The Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 is loud, proud and competitively priced. Although the fabrics and construction are fairly basic, as you'd expect at its £70 price, the cut and the fit are very good, it performs very well in warm weather and looks great. Compared to other brands' equivalents, the angled pockets are on the short side but this is only a very minor criticism of an otherwise excellent summer jersey.
Pockets could be taller
By Simon Smythe
The Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 jersey is not aimed at Rapha wearers - Primal Europe’s James Smith told me this himself.
Whereas the Rapha palette consists of mainly muted hues sampled from 1960s cycling (with the exception of the duck-based EF Education First kit of last year's Giro), Primal has screenshotted the pro peloton of the 1980s and 1990s and splashed the retina-searing colours of that era all across its kit.
Primal is loud and proud - but with this jersey priced at £70 also aims to undercut the brands with pretensions to designerdom.
Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 jersey: construction
The majority of the jersey is made from Primal’s Q3 Elite fabric, which is a breathable, lightweight polyester with a grid pattern of tiny squares.
There’s mesh at the sides, under the arms and at the back of the neck.
The raglan sleeves have raw-cut cuffs with a silicone print on the underside to keep them in place, and the waist gripper also has silicone dots next to white silicone Primal logos.
The seams are neatly flatlocked and very robust, and there’s a full-length YKK zip.
You get the standard three pockets at the back, with angled sides for easy access. There’s no zipped valuables pocket.
The chameleon fluoro-fade stripes are very striking indeed and will please those who rage each time a dark-coloured jersey gets a high score in a review. Obviously it’s down to the individual so I won’t comment, but these colours really do pop.
As for the fit, I’m wearing the size S and I’m 178cm and 68kg. Primal’s size chart suggested the medium for me, but if you’re after a close, racing-type fit it’s worth sizing down. The fabric has good four-way stretch properties and the seams are easily up to the job.
There are seven sizes to choose from, ranging from XS to 3X, and the Chameleon jersey is also available in 10 women's sizes, which is impressive.
I also found the neck fitted perfectly and the length was exactly right.
The lightweight fabric of the Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 is perfectly suited for summer riding and is very breathable. The outlines of the tiny squares all over the fabric are sheer, so airflow gets in very easily. I also found it wicked well and didn’t hold onto moisture.
I don’t tend to need a zipped valuables pocket as I tend to put loose things in a zipped Velopac and put it in the middle jersey pocket, saving the outer two for phone and a rolled up shell layer if the weather looks iffy - so the lack of zipped pocket didn’t bother me.
I did find, however, that the pockets could have been slightly taller - especially since the outer two are angled down and cut away - but I haven’t lost anything yet.
Overall I’ve been very happy with the way the Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 jersey has performed in summer weather, I like the cut, the fit and the design.
Value and conclusion
At £70 the Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 is competitively priced. However, although it’s not aimed at Rapha wearers, as we’ve established, the popular Rapha Core jersey at £60 does undercut it. The Le Col Sport Jersey II is more expensive at £95.
For comparison with more jerseys check out our buyer's guide.
Of course there are many jerseys that are much lower priced from the sports superstores such as Decathlon, but the Primal jersey is up there with the premium brands’ sub-£100 jerseys in quality and performance.
|Primal Chameleon Evo 2.0 jersey|
|Price at time of review||£70|
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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