 and as well as the online store (that can easily distract you with other lovely things), Evans Cycles stock HOY Vulpine – meaning a handy high street location to try a few bits on. Comparing the jersey to items from other retailers I’d say this price point is about right in reflecting the fit and quality. With its technical fabric and medium weight, it’ll see you through three out of four seasons as a pretty solid investment.
So there you have it. I hope that this review has been long and technical enough to get across the merits of the jersey and whether or not it’s something you’d spend your coffers on. The website is a good place to go to do a little more research, plus this range has a couple of other items to investigate.
Sizes: XS to XL
Colour: Cobalt blue or Graphite