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The (take a deep breath) Universal Colours Spectrum Light Men's Short Sleeve Jersey is made entirely from post-consumer recycled Italian fabrics and is extremely light and breathable – ideal for summer riding. Its performance was excellent during the recent 35°C heatwaves (stop sniggering all you in your hot countries...), and though it's easily a match for other jerseys at the same price, that price is still not insignificant.
Universal Colours is a relatively new brand; its first products emerged in the summer of 2020. This Spectrum Light jersey is its featherweight climbing option, and that certainly rings true – it's just 78g on our scales. Compare that to other 'lightweight 'climbing jerseys and that's impressive, with the Gore Chase jersey for example about average at 119g, and even the impressive Endura Pro SL Lite SS jersey at 94g.
Sometimes lightweight jerseys can lack structure, but the fit here is nothing short of brilliant. The fabric has just the right amount of stretch to be tight without being restrictive, and it rapidly became my go-to for long rides during the test period's heatwaves.
It's breathable and fast drying, so does an excellent job of wicking away sweat to keep you cool and comfortable. The seams are very low profile and Universal Colours says they're 'ultrasonically welded' whether that involves Dr Who or not I can't say, but it certainly 'seams' to work... sorry...
The three pockets are of an average size – plenty deep enough to securely hold a sizeable phone, pocket pump or packable gilet – but I would have been grateful for a zipped valuables pocket. The pockets do a good job of not bouncing around when fully loaded, at least, and there are a few reflective accents across the back.
This jersey is described as 'form-fitting' and that's accurate, and though it's slightly more relaxed and forgiving than an all-out aero jersey there's nothing to flap in the wind. The collar, if you can call it that, is very low profile but did cover my base layers. The arms are on trend and cut long.
The body meanwhile is cut less aggressively than some aero jerseys (the Nopinz Pro-1, for example, is a fair bit shorter) so standing up at the café is unlikely to create unsightly gaps to your bibs.
The hem is also elasticated, and has silicone grippers to keep it in place.
Universal Colours has been flying the eco-flag since the beginning, and this top is pretty green too... okay, it's all kind of smeary colours, but there's a good reason. 'The design is inspired by the impurities and imperfections derived from the processing of plastic waste,' says the company.
'Featuring approximately fifteen 500ml disused bottles, we are proud to say each jersey is made entirely from post-consumer recycled Italian fabrics.' Nice to know the bottles are disused, too... finally, these fabrics are stitched together in Lithuania by a BlueSign-accredited factory, LTP.
At £120 there's no denying the Spectrum Light is an expensive option, but it does match the performance of equally-priced jerseys as well as boasting those eco credentials. The similarly-cut (and similarly wildly coloured, should you desire) Gore Chase jersey mentioned earlier, for example, is £129.99 yet lacks the excellent low-profile seams found here.
The Assos Mille GT Jersey C2 is cheaper at £95 and a strong alternative, especially as the slightly thicker build means it can be worn on cooler rides.
The Spectrum Light jersey is extremely impressive. It offers all the performance, breathability and comfort we expect from a top-end, lightweight performance jersey, even while using fabrics made from bottles. At the time of writing, it was also reduced to £72, which makes it an even more attractive proposition – so long as you're a fan of one of the two quite out-there colour schemes.
Loud, light and with excellent performance from its recycled fabric, this is a winner
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Universal Colours Spectrum Light Men's Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Universal Colours says, "Tailored to excel in hot conditions, the jersey's knitted structure enhances airflow and breathability to promote comfort and performance through the longest days in the saddle. Soft, stretchy and form-fitting, this staple summer garment is so refined you'll barely notice you're wearing it."
I completely agree with that: it performs very well in hot conditions and is very light, comfortable and nicely made.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Universal Colours say:
Ultrasonic welded seams for a smooth finish
Recycled PET YKK zip tape
Three rear pockets
Elastic hem featuring a silicone gripper
I'm a big fan of the low profile seams.
No issues. The stitching appears robust and accurate.
Tight without being too tight. It's a good compromise between aero and comfort, and I've happily worn it on all-day rides.
Size guide is accurate.
One of the lightest jerseys out there.
There are some excellent jerseys out there for a lot less money, but this one outperforms many of a similar price.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well; it was the first out the drawer during the heatwave.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light and breathable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There are only two colour options and they both have the potential to camouflage you.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, it's not cheap at full price, but is more than the equal of similarly-priced jerseys.
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
This has eco credentials with no sacrifice in performance. It's a very light, comfortable and breathable jersey that is excellently thought-out and has a great fit. It doesn't come cheap, but is easily the equal of similarly-priced jerseys.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...