The Khyber jersey has one of the more unusual designs of an MTB jersey I’ve ever seen, and in this case it’s no bad thing. A fitted design, with flattering flashes of scarlet against the black, it doesn’t sacrifice performance for style.
The fabric is lightweight, breathable, and stretchy so fits to form – but isn’t too clingy. In practice, this means plenty of freedom of movement, without hugging too much to my bulgy bits. The fabric kept me cool on a long alpine ascent, and kept the breeze off just enough on the way back down.
The tops is made from Repreve fabric; 51% recycled polyester, 38% CoolDry polyester, and 11% Spandex – so despite getting sweaty on the climbs, it dried off rapidly as I rode. It’s also good to see Race Face using recycled material in their products – more of this please!
I rode in this jersey for well over 5 hours in one go, up and down mountains, while wearing quite a heavy rucksack, and found it comfortable. The seams are all flat locked stitched, and I didn’t experience any chaffing or rubbing.
I quite like black as a kit colour, but it can get a bit boring on it’s own, so the bright red flashes of colour at the sleeve cuffs and waist brighten things up in a distinctive fashion.
The ruched red band sits just below the bust at waist level on the front and at the same level across the back, and draws attention to the narrowest part of the body in a flattering fashion (thanks for the tip, Gok Wan).
The sleeves, which are an unusual ¾ length, just about stretched over the elbow pads I was wearing, but I’d say if you were planning on wearing body armour, you’d want to go up a size or two. I’m a fan of this sleeve length, as I find I get too hot in full long sleeves, but like a bit of added protection for the top of my arms.
Also, keep an eye on the Velcro tabs of your pads (if they have them) as if you catch the top on the Velcro, it will pull and bobble.
The back hangs a little lower at the back than the front, but not that much – another few centimetres would be nice, as I found it didn’t really cover my lower back when leaning forward. There’s no elasticated hem or grip tape around the waist; instead, the Khyber jersey relies on the length and fit to keep it in place. I did find it rode up a little under my rucksack when riding, but not uncomfortably so.
Apart from all the above, this top also has a couple of great little features that sets it above a lot of MTB jerseys I’ve tried. Firstly, it has a small zippered pocket on the left hip – perfect for a lift pass, cake money, jelly babies or a phone – and it’s nice and secure. Secondly, on the inside of the jersey, behind the pocket, is a patch of faux suede for use as a goggle or glasses wipe on the go.
Teamed with the black Race Face Khyber shorts, I did feel a bit like a bike ninja. And I liked it.
If you like your riding top fitted, but not in the style of traditional Lycra jerseys, then this is worth checking out. Performance fabric keeps you cool and dry, but if you like a bit of impact protection you’ll need to up a size. Well-thought-out details like the pocket and wipe add value. It also comes in blue with a white trim if you’re not a fan of the bike ninja look.
– Breathable, wicking fabric
– Plenty of stretch for freedom of movement
– Great pocket/glasses wipe detailing
– Not a lot of room for elbow pads or impact protection
Like the Race Face Khyber jersey? Check out our first impressions of more Race Face 2013 kit.
What Race Face say about the Khyber Jersey:
51% Repreve® recycled Polyester, 38% CoolDry Polyester, 11% Spandex, quick dry, wash & wear
Repreve® moisture wicking technology
Flatlock stitching throughout.
3/4 length sleeve
Ruched lycra waist band detail
Hidden zip stash pocket located in side panel
Faux suede pocket bag doubles as goggle wipe
Fabric has stretch but we recommend one size larger for looser fit over elbow pads