The Royal Racing Matrix Jersey is a loose fit top that breathes well, is comfortable, and looks good on and off the bike. It's warm, which makes it a great choice for cold riding conditions, and it's reasonably priced too.
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Royal Racing Matrix Jersey Review - the details
Using a Gridlock fleece material, the Royal Racing Matrix Jersey is quite fitted but with a casual look. The material has a mesh-like arrangement of fleece squares intended to offer insulation while allowing airflow, according to Royal.
I tested a size medium, where the arms and waist hem were quite long. In this case, it's a positive thing, as there were no gaps on the wrists or waist when on the bike. A small zipped pocket on the left side is ideal for smaller, softer items. I used it for snacks; it's ok for a small multi-tool, but little else. Finally, there is a small tab on the left arm cuff with the Royal Racing icon logo.
Royal Racing Matrix Jersey Review - performance
I wore the Royal Racing Matrix Jersey on mountain and gravel rides in wet, dry and cold conditions. It was good for down to nearly freezing with a base layer underneath and a jacket over the top. For its weight and low pack, the jersey offers a lot of warmth. To be really useful, it needs a windproof over it - it's very much a base or mid-layer if it's windy or cold. The jersey dried off pretty quickly when it got wet from rain or damp from sweat.
Movement when riding was unrestricted, and I never noticed it or felt any issues when riding. It was comfortable when relatively static on the gravel bike, seated riding and also when riding more dynamically on the mountain bike.
Royal Racing Matrix Jersey Review - summing up
Although £20 more expensive, the Royal Racing Matrix jersey is better than something like the Overland Long Sleeve Top at £30 because it works well on the bike first and is also functional as a thermal layer. A comparable jersey would be Altura's Esker Trail at £50, which Liam rated quite highly. Altura's version also features a similar square-cut fleece material for warmth and breathability. And if you're looking for thermal properties, the £50 Madison Zenith forgoes the squares and sticks to a traditional single-layer of brushed material for warmth.
I really like the Royal Racing Matrix Jersey for its decent warmth, good fit, and not being too pricey. It feels of good quality, is well finished and has washed well. Thanks to its underrated black design, it’s suitable for all sorts of riding and passable off the bike as a more casual top.