Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey review

The featherweight and airy Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey is the one Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan will reach for when the Tour hits the mountains

sportful R&D ultralight jersey
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey is true to its name and stands up as one of the best hot weather jerseys available. With practical, large pockets and a very ventilated construction it would be an excellent choice for tackling the higher mountains. The fabrics and cut will appeal to racers and TT specialists for use as a race jersey to broaden the appeal.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Sub 100g ‘barely there’ weight

  • +

    Very good ventilation

  • +

    Great as an aero race/TT jersey

  • +

    Excellent fit

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can get chilly on longer descents

  • -

    Aggressively tight fit might not suit all riders

  • -

    Don’t forget the suncream

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Sportful has worked closely with the Tinkoff team to create a range of clothing to meet the high demands and standards of the likes of Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador for use during the most important races of the year. The good news is Sportful have also created the R&D mirror range so that mere mortals such as ourselves can purchase and benefit from this pro level collaboration.

>>> Buyer's guide to summer cycling jerseys

The Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey is designed to be the go to jersey for riding in when the temperature climb above 25°C. Made of a semi-open Diablo mesh fabric on the body and a more stretchy AirMesh material on the shoulders and arms it feels gossamer light and thin to the point of bordering on transparent.

sportful r&d ultralight jersey climber's mesh fabric

The see through mesh fabric gives excellent breathability

On first fit it feels very snug, almost to the point of having to pour yourself into it; but when zipped up the Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey somehow manages to balance compression and comfort wonderfully well.

>>> Buyer's guide to summer cycling clothing

As expected it practically feels like you are riding without a top on given the airy feel when riding, especially as Sportful recommend the jersey to be worn without a baselayer for maximum effect. This is very welcoming on very hot and still days but the obvious downside is descending at speed or riding into a chilly breeze cools the body a little too much. I certainly would recommend taking a gilet with you for such occasions.

Watch: how to dress for hot conditions

From an aero perspective the Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey performs brilliantly also. The longer cut arms are raw cut with no stitching so lay very flat making it difficult to know where jersey ends and skin starts. With a low collar and such a racy cut if you plan to do a couple of evening time trials or a spot of racing it could be perfect.

>>> Best summer cycling clothing deals available right now

I don’t think it is the right jersey to turn up to a steady club run in, however if you do choose it for longer rides for such a lightweight jersey the pockets are large and practical. The materials still offer a UPF10 rating to give your skin some UV protection but I would still slather yourself in SPF cream just in case.

sportful r&d ultralight jersey lazer cut sleeves

The lazer cut sleeves give an aero fit

The fade effect colour scheme has grown on me but the Sportful R&D Ultralight jersey is also available in standard colours.

For more details visit the Sportful website.

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