We put Sportful's pro-tested jersey through its paces
If you thought you had to spend £100 (or more) to get a pro level jersey, then you’re wrong. The Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey retails at a very reasonable £65 and yet manages to the same sort of performance as what you generally get from the most expensive jerseys on the market.
The Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey was designed in collaboration with the pro riders at Tinkoff (for whom Sportful are the clothing sponsor), and is intended to be the perfect jersey for the pros’ longest training rides, and is the perfect jersey for your longest training rides too.
To give a bit of extra comfort, the cut is a little looser than that of some of the company’s other jerseys, such as the Sportful BodyFit jersey, but that’s by no means to say that there is loads of excess material that flaps in the wind and slows you down.
Most importantly, the Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey has now got an excellent fit around the shoulders and arms that sets it apart from some other jerseys around this price. Stretch panels on the shoulders mean that it sits really close to the skin and doesn’t flap in the wind, while the sleeve fit sung around your arms, staying perfectly in place.
As this is meant to be a comfortable jersey for long rides, the front of the jersey has a bit more material and a slightly looser fit. Not only does this improve comfort and give a better fit even when you’re riding in quite an upright position, but it also means that there’s a little leeway if, to put it kindly, your physique isn’t quite that of Chris Froome.
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At the back of the Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey are three large rear pockets that have enough storage for everything you could possibly want to take on the longest of rides, probably with a bit of space leftover. But it’s one thing making a jersey with big pockets, another thing entirely to make one that maintains its shape when those pockets are fully loaded, and thankfully I didn’t have any problems with these pockets sagging when weighed down with all sorts of bars and gels, and phones and keys when setting out at the start of a long day in the saddle.
Ventilation isn’t exceptional, but then the Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey isn’t designed to be a climber’s jersey. Instead the DryPro microfibre fabric is perfect for all but the hottest conditions, and still more than cool enough for all but one or two rides at the height of summer here in the UK.
This jersey ticks all the other little boxes that you’d expect too, with a full length YKK zipper that’s got a decent-sized tab that’s easy to grab even when using this jersey with full-finger gloves in chillier conditions, and a silicon gripper around the hem to keep the jersey in place (although frankly the fit is so good, that I don’t think this is really necessary.
Also good is the range of sizes and colours on offer. There are four different colour options. If you’re not feeling very colourful then there are black/white and white/black options (although even these have a flash of fluoro yellow to liven things up) as well as a red/black option alongside the blue/black you see here.
Finally, the Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey is available in six different sizes from S to 3XL, so there should be a size out there for everyone. There is also a women’s version that comes with very similar features, but of course a very different cut.
For more details visit the Sportful website.
The Sportful Gruppetto Team jersey shows that you don't have to break the bank to buy a jersey that is fit for the pros. For long days in the saddle, the loose cut at the front but slimmer design around the shoulders is perfect, and the good-sized pockets are an excellent feature too.