Mons Royale entered the MTB clothing scene with a bang and its first jersey, the Riders Raglan T, achieved four stars when I reviewed it last year — with only the price holding it back.
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Merino is a bit of a wonder material when it comes to performance fabrics; it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, for the most part, Merino is usually a bit heavier than its poly based counterparts and when it comes to the extreme heat and humidity, like we get here in Australia during the summer, it can be a touch warm.
With this in mind, Mons Royale has come up with a new ‘Air-Con’ merino mesh to combat the heat for its latest release, the Redwood 3/4 Raglan T Dirt.
Covering the entire back panel of the jersey, the mesh sees merino wool spun around a nylon and elastane core, creating a super lightweight and breathable material. The remainder of the jersey is made from a lightweight, non-mesh wool, and excels in the heat. In fact, the difference in material equates to a 39g difference between the Riders Raglan T and the new Redwood 3/4 Raglan T Dirt, both in a size medium.
Here, on the Gold Coast, we have had an extremely hot and sticky summer, which has pushed many of the garments I have tested to their upper limits when it comes to heat and moisture management. While merino still doesn’t quite match poly as a super airy fabric, the Redwood ¾ T has taken the Aussie heat to task — even on a few consecutive salt encrusted 37C / 99F plus rides.
The Air-Con fabric does well to expel heat, with the mesh panel on the rear acting as an effective exhaust even with a pack on. Unfortunately, the mesh stops just short of the armpits, an area that can be quite a heat sink when it's warm.
Wash not required, but definitely suggested
One of my favourite things about Merino is that it doesn’t stink and, if desired, the Redwood ¾ T can be worn for consecutive rides without being washed, rinsed in a sink or dunked in a lake. Not that I am known for forgetting to do laundry, but Merino also doesn't pick up the perma-stink that synthetic jerseys quite often acquire. That said, the material does take a bit longer to dry and you can see where your hydration pack was sitting after you take it off.
Mons has ditched the rear zippered pocket, which in my opinion isn’t a bad thing because I rarely used it, but it has kept the sunglasses/goggle wipe at the hem, which is extremely useful — especially once sunscreen infused sweat begins to drip out of your helmet on a hot climb.
Mons has also nailed the fit, it’s slim through the body but long in length with a drop tail. It’s not so slim that you feel like you’re wearing lycra, but it also doesn’t flap in the wind. The sleeves come in just below the elbow and are big enough for pads to fit comfortably underneath, but also aren’t loose and floppy like some ¾ sleeves can be.
Most of all, it’s a great looking jersey because it doesn’t look like a mountain bike jersey. Carrying over the dugout tee motif from the Riders Raglan T it’s as comfortable on the trails as it is at après drinks — or whatever else you may be doing outside.
My only real complaint about the Redwood ¾ Raglan T is the price, at NZ$120 (approx £82 / $101 / AU$132) it’s quite a lot of money for a MTB jersey. However, with bike gear and especially clothing, you get what you pay for and the Redwood ¾ Raglan T is worth every penny.