A new material which promises to keep the wearer dryer and cooler? Ground Effect told me that they’re going Hyperactive this summer and sent me the lovely sky blue version of the new Road Rage short sleeve cycling top. When I unpacked the top it screamed “Mountain Bike” and “Recreation”, but I’ve been road cycling this season and neglecting the MTB, which means I am used to wearing slim fitting lycra. So while this top didn’t seem as though it would be as well suited, Ground Effect urged me to try anyway, so I agreed and peeled off the BNA lycra jersey and bib knicks, exchanging them for the Road Rage top and Ground Effect supersonic knicks.
The Theory of Road Rage
Before I take the top for a spin, lets have a look at the HyperActive™ fabric and its supposed benefits. The fabric Ground Effect use is nano-charcoal polyester, and they promote the advantage of super-fast evaporation and dispersion of sweat. Nano-charcoal isn’t explained further by Ground Effect, but some basic investigation reveals that it is commonly known as “activated carbon” (which comes from charcoal) and has a lot of microscopic pores, which lends itself to being a great absorber. Ground Effect confirm that the charcoal is from bamboo and that these tiny particles are bonded to the polyester fabric. Now that the science lesson is complete it is time to put theory into practice and see whether this cycling top really does take the sweat away.
Road Rage in Practice
I have always found the sizing of Ground Effect gear to be spot-on, and from the outset I knew that this was a comfort type cycling top rather than a slim fitting cycling jersey. It is light and the proportions are good. Although my shoulders are broader. meaning that sleeve lengths are often shorter than I like, the soft comfortable material of the Road Rage top was forgiving.
Like the women’s Hyperactive cycling top, called the Zest and recently reviewed on BNA by Tracey, the Road Rage has a 3/4 length zip, and although I prefer a full-length zip, the 3/4 zip was well suited to the garment. I found unzipping from the collar with one hand tough though, and I had to hold the collar to unzip. From the chest however, zipping up or down is easier.
There are three pockets on the rear plus an additional zip pocket in the middle which is always good for storing valuables. With the comfort fit and the soft stretchy fabric, the pockets did feel loose while carry my smart phone and ID plus a mini-pump and tire levers. The pockets are better suited to lighter things such as energy bars and gloves when you don’t need them, so you are better off storing heavier items in your saddle bag.
On the road for a 7:30am start, the thermometer told me that I should be wearing a base layer, however this would have defeated the purpose of testing the sweat evaporating abilities of this top, and the sun was slowly climbing. The top promised to be cooler, and it was cooler than I preferred when starting out. It isn’t intended to be a wind vest, instead it is suited for warm weather riding and facilitating airflow. Without any adoring fans or helpers handing out newspapers at the start of long and fast road bike descents, this cycling top was too porous and the wind chilled too much.
Fast descents and racing in a bunch at a blistering pace also left the jersey flapping in the wind and confirmed my intuition that this top was better suited towards mountain biking and recreational cycling where the speeds are lower and comfortable cycling wear is more welcome than tight fitting lycra.
But did I sweat?
Of course, but the top worked really well in this regard – moisture was quickly absorbed by the jersey, evaporated by the wind, and as a result I wasn’t left dripping. The Road Rage top didn’t feel damp and remained comfortable to wear while riding. Ground Effect also highlight that this is a fast drying top, so if you are caught in a shower you wont suffer for too long. Maybe bike touring should be added to the list of cycling styles this jersey would be perfect for.
Road Rage Shines
My intuition was spot on with this jersey; while some road cyclists will appreciate the comfort of the Road Rage top, it will really shine for mountain bikers, recreational cyclists, and tourers. In fact, I am looking forward to getting out on the mountain bike trails with this top. The airflow through the fabric and moisture wicking capabilities will be a welcome relief for hot Australian riding conditions.
Selling for $109 (AUD), the Road Rage is a very well made summer cycling top that will last. For further details and to order, visit: Ground Effect Road Rage Cycling Top