Available in a wide range of colours and designs, the simple yet effective Odlo Element short sleeved jersey will take some beating. Excellently made and with a reel of ethical credentials, every bike ride becomes a heartfelt one - and the £50 price tag represents exceptional value for those not after high end tech and tiger tight fit.
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It's worth noting at this point that Odlo also have a men's version of the Element, well infact they have three: one the exactly the same, one half zip with a stand up collar (both for the same price) and a full zip stand up collar version for £70, so don't switch off if you won't be buying this women's version.
One of the big drivers for me with clothing is its source, and I highly rate Odlo for its ethical values.
The brand's entire supply chain is transparent, and, as a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) it endeavours to improve labour conditions in the textile industry, including no exploitation, no discrimination, fair pay, and ensuring the health and safety of workers. It's also a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) which works towards improving the sustainability of the supply chain, e.g. the reduction in air freight (for rail and road), use of recycled fabrics, designing products to last. Odlo even has a repair service, and I haven't even touched on its social monitoring and responsibility programmes.
I'm already feeling warm and fluffy - but how does the Element jersey actually stack up when it comes to performance? We know that this kind of wholistic social responsibility doesn't come cheap, so once you factor all ethical costs in, can a £50 jersey really be any good?
Made from 100% Polyester, the Oldo Element short-sleeved jersey has been kept simple. There's no uber tech fabrics other than its own 'Light' technology that aims to provide optimum comfort in all situations and in all weather. In the case of the jersey, the goal is making it as breathable as possible, sweat-wicking and fast-drying, all of which are commonly known properties of Polyester.
The sleeves are of a standard hemmed variety and other than a silicone gripper around the middle and three good sized pockets at the rear, that's it. It's this pared-down approach that I really rated about the Element shorts.
Sizes range from XS to XL, and there's a wide range of designs, from a plain peach colour to loud prints.
A quick check against peers, and it's only really comparable to the Craft Essence jersey, which weighing around 120g, along with boasting SPF 50, heat cooling fabric and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes isn't a bad twin for just the £10 more price tag.
When there's limited fabric technology, it actually makes wearing the jersey a much simpler affair. There's no weather or temperature condition quandary, simply on and go.
The fit, as expected isn't tiger tight or aero, but certainly in the side of sport over leisure. There's no obvious fabric flap, it fits well across the shoulders and on arms.
All three pockets are of a sensible size, big enough for spares, snacks and phone, as well as being easy to reach on the move. The silicone waistband does a good job of securing the jersey in place, but worth ensuring that your cargo is evenly distributed to prevent twisting.
When compared to other more technical fabric jerseys, it's not going to keep you as cool or dry on a hot day in the mountains. If you were getting pretty serious about training rides, you might be inclined to spend a bit more, but for bobbing around on your regular ride route or commuting to work, the Odlo Element short-sleeve jersey is spot on.
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