It's superlight, it's (arguably) aero, and it's racy. The Alé PRR 2.0 Speed Fondo jersey certainly meets its USP, but there are certain downsides you should bear in mind.
Another day, another aero jersey... Alé is well recognised as being a strong purveyor of high performance kit, and the PRR 2.0 Speed Fondo jersey is designed primarily for, erm, speed.
The cut hints as much. In a medium it's race-tight around the torso, clinging almost compression-like to the body, with the minimum of spare fabric left over around the air-facing parts of the body – namely, the shoulders. At the front it rides up high, but once in a position that's remotely aero on a road bike that's not an issue, and it pays dividends in the lack of bunching around the stomach.
This has the natural downside of making the jersey reasonably unsuited to those with some girth around the mid-section (unless you opt for a size up from your usual), but it's horses for courses when it comes to that.
Aside from the tight cut, the sleeves are made of a close-cutting mesh fabric that Alé says creates a series of micro low-pressure areas – much along the lines of the dimples you see on pro team kit and even some of Zipp's premium wheelsets – which keep moving air attached to the body for longer, creating less turbulence and, therefore, drag.
Sounds ideal, but it's impossible to tell whether it's having the desired effect in the real world. You need a wind tunnel for that, and to do a direct comparison with your current kit on the body that matters most: yours. So, once my plans for a full-size open return wind tunnel to be installed in my garden have been approved by the local council, you'll be the first to know, and I'll get right on those tests.
Assuming for a moment that there is a benefit of some description to your aero efficiency, what else do you get for your £100? Thankfully, a reasonably competent summer jersey.
The mesh sleeves double well as cooling vents – watch out, though, it's thin enough to let a little sunlight through – while the mesh is also seen around the base of the jersey below the three pockets (three, not four as Alé claims). I had no Chris Froome skinsuit-style episodes, but I'm convinced my previously razor-sharp tanlines aren't quite as pronounced as they used to be.
The mesh is delicate, no question. A quick brush against my (painted) bathroom door even caused a small snag, while any wooden surface that's been untreated needs to be given a wide berth. Still, the main panels of the jersey at the front and rear are made of standard Lycra-elastane fabric, so although there are delicate sections, it's not like you have to completely avoid all contact with human beings to keep it in good nick. As long as you wash it with other delicate clothes in a delicate wash, it stays in good condition too.
The aforementioned pockets are reasonable in their size, but the holes to reach into are banded at the top, presumably to make sure your goods stay securely enclosed, and it does make reaching into them a little more difficult than normal. The openings are also a little higher up the back than I'd like, and that's largely down to the mesh band that sits underneath the pockets. There's also no zipped security pocket, though you do get some reflective detailing across the tops.
The extremities of the jersey might polarise opinion too. Instead of allowing the natural elasticity of the mesh arms to let the jersey sit in the optimum spot, there are grippy band strips on the inside which, if you have some hair on your arms, can be snaggy.
The waist band holds firm (it's lightly textured to stay stuck to the back of your chosen bib shorts), with a tidy un-grippered hem around the front which, ironically, proves the point that in a jersey such as this, it's not necessary to overdo the tackiness of the gripper bands. The YKK zipper is good, and there's a small one-sided garage flap to stop any irritation underneath the inevitably tight-fitting neckline.
All of which leads me to conclude that the PRR 2.0 Speed Fondo jersey certainly has its uses, but it's definitely not for everyone.
If you want a quick, lightweight and cool jersey then it's a strong bet, though not without its flaws
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ale PRR 2.0 Speed Fondo Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
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?
Alé says: "A new concept for a jersey that derives from Ale's experience in the field and from current developments where performance requires the right mix between aerodynamics and functionality - Perfection for races as well as just right for daily riding.
"With an aerodynamic construction with tight fitting set-in sleeves for a 'second skin' feel the Speed Fondo Jersey is all about saving power, maximising speed gains. The sleeves have been lengthened compared to the standard length and it is made in Mesh Dragon - a fabric designed for aerodynamic gains, reducing drag as well as allowing better ventilation.
"On the front and on the back the smooth Push Pull fabric pulls moisture quickly away from the body. It also has a controlled mechanical elasticity in order to keep the pockets in place even when loaded.
"The jersey features a new 4-pocket system, the smart cargo system which allows you to easily store all your personal belongings."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Alé lists these features:
- Smart Cargo System, 4 pockets with expandable bottom for the maximum capacity
- Full zipper
- Security Reflex on back pocket edge for added visibility
- new Stability system on the back: the gripper fixing system grants the maximum stability
- Bonded hems: sleeve and waist band without seams
It's definitely constructed well given the lightweight nature of the product.
As a lightweight, summer jersey, it's a very good effort.
If I can snag the the mesh arms on a painted door, then I have to conclude that it's delicate and you need to take special care of it.
It's certainly a tight fit, so you need to bear this in mind when buying.
Comes up a little small and short, to minimise fabric, so you may need to size up one.
It's a sub-100g jersey. Enough said.
I didn't find it especially comfortable, especially in the arm grippers, but tight fits aren't always the most comfortable anyway.
Value is middling for me, bearing in mind that it's a specific jersey for a specific purpose. Castelli's Aero Race is the same price, while Rapha's Pro Team Aero Jersey is another 40 quid...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You need to treat it with care, definitely.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's an aggressive jersey for an aggressive rider – fit for purpose.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There are various niggles that annoyed me, but nearly all can be put down to personal preference. The arm gripper bands are a no no for me, though.
Did you enjoy using the product? In parts.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted an aggressive lightweight aero jersey and were built small.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a competent jersey and does what it's designed to very well, so on performance alone it would score 8. It has a few drawbacks though, such as being a bit delicate, and the sleeves aren't the most comfortable, so I'm going with an overall score of 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding