Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. Vulpine's Women's Long Sleeve Merino T-Shirt does just what it needs to and does it well.
Merino's popularity has risen over the last few years, as has the trend for kit you can live in as well as cycle in, rather than kit that marks you out as a die-hard road warrior.
Vulpine sources high quality 100 per cent merino wool from New Zealand sheep for its jerseys. If you haven't tried its merino tops before you will be hard-pressed to believe quite how well they deal with sweat. It really is true that you can wear them from bike to boardroom (check the dress code), and I even used mine to deal with recent cold/fever flu sweats.
It works as a top on its own, or because the back pocket is so smooth and simple, you can slip a dress over it for a more formal look.
This portablity of use is why the Long Sleeve tee is worth the hefty price tag – because for all the time you wear it on the bike, you will wear it the same amount off the bike too. It is made for cycling (long enough arms, dropped back, very discreet reflective on the back pocket) but pretends really hard not to be.
Vulpine is hot on comfort, and the Long Sleeve tee employs flatlock stitching and no sewn-in labels to ensure that, when functioning as a base layer, it can go all day without causing any irritation. The simple round neck lends itself to pairing with a buff when out in colder weather, and I've been toasty teaming this with the Ultralight Jacket and nothing else.
Available in grey and blue, the Long Sleeve tee comes in XS-XL, covering roughly sizes 8-16. It isn't shrink-wrap but it is flatteringly fitted.
There is a limit to how complex a merino T-shirt should be. Vulpine has looked at that boundary and drawn back, producing an extremely wearable go-anywhere top that could work from autumn right through into late spring, either on its own or as a baselayer.
Stunningly simple, this long sleeve merino tee does exactly what it should – with style
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Women's LS Merino Tee
Size tested: Large
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?
Vulpine says: "Made from pure merino wool, our beautifully soft, sweat wicking and odourless, our Long Sleeve Merino Tee will get worn for work, pub, as a baselayer and everything beyond.
"Once you're wearing our long sleeve merino T, its going to be tricky finding other stuff to wear. Its so comfortable and performs right across the scale from Friday stylish night pub lounging to Sunday morning clubrun baselayer. As ever, we use pure merino, not a blend, for maximum comfort, odour resistance and temperature control. Its cut just right for cyclinga and life. Go on, treat yourself.."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MERINO Pure 180g Merino. Fast drying & comfortable.
CUT FOR CYCLING Made for riding, cut longer at the rear
ANTI CHAFE Printed care instructions and flatlock stitching for ultimate comfort, and no scratchy labels
VULPINE BRANDING Subtle embroidered logo
No loose threads, washes well.
Does what it says on the tin.
Wearing well, and the short-sleeved version is barely changed after three years of wear and wash.
Soft and well cut.
Expensive, but shop around and you can find it cheaper (and they were £35 for a while in the sale).
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
You can wear it for days withour washing (if you want to).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, really. Wider colour range?
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, leisure