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The Specialized Women's Trail Thermal Jersey is a versatile and lightweight design for everything from gravel riding to mountain biking and grabbing a drink after a ride. It worked seriously well even in freezing temperatures, though the kangaroo pocket did seem like an added extra I could have done without.
If the Trail Thermal Jersey has piqued your interest, check out our guide to the best winter cycling jerseys for more options.
Made using Polartec's Power Grid fabric, this thermal jersey is designed for cooler days on the bike, whether that be a mountain, gravel, or urban bike. It's an adaptable jersey, and with subtle branding it doesn't scream performance wear, meaning I'd be happy wearing it out and about after a ride or even on a walk.
The technical performance is excellent. While I didn't exactly shred many trails while wearing the jersey, I did use it in a variety of riding, from local bridleways to urban riding on e-bikes, as well as walking and playing outside with the dog in the November and December freezing weather. I rarely felt cold in the jersey, and only thought about wearing a baselayer underneath when it got to about 5°C.
When riding it's still breathable even with the technical thermal fabrics, and I never overheated, although the temperatures I tested it in were below 10°C.
The only issue I had with the jersey was the kangaroo pouch, which can sag a bit. There's a zipped pocket inside the pouch, which is really handy for putting keys and cards in when heading out for a ride, but while the pouch itself is somewhere to put your hands when standing around in the cold, when I tried putting my phone in as well as my wallet, to avoid having to bring a coat with me, it was reasonably secure but I did notice some sagging after a few hours of use.
I tested the size small, which according to the size guide suggests it leans towards a UK 10, or a very generous 8. I'm typically an 8 and found it a little baggy, but when I'm not riding a road bike I quite like a loose fit, and this is exactly that – relaxed but not so much that it's excessive and material is flapping in the wind.
The sleeves are a nice length and the cuffs weren't tight or restrictive like you often find in thermal jerseys. Crucially, for me, I was able to check my watch without a struggle or having to remove my gloves.
At £65 it's not a cheap jersey, but it's also not break-the-bank money either, and compares well against others.
Looking at other casual cycling jerseys we've tested on road.cc and off.road.cc, the Scott Women's Trail Vertic Long Sleeve Jersey is more mountain bike specific and similarly priced at £64, but isn't thermal, while the Gore Explore Shirt Women's, which Lara reviewed last year, is more expensive at £79.99, but does include merino, though it doesn't come with long sleeves.
Findra's Caddon Merino Jersey is another option, which Caroline really liked when she tested it in 2019, but it's £100 (though currently reduced to £75). Then again, as the name suggests, it is made from merino wool, and ethically sourced merino at that.
Overall, the Specialized Trail Thermal Jersey is a great bit of kit. It's warm, breathable and light, and has a nice relaxed fit without any massive branding. Without a decent baselayer it probably wouldn't be suitable for deep weather riding on its own, but worn with other layers I can't see why this couldn't be a two-season jersey.
Great versatile top, warm enough for winter but breathable so you're not sweating buckets
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Women's Trail Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
'The new Trail Thermal Jersey utilizes Polartec® Power Grid™ fabric to keep you warm and comfy, all while being exceptionally breathable. It's the perfect option for cool days on the trail, or even as a long sleeve when you're grabbing a post-ride beverage.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fabric outer surface is engineered to disperse moisture for fast evaporation.
Lightweight garment keeps you extremely warm while preventing excess weight and bulkiness on your body.
Front Kangaroo Pocket with hidden secure zipper holds your keys or credit cards right to your body.
4-way stretch fabrication allows for a comfortable fit in all areas of the garment.
Relaxed Mountain Bike Fit is the perfect blend of generous and tailored, providing a loose, comfortable fit for the trail.
Fabric Content: 91% Polyester, 9% Spandex Knit.
Kept me nice and warm when riding in November/December temperatures thanks to the Polartec Power Grid fabric, and felt really lightweight and comfortable.
The pocket did start to sag after I used it to put my phone in once or twice and other smaller, lighter items. I'm not sure the material lends itself to having such a big pocket in the front. Otherwise it hasn't shown any signs of bobbling or other wear and tear.
The Trail Thermal Jersey has a nice relaxed fit with enough room underneath for a long sleeve baselayer for when the weather demands it.
I tested the size small and felt it was close to true sizing; it is designed to be relaxed, so if you want something a bit closer fitting I'd suggest going a size down.
The jersey felt really light and surprised me with how well the fabric worked, given its thinness.
It's not the most expensive jersey on the market, but it's not cheap, either. The Trail Thermal Jersey does have a style that could see it being used for off-the-bike activities as well, as it's nicely insulating without being heavy. With no merino in sight, it's difficult to compare to other 'thermal' jerseys as that's often the go-to material. However, the Scott Women's Trail Vertic Long Sleeve Jersey is another technical trail jersey around the same price, but not thermal, though off.road.cc reviewer Rhian liked the breathability and tech in this jersey.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed at 30 degrees with no evident wear and tear or shrinking.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I used it for a mixture of light off-road riding (think hybrid e-bike), urban riding and walks, and it surprised me with how well it kept me warm even in the biting freezing weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, how well the Polartec Power Grid fabric works to keep you warm, and the thinness of the jersey.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The kangaroo pocket – it began to sag a little after putting my phone in it.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Gore Explore Shirt Women's shares the relaxed fit and technical fabrics, but is £15 more – though not long sleeved (but does include merino) – while the Scott Women's Trail Vertic Long Sleeve Jersey is more evenly matched in terms of price (£64), but lacks the thermal properties of the Specialized.
Findra's Caddon is £100, though it is made of merino.
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
It's a jersey that surprised me with its thermal abilities for something so lightweight. It's comfortable on the bike and isn't such a relaxed fit that you find the extra material flapping in the wind. The only gripe I have is with the kangaroo pocket; the zipped inner pocket works well and keeps things like keys secure, but I'd say the kangaroo pouch is unneeded unless you're very casually riding. All in all, though, it's very good, and well priced, too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Bianchi Oltre XR1 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Gravel