A comfortable jersey for those seeking relaxed-fit cycling kit which offers breathability and sweat wicking. The design won't be to all tastes, but Primal has a huge collection of alternatives in the same fit and price bracket.
Eye-catching design stands out
Entry-level price tag
Same eye-catching design not to all tastes
Primal Europe has a reputation for creating eye-catching clothing and accessories for cyclists. Not for the shrinking violet is the Primal B-Leaf Women's Cycling jersey.
Sporting a bold, leaf-themed pattern, this is a jersey designed to celebrate our environment. Primal suggests it's about much more than a pretty pattern, encouraging riders to don the kit and "B-Leaf in yourself in this earth conscious piece".
The B-Leaf jersey is part of a wide-ranging collection of 'sport cut' options in Primal Europe's extensive wardrobe, and the same cut can also be applied to custom-printed wear using its printing service. Sitting at a more entry level price tag, the sport-cut jerseys are designed to offer a relaxed fit.
Although, the fabric is meant to be close fitting enough so as not to flap around on the bike, whilst still offering breathing room (and space for the odd cafe-stop cake).
The sleeves are fairly short, finishing well above the mid-bicep position you might find on an aero jersey. They don't hug tightly, meaning there's little danger of them being too tight and space for the free movement of circulating air makes for breathability.
The fabric itself is called SpeedPro. It's a plaited double knit which uses a micro yarn combined with a higher-denier filament material. The result is a lightweight construction which draws sweat from the skin and pushes it away from the body.
The material is made in its entirety from polyester, which is known for its quick drying properties and breathability. No hint of elastane makes for a looser fit than you might get from the snap-to-skin feel of a more race orientated jersey, though there is some give in the two-way mechanical stretch. The SPF 35 rating means skin should be protected from harmful rays.
The Primal B-Leaf Women's Cycling Jersey has a full-length zip, as well as three rear pockets. Eagle eyes will notice that in a flourish of dedication, the leaf print continues inside the pockets. The middle pocket features a mesh lined zipped compartment on the outside, with a silver high-vis strip for additional safety. The labels are printed on the inside so there's no scratchy tags.
A notable absence is that of a silicone gripper or elastication at the bottom of the jersey. This offers the rider a bit more freedom to move around, but does also mean that there's a greater chance of it riding up.
The B-Leaf jersey is available in sizes XS to 2X. I had a size medium, which on my size 8/10 frame was too generous, resulting in excess fabric I didn't need.
The size chart uses waist, chest and hip measurements. These can be pretty dubious since few women find all three measurements fit into one category - but to be fair to Primal going on my dimensions I do fit neatly into the small on all fronts. The sizing is therefore accurate.
In most cycling kit, I can cross over between small and medium quite happily, so it's worth bearing in mind that this is more generously cut than most brands out there. This will please those who struggle to find kit that fits - especially since there are options right up to 2X, but might leave smaller framed riders finding the XS too baggy.
The fabric was breathable and light, and I was able to work hard on the bike without feeling like I was overheating. The sleeves were wide and unrestrictive, this meant they felt light and airy – not too dissimilar to wearing a normal t-shirt, a feature those who don't like to feel 'over-Lycra'd' will appreciate.
The compact three rear pockets were small enough that they didn't encroach upon my hips when loaded, but could take enough kit required for a day out, whilst the zipped compartment proved handy for easily lost essentials like keys and debit cards. The lack of gripper at the hem was neutralised by the relaxed fit, so the jersey didn't ride up when on the bike.
The design certainly drew comments. It's not to all tastes, but Primal does have a huge selection of designs in a similar fabric and fit, so there really is something to suit most personality types.
The B-Leaf jersey sits at a fairly entry level price point, at £50. By comparison, jerseys in the performance oriented Helix range - with laser cut arm bands and mesh panels for breathability - sit at £90. Paying more provides you with performance features that those after a race fit will enjoy, but for £50 the B-Leaf in sport cut represents a saving and offers everything you need to be comfortable on relaxed days out on the bike.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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