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The Sugoi RS Zero Long Sleeve Jersey is designed for 'comfort during cold weather rides'. How cold? The Zero part of the name implies freezing cold. If so, it's the invigorating dry cold of continental climates. In the bone-deep damp cold of the UK, the RS Zero is better suited to spring and autumn, when you can count on the thermometer climbing above 4 or 5 degrees.
It's difficult to be prescriptive because your comfort will depend on your own personal thermostat, and on the riding you're doing. For reference: with a long-sleeve base-layer underneath and usually a gilet over the top, I was warm enough in the RS Zero during January and February's better days. But there are other winter rides, particularly at night, where I reckon I'd have been facing hypothermia in the RS Zero. On those rides I was only just comfortable in a similarly-priced and almost impregnable Endura Premium Windtex softshell jacket, my default winter top.
The RS Zero is an altogether lighter garment than that. In a phrase that I'll happily pinch from Mat Brett, it's more jersey than jacket. It's primarily made from a mix (88%/12%) of polyester and spandex (i.e. lycra), so it's stretchy and close-fitting. The contrasting red panels are polyester, with a polyurethane laminate underneath. The chest and the leading edge of your arms are therefore more windproof. They're also showerproof. I didn't realise how showerproof until I tested it in the actual shower in my house, because I'd been depending on my gilet for additional protection on colder, grimmer rides. So long as you're motoring along, the RS Zero should keep the worst of the weather off your chest. The back? That leaks like a tea bag, so winter rain or wheelspray (ahem: mudguards) can make you properly cold.
The closest comparable jersey to the RS Zero that I've got in my cycling wardrobe is a Crane Pro Performance Cycling 'Jacket' from Aldi. That cost £29.99. It's not as weatherproof as the RS Zero on the chest - well, not unless you stick a carrier bag under the zip. (You get sweaty but it works.) And it's perhaps not tailored quite as well as the Sugoi in the arms.
On the other hand, the Aldi jacket has features the RS Zero doesn't: prominent reflectives; a zipped security pocket, so your phone won't leap out and get lost in a verge; and a front zip designed for a right-handed owner. The RS Zero's left-handed zip drove me nuts. I had no idea I was that cack-handed with my left hand. How long the jersey's got before I cross-thread and ruin the zip I don't know. Overall, though, I didn't find there was much to choose between them. They're equally comfortable and suit the same kind of temperatures. I wore whichever was clean.
Not everyone wants to shop at Aldi; I know that. The Sugoi RS Zero is quite a nice jersey, if you don't mind the price bump. The fit is good, the soft inner face of the fabric is comfortable, and the high collar and long back keep out the cold - as long as it's not too cold. The three elasticated rear pockets are like standard cycling jersey pockets, not like jacket pockets; they're good for lighter items only, such as a mini pump, a phone, and keys.
The RS Zero can be machine washed on a cold setting. The label says 'wash separately' but I haven't got time for that nonsense. It went in with the rest of my bike gear and came out okay.
Sizes: S-XXL, and also in a women's version.
A comfortable, well-cut jersey for spring or autumn that lacks winter warmth and a few useful details
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Make and model: Sugoi RS Zero LS Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sugoi say: The pinnacle in performance thermal long sleeve riding jersey, featuring advanced fabrics and detailing for comfort during cold weather rides.
I say: it's a cool weather jersey.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windproof Firewall 180 chest and arm panels with breathable mid-zero thermal insulation in the back
Ergonomic collar and sleeve construction for a contoured ride position fit
Full length zipper for ventilation
3 rear pockets for storing ride essentials
Firewall 180, MidZero fabric
Excellent moisture transfer
Pro fit: garments with a pro fit designation are anatomically form fitted to the body for optimal performance and low wind drag. These garments are ideally suited for cyclists with a lean athletic build
It's well cut for the typical cyclist's build.
Good for cool weather riding. Not warm enough for me for grimmer winter riding, even with a base layer and a gilet.
Stitching is fine so far.
It's fairly light for a off-season jersey.
Nice and snug against the body, but I felt cold sometimes.
£80 is a chunk of change, but it's not ridiculously expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well, so long as it's not too cold out and you keep moving.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Windproof chest. Well cut.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The left-handed zip.
Did you enjoy using the product? Most of the time, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Only if it was in a sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Ditto.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I'd happily have this in my cycling wardrobe, and I'd uses it when the circumstances were right, but I wouldn't especially miss if it wasn't there.
Age: 45 Height: 1.78m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track. Or Whyte M109
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,