The Royal Racing Core Long Sleeve Jersey is a casually styled riding option that looks and fits like a standard long-sleeve t-shirt. While the technical-style fabric boasts impressive moisture management and a UV treatment, there are better choices if you're looking for one of the best mountain bike jerseys.
Royal Racing Core Long Sleeve Jersey - Technical details
Using an 85% Polyester/15% Cotton mix in the fabric makes the Core jersey look like a standard t-shirt, but as it’s mainly polyester, it’s meant to wick moisture away better than a cotton t-shirt and prevents your top from becoming damp and cold. The 15% cotton gives the textile a softer feel but also does tend to get a little clammy when things really warm up.
There is an antimicrobial treatment applied to the jersey, which has helped minimise odour - the jersey label says to wash as little as possible, so I suspect that the treatment is applied as a wash-in. Fit is definitely relaxed, with the size medium feeling slightly oversized, making for a lot of excess material to flap around or tuck in. There aren’t any details like a goggle wipe and the graphics are simple. The jersey is available in White, Black and Blue with varying graphic styles for each colourway. A small detail is the Royal Racing icon on an embroiled tag on a sleeve.
Royal Racing Core Long Sleeve Jersey - Performance
According to Royal Racing, the jersey is designed for ‘Casual, Gravel, Trail, Enduro and downhill mountain biking’ - and its claim of being an all-rounder is fair. For a size medium, I felt it was more oversized than casual and would probably size down in retrospect, as I don’t like excess material flapping or bunching up when riding.
The blend of polyester and cotton means it works effectively enough - but not as well as standard polyester jerseys or t-shirt-style tops - I noticed on very warm, sweat-inducing rides, that it felt a little clammier than I would like - especially when wearing a backpack.
There is a wicking performance but the cotton reduces its effectiveness. Luckily it dries out pretty quickly - again, perhaps not as quickly as less casually styled tops, but well enough for a mixed riding garment that can be used post and pre-riding, without looking too much out of place away from a bike.
For moving around on the mountain bike, I liked the relaxed, casual fit and there's plenty of room for a base layer underneath for the winter or cooler days. The long sleeves are good if you are out in the sun all day and act as a means to keep your skin protected a little more.
I wasn’t so keen on the heavier feel when it became soaked on some summer rainy rides - while it dries relatively quickly, it’s not quite as effective as a fully synthetic top.
Royal Racing Core Long Sleeve Jersey - Verdict
As a no-nonsense jersey that can handle all types of riding duties and everyday use, the Core Long Sleeve Jersey is a decent option, as long as you prefer a more relaxed fit. It lacks any flourish or functional detailing such as a google wipe, or thumb loops for example - it’s basically a long sleeve t-shirt with a cotton-polyester mix.
I feel it's best suited for gravity or gravel riding over longer distances. The relaxed fit and feel are good for movement when descending. The fact that it can double as an off-the-bike, casual-style top means it does offer some value, even if not used as intended.
The relaxed fit allows space underneath for elbow pads, but the downsides are that it can feel baggy and, at times, clammier than a synthetic or Merino jersey. I can't directly compare it to much - perhaps Royal Racing's Overland Tech Long Sleeve top, which is thicker in weight and more jumper-like.
For the price, I think there are options in the category and jerseys that utilise better-performing fabrics. If you want a casual, long-sleeve t-shirt that has some level of performance on the bike, then this is a slightly better choice than a plain cotton t-shirt.