Buying clothing produced by bike manufacturers can be a bit hit and miss as bike brands diversify into fields that may not necessarily lie in their area of expertise. It's safe to say that is not the case with this Women's Andorra Drirelease Merino Jersey from Specialized, it's become my autumn go to jersey for riding and casual wear.
The Andorra Drirelease Merino Jersey is designed, Spesh say, to be a versatile number made to meet the demands of every trail situation. The jersey made from Merino wool certainly does fit the bill, I've worn this jersey in comfort on every type of trail from cross country missions to gravel riding to plunging down something steep and gnarly in the rain.
The drirelease® Merino with FreshGuard is super soft and light against the skin and does what it says on the tin, wicks away moisture and stays stink free for the most part. I'm not one to wear a jersey on multiple days but it's good to know that odour is kept to a minimum whilst on the trail and during coffee time! Specialized say the jersey is made with Deflect® UV 30 to protect you from ultraviolet rays, hard to test but a nice feature if it works.
The material isn't super hot, temperatures down here in the south of England haven't been the coldest, the Andorra works well as a single layer option on cooler days, it wicks away sweat and doesn't cause you to overheat as you work harder during the ride. I've been caught in the rain too and stayed cosy whilst moving inside the merino, it's a substantial enough material that it doesn't get 'weighed down' and saggy with the water and mud. The workmanlike burgundy and grey colour way looks good ride after muddy ride with no staining.
I'm between a dress size 8 and 10 and wore a size small. Specialized call the fit of the jersey 'relaxed mountain bike fit' which is somewhere between loose and tailored and is ideal for trail riding. The jersey is fitted and shaped to a woman's figure whilst staying relatively loose. There is room to move around, the hem length is good sitting at about 2 inches below the bottom of my waistband on riding shorts and with a dropped hem at the rear it never worked its way up my back.
The 3/4 length sleeves are pretty loose and finish mid-forearm, I might have liked to see them a little tighter at the cuff to prevent any flapping around but it's not a deal breaker and not something I notice when I ride. In warmer weather, I like to push my sleeves up which isn't possible here.
Other features include a crew neck which is cut quite high, this can feel a little restrictive at times but the pro's are that it prevents rubbing of bag straps, keeps the upper part of the jersey in place well and prevents drafts on cold days under a jacket. Specialized have included a wide side panel to the jersey which also helps keep the jersey in place, it doesn't twist or slip as you move around on the bike. There is also a concealed zip pocket at the right seam, it's big enough for an iPhone 6 if you are keen on putting your valuables in a place of danger!
At £55 the Specialized jersey is approaching the upper end of the price bracket for a 3/4 length sleeve jersey but for that you get a hardwearing jersey that feels great, looks good on and off the bike and is unnoticeable to ride in.
The Specialized Andorra Drirelease Merino jersey will no doubt see a lot more use this winter as Specialized show they make riding kit with as much thought as they make their bikes. It's an understated casual number that lets its performance do the talking.