Vulpine Men’s Alpine Merino Blend LS Jersey

8
£130.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Comfortable spring/autumn-weight merino jersey that's well made and versatile
Comfortable
Cool looks
Resistant to odour
More expensive than many rivals
Weight: 
236g
Contact: 

The Vulpine Men's Alpine Merino Blend Long Sleeve Jersey is comfortable and classic-looking, and the fairly light weight means you'll get plenty of use out of it during the spring, autumn, and even summer evenings.

Our man Jez reviewed one of this jersey's ancestors here on road.cc back in 2016. The Alpine has recently been updated, but this new version is a broadly similar concept, and there's lots to like here.

> Buy this online here

The biggest change is that rather than being pure merino wool, this one is 80% merino and 20% polyester. Your instinct might say that this is a downgrade, but the synthetic fibre adds a little durability and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference in terms of feel. This is still soft (the diameter of the follicle is 18.5 micron; superfine) – it doesn't itch your arms when worn over a sleeveless baselayer, for instance – and lightweight at 180gsm.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - riding.jpg

If 180gsm doesn't mean much to you, it's grams per square metre. Not helping? To give you some indication, Vulpine also offers the Alpine in a short sleeve version made from exactly the same stuff; it's really not thick. Hold it up to the light and you can see through it quite easily.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - cuff.jpg

The Alpine jersey could be used during the winter, but for me that would be as a mid-layer with something windproof over the top. You'll probably get far more use out of it during spring and autumn – worn with a gilet on cooler days – and perhaps even on early morning and late evening rides in the summer, depending on the setting of your internal thermostat.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - rear.jpg

You'll doubtless have heard the spiel about merino wool's benefits countless times before: it has natural wicking properties, it keeps you warm in cold conditions, it keeps you cool in hot conditions... All of that is true here. Merino also keeps you warm when wet although, on the downside, if you do get it soaked with rain or sweat, it does hang on to moisture more than many synthetic fabrics. That said, the Alpine is lightweight enough to dry out much quicker than many other wool jerseys.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - shoulders.jpg

Wool is famously resistant to odours and that certainly applies here. You can sit down at the mid-ride coffee stop safe in the knowledge that you're not going to put anyone else off their cappuccino, and no smells have developed long term. Go out on a sweat-fest of a ride and you'll doubtless want to sling it in the machine straight afterwards, but you could easily get a couple or three low-intensity rides around town between washes.

I found the cut of the Alpine jersey to be pretty close. If you're very slim you might find a little bit of bagginess around the middle (like the model in our photos), but I'm fairly skinny and I didn't have that once I had my usual pouch – containing inner tube, multi-tool and so on – in a rear pocket. I found the arms to be close fitting too, and it's not like I've been hitting the weights hard lately! I went by Vulpine's size guide and the fit was spot on without any flapping. There's quite a lot of stretch to accommodate heavier builds.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - hem.jpg

The Alpine is made with flatlock seams throughout and comes with a full-length front zip from YKK, a leather puller being easy enough to find with gloved fingers. A flap at the top of the zip prevents any scratching to your neck.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - chest.jpg

Round the back you get three open pockets plus a zipped fourth pocket for valuables. This one is big enough to take an iPhone X, for example, but not some of the supersized smartphones that are around these days (it measures about 150 x 75mm, but the 130mm zip can be the sticking point).

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - zip pocket.jpg

The tops of the two pockets towards the sides are slightly angled for easy access and have reflective taping stitched into them. Vulpine warns that you shouldn't load up the pockets too heavily because merino wool is naturally elastic. It's true that wool can sag, especially when wet, but I didn't have any problems carrying my usual bits and pieces. The stitching between the pockets has taped reinforcement inside to avoid any problems there.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - pockets.jpg

Other details? There's the Vulpine name and logo embroidered behind the neck, you get a silicone gripper on the tail, and that's about it. Oh, and there's no scratchy label to annoy you. Instead, the washing instructions are printed inside. You can't tumble dry the Alpine but you can wash it in the machine at 30 degrees with other cycling gear.

