The Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey is a super comfortable insulating layer. It feels good on the inside and the fit is comfortable
- Large tooth plastic zipper
- Perfect placement of the shoulder seam
- Excellent fit
- Narrow pockets
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As gravel riding evolves, brands are chasing the opportunities. Sportful was early to embrace the needs of gravel riders with its Giara line introduced in 2017. Then in 2019 the Supergiara line addressed a new, more performance-oriented need in the gravel community. The 2021 Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey continues that same trend with new features and an updated look.
We previously included the Sportful Supergiara summer jersey in our article about the best kit for gravel riding. Sportful knows how to make great gear for rides that go beyond the pavement, but as the weather cools down, we are looking for warmer options. This year we spent time riding mixed surfaces in cool weather and evaluating the design and performance of this piece. Keep reading to see how it stacks up against the best cycling jerseys.
Design and aesthetics
The Supergiara line of clothing is performance oriented but takes a step back from the most aero options the brand offers. There's then a variety of different options for different temperature ranges and also different graphics on the fabric. The Escape tag added to the name of this piece references the specific graphic on the fabric, but there is more to the design than just the graphic treatment.
The base starts with a medium-weight polyester fabric with a brushed interior. In terms of technical garments, it's very straightforward. You get a lightweight and long sleeve layer that gives just a little bit of insulation. It's highly breathable because it lacks any type of membrane to protect against wind or rain.
The assembly of the garment is equally straightforward. While there are a few extra panels, the bulk of the pattern is seven pieces, and it's even simpler than that might sound. The front is only two panels because of the high-quality zipper and there are no side panels. Each sleeve is a singular panel, as is the bulk of the back. The last two major panels, not counting the pockets and the cuffs, add substance to the collar and add silicone grip to the lower rear.
The Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey's pocket offering is exceptional. Instead of the usual three pockets there are six, and it's this feature that separates it from the road-focused thermal jerseys. First against the back panel are three equally distributed gusseted pockets and directly on top of those, and starting just slightly lower, are three mesh pockets.
With the right design long sleeve jerseys can serve the same purpose as a summer jersey with arm warmers while ridding you of an extra layer. For me, the strength of Sportful's Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey is that it lacks any wind or rain blocking materials which makes it highly adaptable as temperatures change.
Leaving the house looking at a thirty-degree temperature swing throughout the day (45-75F / 7-24C) with a chance of rain is a tricky proposition. Riding off-road also typically means micro-climates as you move from heavy tree cover to wide open spaces. It's in situations like this that the Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey worked best for me and it was because of its ability to let cool air come through.
When it's cold outside it matches well with a lightweight shell. The brushed inner does a good job both of trapping heat and wicking moisture away from the skin. As the day heats up it's as simple as opening, and eventually stowing, the shell. Moving through the air on a bike generates more than enough wind to cool off even if you find yourself under sunny skies.
Part of what makes it so successful as part of a layering strategy is the fit. It's just incredibly comfortable and flattering. It's not super compressive but at the same time it's very well-tailored. The seam curving over the top of the shoulder is another high-point that's both close fitting and never restrictive.
The pockets, the most unique feature, are actually less impactful than they might seem. There are six total pockets but the arrangement means they don't hold all that much. The pockets are on the narrow side and quick to stuff to capacity. Because the mesh pockets sit directly above the base pockets, and lack their own gussets, filling one mostly fills the other. That means the pockets start a bit on the small side and don't gain much with the extra openings - think of them as extra organisation rather than extra space.
The Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey is a great piece of kit. There are extra pockets but they add organisation options more than extra space. There are also design choices that balance muted colours with a flashy design. Although the Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey takes aim at the gravel market there's nothing to keep you from using it no matter what road surface you cover.
This piece does its best work as a layer of insulation separated from a shell. It's well tailored and luxurious on the inside. If you only need a little extra warmth, use it on its own. If there's wind, precipitation, or the temperature keeps dropping then add a shell or consider a warmer base layer.
Tech Specs: Sportful Escape Supergiara Thermal Jersey
- Price: £130 / $150 / €109.90 / AU$180
- Materials: 100% Polyester
- Weight: 218g (size small)
- Suggested temperature range: Intense effort: 10 to 20 degrees C – Steady effort: 18 to 25 degrees C
- Size availability: S-XXXL
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx
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