Alé R-EV1 Race women’s short sleeved jersey

With a design based on pro team skinsuits and windtunnel testing, it's hard to ignore the Italian brand's aero claims

Score

8/10

Pros

  • Aero design
  • Soft fabric

Cons

  • Tight sleeves

Price as reviewed:

£130

Anyone else noticed a starkly polarised reaction when Italian brand Alé comes up in conversation?

>>> Buy now: Alé race women’s short sleeved jersey at Wiggle from £97

Most male riders I know will comment on the bold – sometimes called likably brash or even garish – designs which stand out from the pack. Comparatively, women almost always acknowledge the excellent fit as the stand-out attribute.

>>> Best cycling jerseys

Alé’s women’s kit has always provided me with an excellent fit, and though some of the more ‘expressive’ designs aren’t to my taste, the collection almost always includes a few block colour beauties, such as the Race jersey on test.

Though we’re not given a watt-saving figure, the short-sleeved creation has been wind tunnel tested and was developed alongside pro riders, utilising technology from the brand’s skinsuit range – so it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t save the wearer a few power points in the saddle.

Short-sleeved is a debatable description here – since the aero rib fabric actually stopped just above my elbow. Designed to reduce drag, it does feel slippery fast. The brand’s ‘Body Mapping’ tech is in play here, with material strategically placed in order to optimise performance – in this case the aero ridged material extends into the shoulder panels to ensure areas that catch the wind are covered in a speed-maintaining wrap.

I did find that the bonded hem of the sleeve dug in a little, and I’d rather a cleaner finish such as a laser cut or raw edge. However, Alé says it’s this bonded technology that adds to the aerodynamics, and without comparing this and a raw edge in the wind tunnel myself, it’s hard to dispute. It’s certainly not a grip that’s likely to move around on a blustery day.

The body fabric uses a polyamide and elastane mix with almost one-third (28 per cent) the latter. Coupled with black side panels, this creates the great fit which Alé is renowned for.

It’s suggested that riders size up when choosing this race-focused jersey. I stuck to a small, as per my other items from the same brand – and found the fit to be spot on, though of course closer to the skin than the more relaxed garments.

The jersey is shorter in the body when compared with other Alé women’s upper layers, and straighter along the hem, forgoing the popular longer hip section featured elsewhere in the collection, and particularly pronounced in the PRR range. This departure is in keeping with the racing goal and creates a low-drag and lightweight piece of kit which tips the scales at 135g.

Mesh fabric is used at the side panels to ensure the rider stays cool, and I’d be happy donning this jersey for long days in the mountains.

At the rear, there’s three pockets plus an additional zipped compartment, and I had no issues fitting all the must-have gear into them. The hem is bonded, as per the sleeves, and stayed put during rides.

The creators have included some reflective details on the sleeves, and the material offers protection from UV rays which always adds to peace of mind when riding in sunny conditions.

There’s four colour options available – black, pink, a fetching plum red and my own selection, teal blue, in a range of sizes from XS to 2XL.

At £130, this isn’t a cheap jersey. The £100 mark is a reasonable benchmark for a basic aero road jersey, but this item does come with wind tunnel assurance and the aero ridge sleeves plus soft body fabric do feel great against the skin and fast in the face of resistance.

Verdict

A mostly great fit with aero claims to boot, this block colour beauty really impressed us – though however aero they might be, we did find the tight sleeves a little bit of a let-down.