Deep section wheels, an aero frameset and an aero lid- just some of the ways to make your riding and racing faster. A skinsuit is another option to enhance your aerodynamic profile on the bike, but their restrictive design makes them an impractical choice for many. This is where aero jerseys such as the Sportful R&D Ultra Light come in.
Part of the Italian company’s R&D (Road and Development) range, the designers at Sportful have worked tirelessly with sponsored riders and teams, such as Tinkoff Saxo, to make a jersey that is as figure hugging and as aero as a skinsuit but still with the practicalities and comfort you want from a short sleeve jersey.
Designed to be worn without a baselayer on the hottest of days, the Ultra Light features UPF 10 treatment, which claims to filter out 90% of the sun's rays.
Right from taking the jersey out of its packaging I knew this was a high performance, race ready garment. I opted for my usual ‘aero’ jersey size and as expected found it to be a race cut. There will be no hiding in this jersey and if you are looking for a more forgiving fit, I would recommend considering the Sportful BodyFit Pro Jersey.
For me the ergonomic fit felt fantastic. With skintight, long sleeves and a low cut neckline, you could tell the team at Sportful had really considered every aspect of making this garment as fast as possible.
Quality was straight away apparent. The Full-length, lightweight YKK® zipper felt sturdy, was easy to use and meant when the temperature starts to climb you can easily open the jersey for further ventilation.
The lightweight Diablo mesh fabric has been combined with a BodyFit Pro ergonomic pattern. Lycra® has been used on the waist to give the jersey its figure hugging fit. The state of the art design targets each area of the body, enhancing flexibility, breathability and speed. Weighing a mere 99 grams, this is an ideal choice for those weight weenies or mountain goats who are counting every gram.
The stunning electric blue and white design is fresh and also highly visible. Aero jerseys often skimp when it comes to pockets, not with the Ultra Light. I was pleased to find 3 well proportioned pockets on the rear. Whilst they might not be as roomy as some jerseys on the market, for a jersey designed with performance in mind, these were perfectly adequate for storing energy gels, a mobile phone and a small rain cape or gilet. These pockets feature a Lycra® trim to keep them in place.
The real test for the jersey was to come in the form of one of the longest sportives in the world, the Mallorca 312. With mountains, fast rolling lanes and heat this was going to be the perfect challenge for this garment.
Now this jersey isn’t specifically designed for ultra endurance events, yet after over 312 kilometres in the saddle I found it incredibly comfortable, breathable and most importantly aero. The sun's powerful rays were kept at bay and meant I was able to ride safe in the knowledge I was protected.
Through the mountains the jersey allowed excellent breathability. I was particularly impressed with the perforated underarm sections, which kept me cool, even when the pace began to heat up.
Onto the flat run in and the jersey really came into its own. The low cut collar and raw cut edges prevented rubbing and meant the jersey sat seamlessly against my skin. The pockets were perfectly proportioned and hidden away for further aerodynamic effect.
This is a high performance, race ready jersey that does exactly what it claims. It feels fast, is incredibly comfortable and breathable, as well as being super lightweight. Whether you are doing an hours criterium or an epic sportive the Ultra Light is sure to make your rides fast, while you leave your competitors in your wake.