Vulpine Alpine Merino LS Jersey - gripper.jpg

This long sleeve version of the Alpine is also available in Charcoal Melange/Vulpine Green, Classic Navy/Yellow, and in Vulpine Green/Classic Navy. Short sleeve versions are also available in the same colours at £80. All of these options come in women's cuts too.

Value

In terms of rivals, the obvious comparison is with Rapha's Classic Long Sleeve Jersey II. Rapha's jersey is certainly exceptionally good and it's a similar price at £125, although the merino wool content is considerably lower (44% merino, 56% polyester).

The Pactimo High Country Wool Jersey that Emma reviewed last year was £120. It's available in a men's version too, both 60% merino, 32% Coolmax polyester and 8% nylon.

Other long sleeve jerseys that we've reviewed have been cheaper, but they've had lower merino content too: the Lusso Merino Long Sleeve Jersey (was £99.99 when we reviewed it, now £79.99) is 35% merino, 65% polyester, for example, while Triban's is 49% merino and 51% acrylic. That one is exceptional value at £49.99.

> Buyer's Guide: 20 of the best long-sleeve cycling jerseys

In short, the Vulpine jersey is among the more expensive options out there, but it has a higher merino content than most.

As I said up top, there's plenty to like about this jersey. It's super-comfy, it looks classy, and the design is relatively simple rather than overdone.

Verdict

Comfortable spring/autumn-weight merino jersey that's well made and versatile

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: Vulpine Men's Alpine Merino Blend LS Jersey

Size tested: M

Tell us what the product is for

Vulpine describes the Alpine as, "Incredibly comfortable long-sleeved distance riding jersey, cut from soft, odourless merino wool. A Vulpine classic.

"The Alpine became an instant classic when it launched, as we displayed our new way of thinking about comfort and style in a 3-pocket jersey. We've provided you with merino wool for incredible softness, odour resistance and multi-condition riding, blended with polyester for long term durability."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Vulpine says, "Merino wool reacts to the ambient conditions, cooling when it's hot, warming when cold, and even pulling water off your skin in the rain, so you feel far more comfortable. As a natural fabric, merino also looks less out of place in a social setting, making it subtle for lunch stops. We've given you a full length YKK zip for adaptability and convenience, and added our classic leather pull, easily gripped with gloves or at speed. We've designed the rear pockets for great practicality, and added subtle reflective features. Discover why this is the perfect distance cycling jersey."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

It's very well made throughout.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Merino doesn't tend to be as durable as harder wearing synthetic fabrics.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

It's as set out on Vulpine's size guide.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It's more expensive than most rivals, but the merino content is higher than most too.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Easy enough. It goes in the machine at 30° on a wool setting. It comes out looking good and doesn't retain any odours. It can't be tumble dried.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It works really well as a mid-layer in winter, or as an outer layer – sometimes under a gilet – for spring and autumn use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The comfort, lack of odour, fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is higher than many rivals (although the merino content is higher than most).

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Rapha's Classic Long Sleeve Jersey II is exceptionally good and it's a similar price at £125, although the merino wool content is considerably lower (44% merino, 56% polyester).

The Pactimo High Country Wool Jersey that Emma reviewed last year was £120. It's available in a men's version too, both 60% merino, 32% Coolmax polyester and 8% nylon.

Other long sleeve jerseys that we've reviewed have been cheaper, but they've had lower merino content too: the Lusso Merino Long Sleeve Jersey (was £99.99 when we reviewed it, now £79.99) is 35% merino, 65% polyester, for example, while Triban's is 49% merino and 51% acrylic. That one is exceptional value at £49.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? One to consider, certainly.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's an exceptionally good jersey although I feel that the £130 price tag has to drag it down a point. On the other hand, if you really want a lot of merino in your merino jersey, it's a great choice.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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