You can't really go too wrong with a short-sleeve lightweight trail jersey, especially when rad designs are prioritised over garish branding. However, Nukeproof has sacked off a pocket and bumped up the price tag from the women's Blackline jersey predecessor.
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Nukeproof Blackline women's short-sleeve jersey
The women's Blackline jersey is pretty straightforward. It's a trail jersey with a tapered cut for a more feminine fit and short sleeves for those rare but precious, warm weather rides. The front panel and sleeves are constructed from 115gsm highly breathable yarn, while the back panel and armpits are made from 110gsm warp-knit. Both fabrics are Bluesign® labelled, meaning they are sustainably produced and environmentally friendly. They offer good stretch to move with your body. The short-sleeve jersey is then finished off with natural UV protection and an anti-bacterial coating.
Now, both the Nukeproof website and its UK distributor website, Hotlines, specify that there is a "back security pocket with YKK Zipper". There is NOT. While writing this up, I had to phone my partner at home to actually check this because I'd never noticed a pocket before, and I became concerned that I was losing my mind. Alas, I can confirm, there is no pocket on this jersey. However, after looking through the archives, Rachael did review the women's Nukeproof Blackline jersey in 2018, which did feature a pocket. So it seems like neither party has updated the description.
Moving on... The women's Blackline short-sleeve jersey is available in sizes from XS to XL, accommodating chest sizes from 32" to 42". There are three in the collection for 2021, a limited edition super-rad skull print and a core design in red or yellow. For reference, I'm 5'7" and I tested a size small in both models.
How it feels while riding
Some of the best pieces of kit are the ones you forget about and the ones you naturally find yourself reaching for on your days off. For me, that was most definitely the case with the Blackline jersey.
I favoured the skull print design because, well, it's just super cool and minimal of branding. I think there has been, or maybe still is, this taboo of wearing a bike brand's clothing without owning one of their bikes. I do not own a Nukeproof, but I didn't feel like a phoney for wearing their kit. I think a lot of that is down to the cleverly subtle branding that prioritises a good design over logos and branded fonts.
In hand and to wear, this jersey is certainly lightweight and soft against the skin. It breathes really well on warm rides, aided by the warp-knit panels under the arms and around the back. All the seams and stitching have faired well after many washes and rides, along with the vibrancy of the design on both jerseys.
I do a lot of my riding in the Afan Valley, South Wales. Recently, we've had a shed tonne of overgrowth from the crazy fluctuations in weather, and although I've caught this jersey on rogue brambles and overhanging foliage, I've yet to actually snag the fabric, which is brilliant. However, this doesn't mean the jersey is impervious to snags and tears should you have a more violent encounter with nature.
Value and verdict
At £45, the Nukeproof women's Blackline jersey is reasonably priced compared with similar garments on the market. Endura's SingleTrack jersey is £50 but does have a zipped stash pocket. Whereas the Fox Defend short-sleeve jersey is £45, similar to the Troy Lee Designs Women's Lilium short sleeve at £42. Although, let's also throw an independent brand into the mix, like Setup's Descend short-sleeve jersey in breathable materials with UV protection, at £23, practically half the price. However, when comparing against its predecessor, the Blackline short-sleeve jersey has gain £5 and lost a zipped pocket since 2018 - we could just blame Brexit, eh.
For a lightweight trail jersey that's comfortable and forgettable (in a good way), the Nukeproof women's Blackline jersey is reasonably priced amongst the larger brand names and has eye-catching designs. It's a shame about the non-existent pocket; they're always handy for the single house or car key for minimalistic rides. However, its absence is not sorely missed.