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The Triban RC 500 Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey is a lightweight garment designed for hot weather riding. It's available in a choice of three colours and continues the superstore Decathlon's tradition for high spec and modest pricing.
Typical of most jerseys, it's 100% polyester, with silicone grippers at the arms and hem. So what's the difference between a hot weather and standard short sleeve jersey? Well, the "hot weather" breed are characterised by thinner main fabrics, long sleeves and mesh ventilated panels, running from armpit to base. I'm surprised high SPF yarns aren't standard issue, although this would have a price implication, of course, therefore I wasn't expecting the Triban RC500 to boast this – it doesn't.
Raglan sleeves are another very good sign, promising unrestricted movement and, ultimately, superior comfort, especially on long rides. Flat seams and a waffle wave inner continue this theme.
The Triban RC 500 also features a full-length zipper and cooling mesh around the lower back, where laden pockets can accentuate clamminess. Talking of pockets, there are four: three deep ones, reinforced for bottles, smartphones, snacks and so on, and a zippered one mid-terrace, for stowing valuables.
Zipper fobs are a small detail many overlook. The main one is slightly chunkier, making it easier to operate mid ride; I would have preferred a slightly beefier option at the rear too, but this was easily rectified with a black cable tie.
Large was my default for many years, on account of being broader across the shoulders. These days, it seems I'm better served by most brands' mediums, so I was surprised to discover our small/medium literally felt tailor-made. (Tass had a similar thing going on with the Van Rysel RR 900 jersey from Decathlon's race range.)
It may be worth mentioning that I am proportionately much shorter in the body and long limbed. The sleeves stopped just above the elbows, due in part to generous, tactile silicone grippers, but it's worth paying close attention to the sizing chart rather than guessing.
There have been plenty of smiles per mile, and I'm struggling to see why you'd need to spend more for a summer/autumn staple. That said, compared with more expensive models, the fabric feels slightly synthetic against bare skin.
This is quickly forgotten after a few miles, whereupon the fabric does its job very competently. With temperatures in the mid 20s the fibres take slightly longer to commence wicking than more expensive fare, but it's still superior to traditional, mid-range short sleeves, especially around the lower back and arm pit areas. At 28 degrees or so, I pack a bottle filled with iced (or very, very cold) water in a mid pocket to take things down a notch or two.
While fabrics have become thinner in recent years, most brands have got the balance between stretch and security right. Laden with a 650ml bottle, banana and 6in smartphone, there's been some mild "bob" over lumpier tarmac and unmade roads, but this wasn't distracting and I only came close to a bottle launch once, off road when catching a sneaky little bump at 27mph.
The silicone grippers do their job impeccably, going unnoticed save for keeping sleeves and hem exactly where I wanted them, regardless of how long I rode or alternating between hoods and drops.
As a rough 'n' ready, expect moisture transfer to kick in after ten minutes' sustained effort, whereupon the inner climate never exceeded a warm glow. Need to shift that glow? Drop the zipper a few notches.
As I suggested earlier, the zipper tag is surprisingly easy to operate mid-ride. I've drawn it up with nominal distraction while commencing a 30mph descent. Even when grinding up some long gradients on the fixed, I've never needed to exceed half mast.
I have been caught in the odd passing thundery shower without a micro jacket, but once the showers passed I was dry within 15 minutes, cycling at a steady 18mph.
Odour control is also pretty favourable. I was still socially acceptable after a day and 60-odd steady miles. I purposely wore it for three days in succession. Shorter rides, between 20 and 40 miles, then hand washed in lukewarm water, just to see how practical it would be for weekend/short tours. Not machine fresh, but no unpleasant taint either. Bargain on it being line dry in around 20 minutes.
On the subject of washing, Decathlon recommends turning it inside out and sticking to 30 degree cycles. To date, I've tossed ours in with civilian 40 degree loads with no problems (although I did segregate from whites, in case someone's pants emerged with a 'blue-rinse').
Pitted against others of the hot weather breed, there's not much direct competition. Though the fabric is lighter and, therefore, a little airier, Altura's Icon Warp is also nearly twice the asking price.
Decathlon's own Van Rysel race range includes the RR 900, which is lighter than the Triban and, according to tester Stu, 'delivers top-level race performance on a budget' for just a tenner more at rrp.
The RC 500 certainly offers a lot more than traditional summer jerseys, some with proportionately bigger price tags. In terms of direct competitors, Funkier's Stream Gents Short Sleeve Active jersey still represents good value at £34.99 but can't match the Triban's specification and performance.
Summing up, it's very hard to see where you could go wrong with the Triban, when everything's taken into account. With a slightly heavier weave than more expensive designs, it's a very good bet for summer and early autumn, not to mention indoor trainer service during the darker months.
Capable summer-weight jersey for a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Triban RC 500 Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Triban says, "This comfortable and well-ventilated short-sleeved Triban cycling jersey is perfect for hot-weather rides. Our designers have incorporated mesh fabric under the arms and at the sides to effectively wick away perspiration, while an elasticated waist and strips on the arms provide exceptional flexibility."
My feelings: It's a very capable budget jersey, marginally heavier than some premium brands but performance isn't far behind, either.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Decathlon website:
100.00% Polyester (PES)
86.00% Polyester (PES), 14.00% Elasthane
Seems well made and detailing also up to scratch.
Not quite on a par with lighter premium brand products, but very close, especially when the price differential is taken into account.
Seems rugged enough and a two-year warranty suggests Triban is pretty confident, too.
Semi-fitted and marginally more relaxed than some I've tested recently, which is no bad thing for general riding.
Worth checking if you fall between sizes, but otherwise the sizing chart is accurate enough for online purchases.
158g is 20 odd grams heavier than some I've tested recently but still very svelte.
Generally very good, although feels a little more synthetic than others.
Excellent, by all jersey standards, and very hard to beat when compared directly with other 'hot weather' jerseys. Funkier's Stream Gents Short Sleeve Active jersey, still represents good value but can't match the Triban's specification and performance. Decathlon's racier Van Rysel RR 900 is very good but even that's a tenner more.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward. Pop in with the regular wash at 30/40 degrees and drip-dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Triban jersey has impressed me with its performance. Compared with some, the yarn has a more synthetic feel against the skin. However, this is soon forgotten and the fabric does a very good job of regulating temperatures, particularly on hot rides. A full length zipper ensures easy climate control. Silicones are tactile yet very effective at keeping everything in situ, and the rear pockets store a generous amount of kit, very securely.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice design, good features and very competitive pricing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really, given the asking price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great performance all round. Some minor trade-offs, like it's more "synthetic" feeling than some against the skin, but otherwise it's hard to fault, given the asking price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)