The half-zip of MAAP’s Alt_Road 1/2 Jersey is an interesting move for a gravel/bikepacking top that MAAP says is for hot weather. Not being able to fully unzip to dump heat on a hot climb will put some elevation-keen riders off.
We think MAAP has missed the mark with the Alt_Road 1/2 Jersey as it's considerably more versatile than they let on. While it may not be best suited to hot summer temperatures, it's very versatile on cooler summer rides where temperatures can fluctuate, or as part of a layering system into shoulder months. The result is a riding top that makes it into my best gravel bike clothing pile when I'm heading out on a big ride.
Design and specifications
MAAP has used a 150 g/m2 merino wool blend (49 percent polyamide, 4 percent elastane, and 47 percent wool) which has a slightly heavier feel to it and is soft against the skin. This 'Naturalmatch' wool blend is said to maintain the benefits of natural fabrics whilst improving durability and elasticity. The material is rated 50 UPF to stop you from burning through the jersey too.
The fit is considerably more relaxed than MAAP’s road jerseys, which are known for having a very close fit, but still share a similar cut to the tight-fitting aero jerseys. The arms are rolled forward so they are optimized in a riding position and are a little longer than other jerseys I have used, something that I am a fan of. The arm hems don’t feature any silicone grippers but still stay in place while riding, the lower hem has some silicone graphics to stop the jersey from riding up.
You get the standard three rear pockets for storage which are a good size for storing various ride essentials, plus there's a zipped valuables pocket as well.
The fit is casual for MAAP so the jersey is on the trim side compared to other comparable gravel and endurance tops. It’s very comfortable though and my medium size gave a smooth but loose-ish fit. The arm positioning, arm length, and neck sizing were particularly well measured avoiding any bunching. The material is also soft against the skin and all the stitching is neat and tidy to avoid any irritation.
The material is warmer than expected, which means that the jersey isn’t suited to very hot weather. The half-zip also limits the amount of heat that can be dumped if you are getting too warm, as the jersey cant to be fully opened up. The half-zip still has a good amount of length to let some breeze in if you're moving at a decent pace. If you do work up a bit of a sweat, the merino in the material stops sweaty chills and drys pretty quickly too.
I found the merino wool regulated temperature really well though so it’s perfect for mid to low 20 celsius days and fluctuating temperatures. Pair it with some arm warmers, a warmer base layer, or as part of a layering system and it could be used in colder temperatures too. I wore it on a few early-season bikepacking and gravel rides and found it versatile throughout the rides whether paired with a thin jacket in the morning or evening and worn on its own mid-day.
As the jersey is a little heavier in material and tighter fitting than other gravel-based adventure-orientated jerseys it means that the pockets are a bit more usable. Pop a few heavy items in there and they don't sag or sit to the side as some other endurance casual jerseys do.
A well-cut casual but unflappable fit suits pacey gravel or cross-country rides as well as it does all-day bikepacking adventures too. The half-zip might be a deal breaker for some but I felt it still opened up enough to cool the body as long as you weren't grinding up a climb – MAAP also offers a full-zip Alt-Road jersey in the same material if you want more zip.
I found the Alt_Road 1/2 Zip jersey to run a little warmer than advertised, which is great as it actually makes the jersey more versatile than the summer jersey that MAAP makes it out to be. That's a real bonus as broadens the usability of this premium product.
Tech specs: MAAP Alt_Road 1/2 Zip Jersey
- Price: $205 / £155
- Materials: 49 percent polyamide, 4 percent elastane, and 47 percent wool
- Colors: Black, Dark Teal
- Size availability: XS to XXL