The GripGrab Women’s Gravelin MerinoTech Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is an insulating layer that’s figure-hugging and wonderfully comfy against the skin. Thanks to the close cut, it’s easy to chuck on additional outer layers that’ll provide extra protection against the rain. High quality for a lower price than much of the competition.
Lots of warmth for a low bulk layer
Zipped pocket for essentials
No waterproof zipped pocket
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The GripGrab Women’s Gravelin MerinoTech Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is a lightweight long sleeve that provides a surprising amount of warmth for its low bulk fit. As the fit is so close, it’s easy to pull other layers on over the top, such as a gilet, lightweight wind jacket or a rain jacket. It gives you that flexibility so you can deal with changeable conditions on the day. Plus, if you are mixing in some harder efforts into your long ride, you don’t have to worry about overheating, as you can just remove those outer layers.
I really like having the modular layering system rather than committing to a full-on winter jacket, at least before the temperatures really do dip low enough that a winter jacket is necessary. GripGrab’s offering covers this purpose very well and so I’ve found myself pulling it on ride after ride. For me, it’s one of the best long sleeve jerseys for cycling.
GripGrab Gravelin MerinoTech: construction
Designed in Denmark - and in line with the quality one typically associates with the country - the Gravelin MerinoTech Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey uses a combination of recycled synthetic and merino wool fibers to achieve its desired effect.
This blend is said to give the soft and insulating qualities of wool, together with the durable and moisture wicking capabilities of the synthetic kind.
Cut wise, the jersey has a close yet comfortable fit. To put this another way, it provides a figure-hugging look that’s not cut too short at the front - so you also feel comfortable walking around in a cafe for that (much needed) coffee mid-ride pick-you-up.
Three easy-access pockets line the rear of the jersey, as well as one zipped side-entry pocket. This is a good size for stashing a card wallet or a set of keys. But it’s not waterproof nor large enough to store a smartphone, though.
The color palettes which most brands seem to be using for off-road gear is one of the reasons I love the recent gravel trend - I’ve always liked green but the tone of green can be so hit or miss. For example, anything luminous or lime-like is far, far, from what I like - and was very much the fashion when I first started cycling.
But now, the greens which brands are using are just right, my opinion, and the Olive Green of this jersey is an excellent example of this. Green lovers are not only appeased, the jersey is also available in a tasteful Mustard Yellow, Navy Blue and Black.
GripGrab Gravelin MerinoTech: the ride
Now onto how the jersey performed in use. From the moment I first pulled on the jersey I was impressed. The soft inner to the jersey is delightful against the skin, and the grid-patterned insulation was surprisingly warm for its low bulk. The full length YKK zip is effortless to use, and the fabric guard means you can wear the jersey without a base layer, if you choose.
Still, despite the warmth of the Merino fabric, it doesn't provide much in the way of wind protection. This wasn’t an issue for temperatures of around 8°C / 46°F - and I was quite thankful for the great breathability when putting in harder efforts on the hills. But when it was just a bit colder and combined with the strong winds at the top of the hills, that really did cut through the fabric of the jersey.
That’s not a problem for the jersey - it’s not trying to be a windproofing softshell layer - more just advice on where this jersey fits in within a layering system. I combined the Gravelin jersey with a gilet on days when it was just a bit colder and a packable rain jacket when it was closer to 5°C / 41°F and that worked well.
The sleeve length is on the long side. This is useful in some respects, as it helps ensure that there’s no bare skin gap when pairing with gloves that have a shorter cuff. On the other hand, it could potentially lead to some bunching with certain glove combinations, but I didn’t have any issues with this jacket.
The length of the body is good. It’s a little relaxed, but not to the extent that it bunches up too much when in the drops. Silicone dots line the inside of the bottom hem - this has been nicely done. They’re grippy enough to keep the jersey in place and the band is the right tightness which also helps it stay in place, without riding up (which I do find can be an issue when the band is too tight itself).
GripGrab Gravelin MerinoTech: value and conclusion
Priced at $169.95 / £129.95, the GripGrab Gravelin MerinoTech Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey is on the cheaper side. Rapha’s Brevet long sleeve jersey costs $210.00 / £155.00 and Sportul’s Bodyfit Pro is a whopping $292.49 / £215.00. But then again there are definitely cheaper options too, such as Specialized’s RBX Expert Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey which costs $125.00 / £80.00, for example.
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