It started with a surprise: a direct message from the guy behind Racmmer’s official distributor here in Indonesia. Apparently he had just stumbled upon my previous review of the brand’s jersey, and decided to hand me a gift as a sign of appreciation—an offer I’m not dumb enough to turn down. I was given full freedom to choose whichever model I’d like, but he suggested me to give their newest model a try: the top-of-the-range IDR 260K / USD 19 Racmmer Elite jersey, updated with new, claimed-better, cut and fabric. With the possibility of writing another review, following his suggestion and choosing the model was a no-brainer option for me.
Disclosure: while the product reviewed here is provided by Racmmer, the content is based on my honest judgment and opinion.
Unlike my previous purchase, sorting through the catalogue was somewhat tough. As I have outlined before, the color and graphic pattern I truly Iike is only available in Pro version—exactly the one I already owned and reviewed. The remaining models are, by no means, as ugly as those text-cluttered, dorky-banner cheapos out there. Still, color and pattern selection, logo placement, as well as other small design features, indicate that the graphic was made by someone who had no idea about basic principles of design. Fortunately, I could finally spot a decent one among many—black one with purple-pink gradient sleeve, which looked surprisingly gorgeous when I took it out on a ride to the woods.
Just like before, I had to wait for almost a month of shipping from China. Unlike before, however, I didn’t get the light, airy feel the moment I took it out of its plastic package. The in-house YKK-knockoff zipper is slightly thicker, slightly sturdier, this time. It was the main fabric, however, I reckon is responsible for the heft impression. Dubbed as “Italian Fabric”, the material is claimed to be lighter and more breathable, which seemed like exactly the opposite to me; it is thicker, heavier, and devoid of any air-penetrating mesh-pattern—almost like a lycra swimsuit. Thankfully, it is just as elastic, too, which should allow perfect fit.
Well, in theory, it should. After all, the new model is marketed as aero-fit. And the sleeve really lives up the fit claim, even for a man of stickman’s arms like me. The cut of the main torso, however, is only marginally smaller compared to the older model of the same size, which means the fit is still somewhat loose. Instead of stretching to achieve that figure-hugging fit, the elastic fabric can be seen sagging, especially on the back and under the armpit—even with one size smaller than suggested for my body’s height and weight.
Out on The Ride
To see how well the jersey performs in real-world use, I took it out on 50+ km journey across Palintang-Lembang, which moderately challenging hilly route features road and gravel climbs and descends, including a 10-km hors categorie climb early on. Just at the tipping point between the end of dry season and the beginning of rainy season, the weather seemed to conspire with us to give the jersey decent performance test, as it turned to bright sky and scorching sun when we’re grinding up long climbs, and turned cloudy, cold, and windy when we’re flowing down the descents.
As I began the ride to the east, at dawn, it was evident that the jersey’s thicker fabric provided better insulation compared to the Pro version’s. Surprisingly, though, it felt just as comfortable when I began tackling the long climb, even when the sun rose higher. There was no sign of higher heat buildup commonly associated with insulating fabric; even if there actually was, it must’ve been minimal, bordering to being imperceptible. The soft, smooth texture of the fabric also felt more comfortable on the skin compared to somewhat-plasticky feel of the lower-tier version’s.
Along the cold descents, once again the thicker fabric provided better protection from the wind. On bumpy gravel descents, the deeper three rear pockets should, in theory, provided additional security to items and valuables stored there, compared to shallow ones of the Pro version’s. In reality, however, the combination of elastic material and loose cut, makes the pockets sag and bounce around on rough road. It wasn’t that bad, to be honest; it does, however, take away the advantage of deeper pockets, making it just as problematic as shallower ones.
By the end of the ride, I didn’t find something significantly lacking from the jersey’s performance. It does its job well. Though, in the other hand, there was nothing particularly inspiring, too.
Just like its previously reviewed Pro version, Racmmer’s newly-designed Elite version is a budget product, with a little higher price than the former. With both tiers seemingly aimed at exactly the same market segment, it is natural to draw comparison from the two, to see how much added value the Elite version delivered.
As an updated model, the new Elite version got few improvements right. The new, thicker fabric might not have that lightweight, airy feel of Pro version’s oversized mesh, but it provides better protection from cold and wind, without giving up significant portion on heat and sweat management capability, while its smooth texture and elasticity feel better on the skin. The in-house zipper, though nowhere as precise as premium YKK-zipper commonly found on boutique brands, is thicker too this time, which resulted in overall sturdier feel of the jersey.
Few other improvements, however, didn’t deliver as expected. The new, so-called aero-fit is only marginally smaller than the old one, and therefore failed to utilize the main fabric’s elasticity to achieve proper figure-hugging race-fit. The combination of elastic fabric and loose cut also results in saggy, bouncy rear pockets, which can be bothersome on bumpy roads. The reflective Racmmer logo, while nice to have, is gimmicky, especially given the fact that the jersey’s graphic design as a whole is often uninspiring. Hiring proper designers for both better fit/cut and better graphic design, I reckon, would benefit the brand immensely—even if it means bumping up the product’s selling price a little.
Overall, Racmmer Elite Jersey is worth the extra price from its lower-tier model. As budget product, however, it still comes with compromises. Those looking for affordable jersey with proper race-fit and better graphic might need to pay at least 50% extra, and it might be worth it. However, if you just want to ditch the dorky, carelessly-made cheap jersey, but budget is still your primary concern, Racmmer Elite is a valuable option.
Pros: Affordable price, smooth and elastic main fabric provides comfort on long rides.
Cons: Loose cut despite aero-fit claim, saggy rear pockets.
Overall rating: 3.5/5