The many benefits of merino wool as a wonder fabric have been well documented during its meteoric rise to the top of the active person’s wardrobe. What’s less talked about is Merino’s Achilles heel – the wind. While the thin, lightweight wool that goes into our riding gear does a superb job of wicking moisture away and regulating our temperature, it’s pretty useless at stopping the wind, as those of you who have stood on a ridge in a howling Nor’wester will attest too. We combat this in other activities by adding a heavier windproof layer but when riding bikes this isn’t always practical. The designers at Mons Royale realised this and found a solution with a new range of long sleeve wind-proof jerseys.
We were given the Redwood to test, which is their lightest-weight wind jersey coming in the ultralight 140gsm Air-Con merino. The crux of the new wind-proof design is the ripstop polyester panel which covers the front of the jacket and adds a breeze-blocking capability, as well as giving added protection to the delicate merino yarn.
First impressions: as with most Mons garments, this is one stylish piece of kit, that would be right at home in my going-out drawer rather than bundled up on the floor with my riding gear. Then there was the fit – it was snug in all the right places but baggy enough to give the rider an air of steeze on the bike, and of course it came in slimming black.
On the trails the Redwood performed masterfully, giving a perfect balance between warmth, breathability and wind protection. While the wind panel is only on the chest area, it’s effectiveness at cutting the wind-chill was instantly noticeable on the faster descents.
The jacket has a pocket in the kidney area which is on the small side but provides a good stash spot for keys and at a squeeze a phone, however I would have loved a couple more pockets on the Redwood. This was as much to do with the amount of use I was getting out of the jacket around town as well as the need for more carry spots while riding.
Overall Mons seem to have nailed it with this lightweight packable, wind-proof jersey which goes a long way towards negating merinos only weakness. The Redwood is ideal for Spring and Summer use but I’m not sure it’s quite up for the coldest days riding; perhaps the other wind-proof jackets in the range would fare better in the colder months, but hopefully we see the Kiwi brand expand this line for next year.
For more information or to snag yourself one, head here