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Not so long ago I tested Meccanica's Marl short sleeve jersey which I liked, a lot. And since then, and the onset of Autumn, I've been having a go on their Stripe long-sleeve jersey, which I also like. A lot.
Meccanica kit is hand-made in England, and the Stripe is 100% made from your finest Merino wool. The striped design, they say, harks back to the simple strips of the Madison Square Garden track events, or possibly the hoops represent the 'Forcats de la Route' – convicts of the road, a phrase coined by Henri Pelissier at the 1924 Tour de France. You'd think they'd know, one way or the other. Anyway: it's stripy.
The construction of the main body of the jersey, and the arms, is seamless. There are three buttoned pockets at the back, a neck zip and springy merino cuffs and waistband. And that's your lot, pretty much.
It's fair to say I've lived in this over the past couple of months. It's such a very comfy top that it's the first thing I reach for of a morning. The merino does its clever thing of not getting smelly just about as well as any top I've ever tried; you can genuinely wear this top for weeks at a time with no problems. Once it does need washing it can go in the machine on a cool wash, and then it's good as new again.
On the bike it's a warm top underneath another, more windproof, layer. On its own you won't get that hot as the fairly loose weave lets a lot of air through. It works really well paired up with a softshell jacket; if you put a less permeable layer over the top it can start to get a bit damp. Even then, it dries out pretty quickly once it's out in the fresh air again. It's not designed for chaingang use but I've worn it on extended commutes and longer rides and been very happy with the performance. The pockets, being merino, aren't up to carrying anything heavy as they'll cause the back of the jersey to sag too much. A phone/banana/inner tube is fine though.
It's the kind of top that'd be invaluable on a tour, technical enough to cope with a day's riding (on a bike where you have other places to stow your stuff) and smart enough to wear down the pub of an evening, if it's that kind of tour. It's also dead handy for commuting and smart enough to wear about the office, assuming your employer doesn't run too tight a ship. Most of all it's a great top for just living in, and one that you don't need to change out of if you need to hop on the bike somewhere. I really like it.
Sizing is, erm, esoteric. The one I'm wearing in the pics is a medium and when it was shot I was over 100kg. Now I'm about 94kg and I reckon a small would probably fit me okay. If you're a traditional racing build, you're going to get swamped by this I'm afraid. If anything it's an even more generous top than the Marl short sleeve, and that was bordering on the ridiculous. An issue to sort out for the next run.
Assuming there is one that'll fit you, it's a lovely jersey to own. It's pretty much the most comfortable top I've ever tried. Whether it's worth the £130 that Meccanica are asking for it, well, that's up to you. It's handmade in England from top quality materials. You can pay (a lot) more than this for a synthetic top shipped in from where making them is (a lot) cheaper. As always, if you don't think it's worth it you don't have to buy it. It certainly is comfy though.
About as comfy as a casual riding jersey gets, assuming they make one that'll fit you
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Make and model: Meccanica Stripe Casual Retro Cycling Jersey
Size tested: Medium - Blue stripes
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?
Classic British made retro cycling jersey made in England from 100% extra fine merino wool in an ageless design. The hooped design is believed to have come about due to the nick name 'Forcats de la Route' i.e. hoops mimicked the jailbirds' 'uniform'. Or from designs worn in the late 1800's Madison Sq Gardens 6 day events. Sizes up to 4XL mean people of all sizes can enjoy this beautiful instant classic.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% highest quality Italian Merino Wool
Ladies & Gents
Designed and made in England
Quarter zip with Centurion detail
Three back pockets with buttons
Seamless construction - no rubbing
Merino is naturally anti bacterial
Very nicely made from top quality fabric.
Supremely comfy, never gets smelly, great as a general use top.
Washing and wearing well.
Just about right for the kind of use it'll get.
Not cheap but you're getting a nice quality jumper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well: great for riding and not riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing is mental.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.