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Belgian cycling kit manufacturer Vermarc produces kit for both Etixx Quick Step and Lotto Soudal professional race teams, so when it comes to clothing for wet and cold days they know a thing or two. The Zero Aqua PRR jersey superbly showcases that knowledge.
This weekend I had a bit of an off while riding the rather wet roads of Northern France at the Paris Roubaix challenge, and I wasn't even on a cobbled section. Nothing major, a couple of scratches here and there and a banged up knee. Seems irrelevant but oddly it was this crash that made me realise how highly I rate the Vermarc Zero Aqua Jersey, as I was far more concerned that I had put a hole in it than I was about the integrity of my own body parts.
The reason I love this jersey is the way the fabric handles rain. Granted it's not quite as much of a barrier to rain as a full on waterproof jacket, but without any kind of hard-shell type outer layer to the jersey, water just beads up and rolls right off you. On my first ride I was suitably impressed, but wary, as I've had supposedly waterproof clothing on test in the past that completely loses its 'waxed car' properties as soon as you even think about a washing machine. However, the Zero Aqua came out of the wash just as impermeable as it had been when it came out of the plastic packaging. At this point I knew I had a bit of a winner on my hands.
The breathability of the jersey is also excellent, especially considering its waterproof properties. A nice fleecy material on the inside keeps you warm on chillier mornings, and when paired with another jersey and/or base layer underneath, I was happy wearing the Aqua Zero down into the lower single digit temperatures.
Fit is as I've come to expect from Vermarc, excellent. Being tall and relatively skinny I sometimes have trouble with arm and torso lengths on jerseys but not the case with the Zero Aqua. The arms extend all the way to my wrists allowing for the all important glove overlap to be possible in colder conditions, and the back of the jersey was more than far enough down my back to achieve plenty of coverage. A silicone gripper at the edge also ensured that the jersey never rode up.
There is also a fold out flap to protect your bum which is a nice addition, and will keep at least a bit more of the rear wheel spray out of your bottoms. Having a way of being able to secure the flap up inside the jersey when it isn't needed would have been nice but I'm nitpicking.
The rear of the jersey has two large pockets, closed off by a single zip, which is then covered by a flap of material to ensure no water is going to leak through into the pockets. This worked excellently, and I had enough confidence to put my phone in the pockets with no extra water protection even on wet days. The zip is slightly fiddly to use when you're riding along, but this was a compromise I was happy to make in order to ensure my phone and wallet remained dry.
I'm trying to stay away from directly comparing the Zero Aqua to a Castelli Gabba as I've not spent that much time in a Gabba, but there's no doubt that comparisons can and will be drawn between the two. If it were my money, I think I'd buy the Zero Aqua. I see it as a slightly more versatile garment, that is £60 less than it's scorpion-emblazoned counterpart.
A note on the price. It's £125, and, yes, that is a lot of money but I would buy one of these in an instant. It's one of the best jerseys I've ever tested, and has become my go-to jersey on those days where it's threatening to rain/drizzling all day.
Overall, I have massively enjoyed using the Zero Aqua PRR jersey, and it cements my view that Vermarc are producing some of the best cycling kit around at the moment. This jersey has gone straight to the top of my wet weather kit bag.
Fantastic, well fitted, waterproof jersey for damp and cold conditions
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Make and model: Vermarc Zero Aqua PRR Long Sleeved Jersey
Size tested: M
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?
Vermarc guarantees Italian quality, efficiency and versatility. Vermarc means true Made in Italy craftsmanship but also means technological innovation.
We are leaders in development of technical cycling clothing, they dress the greatest champions and have a lot of passionate cycling fans.
Our top of the line Winter Jersey protects you from whatever the weather throws at you. Rain, snow, harsh winds, this jersey can take it all and then some. It's racing fit is designed with an aerodynamic slim fit forming a second skin that makes every movement natural and comfortable.
The special technology within the jersey evaporates moisture from perspiration incredibly quickly ensuring you stay warm no matter the temperature.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again from Vermarc:
Racing Fit: Cycling garments designed with an aerodynamic slim fit forming a second skin that makes every movement natural and comfortable
Extreme Weather: The Garments are made of a high quality technological fibres with advanced treatments for active protection against extreme rain, wind and cold conditions.
Visibility: The garments have reflective logos, strips or are available in a fluorescent colour to increase safety when riding.
Breathable: Advanced fibres and fabric construction block cold air and moisture from coming in while still keeping a high level of breathability.
Warm: Fabrics with a unique construction which evaporates moisture caused by perspiration ensuring a dry and warm feeling.
Waterproof: Innovative microfibre fabric that ensures high performance and completely waterproof base layer fabrics even under extreme conditions of use.
Silicone Strip: Silicone strips are used in the hem to prevent the jersey from riding up.
Windproof: 2 layer fabric with hydropholic membrane that ensures resistance to wind and light rain while maintaining a high level of breathability.
Suitable for Winter Riding: 8 deg and below
Survived a crash much better than some of my other kit.
Expensive but more than worth considering if you're in the market for a waterproof racing jersey.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The way rain just rolled right off.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Zips could have been a little easier to use.
Did you enjoy using the product? Absolutely.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,