A thermal jersey that'll see you through autumn and milder winter days in comfort whilst being just about capable of dealing with the very coldest conditions when layered up
Liv is a brand primarily revered for its bike design, so the clothing end of the company tends to fall beneath the radar a little – which is a shame, because the sister brand to Giant offers a wide variety of kit, from shoes to helmets and everything in between.
The Flara thermal jersey is designed to keep cyclists warm in the autumn and winter, utilising ThermaTextura fleeced fabric to offer insulation, whilst still wicking away the sweat we all produce, however cold the thermostat declares the outside to be.
Putting the jersey to use on a freezing Sunday club run, I layered it up with a base layer and heavyweight gilet. Despite questioning my sanity whilst negotiating patches of black ice on the way to the designated meeting spot, I was warm enough once moving, though in hindsight would have chosen a chinkier layer had I checked the temperature before leaving.
Though the kit coped and I felt warm on the move, it’s not really a one/two°c sort of garment. On warmer days, when temperatures sat easily in the positive figures, this jersey was ideal, whilst still allowing my skin to breathe and avoiding overheating.
The fit is described by Liv as ‘club fit’, so I was expecting a garment with a fair amount of give. There was indeed plenty of stretch, but the size 8 I had on test clung to my skin closely and provided more an aero fit than the loose ensemble I was expecting. I’d view this as a positive, but if you’re looking for a casual layer, it may be worth sizing up.
Sticking to the fit theme, I did find the sleeves were pretty tight, especially around the upper arm when piling over a base layer. They’re finished off with raw-cut elasticated bands, which keep the cold air out and look pretty classy, lending a premium touch.
There’s an elastic gripper with added silicone at the bottom, to keep the jersey in place as you move, plus reflective details for added visibility, and a full zip – all traditional elements you’d expect.
At the pockets, Liv has gone against the grain – with two main compartments, covered over with a flap of material, plus one zipped compartment overlaid on top of the right rear.
The positive side to this is that the chance of items falling out of the top of the pocket is reduced, thanks to the extra flap on top. The high stretch material also means that kit placed in the pockets doesn’t bounce around.
The negative is that the pocket wasn’t tall enough for my pump. Admittedly, in the age of Co2, I’m in the minority in carrying one at all – but if you’re in the same select group of traditionalists, this could represent a problem.
Finally, on a value note, the Liv Flara comes in at £79.99 – which places it at the cheaper end of the scale, and seems about right for a garment that feels performance led, and high quality, without offering the bells and whistles of water resistance and windproofing.
A mid-weight thermal jersey that will work well in autumn, in milder winter conditions, and just about copes when layered up on close-to-zero days. It's designed to be 'club fit', but we found it closer to aero, though that's no bad thing. The pocket design won't suit everyone, and the sleeves could do with a bit more give, but we found this jersey on the whole to be warm, comfortable, and suited to all but the coldest of UK winter days.