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Just the right side of a racey cut, we tested the Specialized Drirelease Merino short sleeve jersey to see how everyday riding fitted with that retro styling.

specialized drirelease
Best for...
Stylish Mountain, road or tour cyclists
Overall Score
Soft, wearable fabrics and cleverly supportive pockets

Our first impressions of the full-zip Drirelease were of a stylishly understated alternative to the gaudy trade or heavily branded tops that make up the bulk of cycling jerseys. Earthy flat colours - navy, carbon grey among others - kept everything low key, while the matt woven fabric just looked classy and mildly retro.

Pulling it on grabbed our attention for a second time. The wonderfully soft and stretchy merino/synthetic mix was super-comfy next to the skin while stretching to a great fit without being too spray-on. Specialized claim it to have great wicking and smell resisting properties and over the course of the test we found no reason to disbelieve that.

With the soft and pliable fabric we had reservations on how much kit we could load the traditional three back pockets up with, but it really wasn't as saggy as we had feared, even loaded up with a light waterproof, tube, tools and phone. Closer inspection revealed the clever addition of a pair of smooth, non-elastic tape runners dropping from the collar to the pockets, specifically there to combat jersey sag. A great idea which worked a treat.

A zipped key or mp3 pocket tagged onto the centre of the three sports a waterproof back, there to keep sweat clear of sensitive electronics or cash, while a small hole provides an internal routing for your headphones.

We loved this jersey and its subtle styling, great performance and snug fit.

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