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No matter which way you look at it, the Huez Starman Seamless jersey is a little odd. It blurs the lines between baselayer and traditional jersey, combining a tight, zip-free fit with three rear pockets and reflective detailing. It's certainly a quality item; whether it's worth the price tag will depend on what you want from a jersey.
The first thing you notice on handling the Starman jersey is the sheer number – five in total – of different weaves, each one employed to optimise different areas of the jersey for fit and breathability.
The front panel, for example, uses a fairly heavy weave, while the back panel is much more open to promote cooling. Specifying multiple weaves or fabrics in a jersey is hardly new, but the way Huez have employed this, together with ultrasonically welded seams (hence the seamless name) lends the jersey a very sleek look that gives the impression of quality.
Although technically handwash only (yeah, right), I've put the Starman through multiple machine wash cycles and it's come out as good as new each time.
Along with the majority polyamide content, the fabric is also composed of 18% elastane which, as you might expect, gives the material loads of stretch. So stretchy in fact that getting the jersey on and off is actually a bit of a challenge! Along with the stretch, über-sticky silicone bands on the arms and waist grip tenaciously to any material or skin underneath, making it very difficult to pull it over your head. The flip-side is that once the jersey is on, it stays put.
As with most jerseys you'll find three pockets at the rear, with an added reflective strip along the top. The pockets are well reinforced so you can carry all the food and spares required for a long ride without excessive sagging, even considering the stretchy fabric. The pockets are generously sized too, and easy to access when riding.
Because of the material's stretch, this is a jersey that's designed to be worn snug, and the sizes reflect that – the S/M tested offered a skintight fit on my skinny cyclist's torso. The best build for it is probably the male model look (see Huez's website for an example). Those with any excess around the midriff – or stick-thin arms at the other extreme – will struggle to rock the look. It's a lot like wearing a baselayer but on the outside, a look that will probably have more limited appeal than standard Lycra...
The material does feel great against the skin and the stretch ensures that it never feels restrictive, but it's also pretty heavy and begins to heat up quite quickly. The lack of a front zip of any kind means there are no options to improve ventilation on a hot climb, or if the mercury rises as the day progressess; anything above about 22C and it became too hot on any sort of sustained climb. Below that, and down to about 15C, it was very comfortable; sadly, that would probably cover you for most of the British summer. You'd probably get some wear under your jacket in the colder months too, as it's comfy as a baselayer.
At times the Huez Starman Seamless jersey feels a bit conflicted, as if it can't decide whether it's a baselayer or a proper jersey. Having said that, if you think the unique look will suit you, the quality of construction is impressive and the fit very comfortable.
A unique and comfortable jersey that employs impressive technology. The fit and lack of ventilation will rule it out for some
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Make and model: Huez Starman Seamless Cycle Jersey
Size tested: S/M black
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?
Huey say: "The Huez* Starman Cycle Jersey is at the heart of our Sport range. The fully seamless construction with Darklight visibility makes for a perfect jersey that is both comfortable and stylish.
"Crafted from highly technical polyamides every section of this garment has five different stitch constructions designed to specifically enhance your performance, giving more breathability and flexibility to the areas that need it.
"Silicone detailing around the hem and sleeves also prevents the jersey from riding up no matter how hard you're attacking your ride.
"Three rear pockets ensure you can pack away your shades, pump, Starman Storm Jacket and fuel."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
52% Polyamide Emana
30% Polyamide Q-Skin™
Q-Skin™: The innovative Q-Skin™ features characteristics that are unique and inimitable thanks to the highly pure silver ions inserted directly into the fibres during the spinning process, thus guaranteeing non-allergenic performance, breathability, hygiene, comfort against the skin, resistance to washing out, and environmental friendliness.
Reflectivity: 3M®'s brilliant reflective technology keeps you highly visible when darkness falls.
Silicone Grip: Ultra-grippy silicone keeps the garment firmly in place.
Ultrasonic Seam Welding: Seaming without stitching which results in completely flat seams to eliminate chafing.
The jersey includes 3 large rear pockets and is available in 2 sizes: S/M and L/XL and 2 colours: white and black
Very impressive use of different weaves which blend seamlessly into one another thanks to the ultrasonic seam welding.
The lack of front zip means it's harder to regulate your temperature than with some jerseys. The Starman's tight fit won't be to everyone's taste but from a performance point of view it makes sense.
Despite the stated requirement for hand wash only, I've put the Starman through the machine on multiple occasions and it's doing just fine.
The jersey feels significantly heavier than other premium short sleeve jerseys, and is less suited to hotter temperatures. That might mean it gets more wear in the spring and autumn though.
The very stretchy fabric and low cut around the neck make for a very comfortable jersey.
It's great quality but I found it a bit limited in terms of usage.
Did you enjoy using the product? I felt a bit self conscious
Would you consider buying the product? I can't really pull this look off!
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Depends on the friend
Age: 22 Height: 190cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, mountain biking
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.