Words: Will Shaw

Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith

Unlike many brands in the mountain bike apparel space, Royal exclusively focus on mountain biking. There’s no snow or lifestyle range, and this allows them to concentrate on performance-oriented mountain bike apparel. They were also co-founded by Steve Peat over 20 years ago and are based in the mountain biking hotspot of South Wales, so they’re about as ‘core’ brand as you’ll find. 

If you’ve read the trail pants mega feature, you’ll already know I was a big fan of Royal’s Apex Race Pants. For me they struck the best balance between all-day wearability, durability, gravity capability, and getting the little details right. Having ridden the Apex Pants a couple of times prior to getting out in the Apex Jersey, I had high hopes. 

The Apex is Royal’s top of the line long sleeve jersey. Priced at $114.95, it needs to deliver premium performance considering you can get a jersey for half that price. My first impressions unpacking the jersey were how lightweight it felt. I received a size large jersey, and it weighed in at 150 grams. I was sent jerseys from many of the brands who sent pants for the pants test, and the Royal Apex was the lightest long sleeve jersey. It was also a size large, whereas many of the others were mediums. 

The other first impression was how airy the jersey felt, which was somewhat of a surprise considering Royal’s South Wales HQ! For someone riding in Newcastle in the middle of summer however, I was grateful the jersey felt like it would breathe well. The jersey is constructed from 100 percent recycled micro-mesh fabric, which is nice to see. 

Both of my first impressions of the jersey played out as expected on the trail, with the Apex offering the best breathability of the jerseys I received for the pants feature. The material also felt nice and cool on my skin, and wicked sweat well to avoid sticking. 

The Apex also features an anti-bacterial treatment. In practice I found the jersey still smelt like sweat after a ride, however this treatment should help the Apex avoid the dreaded permafunk in the medium to long term. 

Breathability and durability are the two main features when it comes to a good jersey in my eyes. I put in half a dozen wears of the Apex with no visible signs of wear aside from one picked stitch from some trail debris. I imagine as the jersey is so light it may tear easier than some of the heavier duty jerseys out there, however for me the trade-off of better breathability is one I’ll take.

 

The Apex is offered in three colours in Australia. There’s the Steel Blue and Black I tested, a grey and black, and a yellow and black. It’s offered in 4 sizes from small through to extra-large. I’m 185cm but with a cyclist’s upper body. The large was perfect for gravity riding with room for upper body protection. If I was after the Richie Rude fit medium would’ve worked also. 

If the pricing of the Apex Jersey is a touch steep, Royal also off their Core Long Sleeve Jersey for $70.95, and the Quantum Jersey for $97.96. Overall, if you’re after a high-quality long sleeve jersey that you’ll be thankful for on every summer ride, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Royal Apex. 

Hits:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable 
  • Great skin feel 
  • Use of recycled fabric 

Misses:

  • Expensive 

Price: $114.95

From: Echelon Sports