Best suited to those who prefer a relaxed fit and who have with shorter arms, Specialized has used quality materials for its long sleeve jersey. Soft, warm and breathable, it’s a good option if the fit works for you – and if you don’t mind the absence of a zipped pocket.
Cut won't fit everyone
Lack of zipped pocket
Less sustainability focussed than competition
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The RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is Specialized’s cold weather contribution to the clothing market. The RBX holds up brand-anticipated high quality and performance, but it’s not the best long sleeve jersey for those who prefer race cut threads.
Specialized RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: construction
Specialized is a brand carrying quite the reputation for cutting edge tech and high quality products. This jersey at least partially lives up to the billing: quality, yes; cutting edge... maybe not.
The mix of Polyester (94 per cent) and Elastane (six per cent) is pretty commonplace for winter jerseys at this price point ($125.00 / £80.00) - and the material does feel great to wear.
Although not windproof, the RBX Expert is very comfy, suitably warm and felt at home even down into frigid morning single figures (in conjunction with a warmer under layer).
Base layer dependent, I was able to use the jersey in a variety of temperatures. 17 degrees Celsius for a café spin was a little toasty – but still just about doable with a thinner base layer and half zipped up.
This is not a waterproof garment, though, so not quite the one-jersey-fits-all-weathers solution that softshells such as the Castelli Perfetto ROS Long Sleeve Jersey can claim.
But in conjunction with a rain cape stowed in the generously sized pockets, you should be good to go in a wide range of conditions. It’s this versatility that is so important during fall / autumn, to prevent the need for endless combinations of kit.
One element that is missing here is any advertisement of a greener future. Whereas others we've had on test recently (such as the dhb Aeron) boast verified sustainable fabrics, Specialized – from what I can research – doesn't have such a focus on this aspect.
It won’t bother everyone, but in an increasingly eco-centric society, it’s worth thinking about.
In terms of practicality, Specialized has opted for a rather simple approach. The three large pockets on the back are strong, elastic lined with hi viz stripes and plenty deep enough for a long ride's feeding – although the placement doesn’t feel quite right.
The opening sits slightly higher than competitors' garments and while this does stop the jersey sagging at the rear, I can’t help but imagine this being a hindrance when reaching for food when you're soaked through with thick winter gloves on.
Having not yet reached the darkest depths of winter, this isn't an experience I've yet had with this jersey. For now, it's just a bit of a strange feeling – but I'll update this review later on in the season, once the weather has gotten a bit worse.
The other gripe I have is the lack of a zipped pocket. By all means this won’t bother everyone, but for me it is something I really value. Having a secure space for house keys or emergency cash is really something I would expect at this price point. Still though, all the more relief that the main pockets are secure.
Specialized RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: fit
Given the huge variety of shapes and sizes that people come in, unless a jersey is offered with specific tailoring, there will always be someone for whom it doesn't quite fit.
But the RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve flips that on its head and poses the question of is there anyone that this will actually fit?
To be fair, that is a little overblown – but nevertheless, the lack of length in the arms was concerning.
I'll admit that I am quite lanky, being 6ft tall and only 65kg. But even accounting for that, the jersey was short in the arms yet big on the body. My broad shoulders fit the jersey well, but the waist also had a tendency to ride up along with the sleeves.
The addition of arm grippers would really go a long way here, and once again it just seems like a bit of a missed trick coming from a company with the calibre of Specialized. In spite of that, however, this may be just right for some users on the stockier side.
My advice is to try before you buy to make sure it doesn't come up short of expectations. There's also the option to take advantage of Specialized's 30 day free returns policy.
Specialized RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: value and conclusion
Quality materials and build quality really save the Specialized RBX Expert Long Sleeve Jersey when considering the value.
$125.00 / £80.0 is not a small amount of money and I think, really, the lack of a rear zipped pocket and perplexing sizing makes it tricky to recommend over competitors on the market.
Still, it does deserve consideration given its style and build quality. Plus the fit might well suit those with a stocky build and shorter arms, and those who prefer a relaxed fit.
For comparison, the Rapha Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey does have a zipped pocket, has a similar high quality feel, a more 'normal' fit – and the brand has a lot to say on its sustainability efforts. The jersey does come in at $168.00 / £124.00, though, which is significantly more expensive.
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