Specialized Trail Long Sleeve Jersey review – style and tech combined

Casual styling with fabric tech and a cut that works great on the trail makes for a super versatile jersey

Specialized Trail Jersey 22
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Genuinely stylish and casual top for mooching about but more tech than most on the bike. Well priced too.

Pros

  • +

    Cool but not flimsy fabric

  • +

    Clever, mobile sleeve cut

  • +

    Subtle design

  • +

    Wear anywhere versatile

Cons

  • -

    Looks sweaty when it isn’t

  • -

    No pockets

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Specialized’s new Trail Jersey is civvy enough for beers or serious family occasions, but the tech fabric runs cool enough for gravel in Africa and hangs tough on gravity missions in autumn. It's up there with the best mountain bike jerseys and well priced too. 

Specialized Trail Jersey

Looks like comfortable merch, rides like a tech top. The 'gold' version gets contrast black shoulder sections too (Image credit: HonorKes)

Design

The Trail Jersey looks like a simple T-shirt cut at first, but wrapped over the top of the shoulder and down the sleeve is an extra strip of fabric. This stands out more on the mustard colorway where it’s a black contrast but either way it helps the sleeves and shoulders hang nicely. The ‘MiniR’ fabric has a good weight to it so the shirt doesn’t flap about but it doesn’t restrict either.

You get separate soft cuffs, a reinforced collar and a double hem and sizing is generous so it looks as relaxed as it feels and there are women’s and men’s versions. There are no pockets (hidden or otherwise) and no glasses/snot wipe, presumably because Specialized expects you to cover those off by wearing its SWAT shorts underneath.

Specialized Trail Jersey 22

That's the light shining through the trees, not a clever design on the jersey. Sorry for being confusing (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

While it feels very like a cotton-rich T, the ‘MiniR’ fabric is actually a semi-recycled synthetic mix that reflects Near Infrared Light to help reduce heat buildup. It also has a UPF 50+ rating which explains why I was way more comfortable and cool riding and walking around Morocco in it than I expected when I thought it was just a normal top. NIR reflection might help you dodge some surface to air and air to air missiles too, but don’t take my word for it.

Even though there’s no mention of an antibac treatment, it seems to shrug off smell when worn for consecutive hard work days. It’s handled thorn and shrub scrubs and dives fine and it keeps washing up a lot smarter than I do. As a result I even wore it as ‘the smartest thing I could find’ to a family memorial service and nobody noticed it was an MTB top. 

The only slight grumble I have is that the ‘ombre’ lighter to dark color fade makes it look like your lower back and belly have got sweaty and not dried out. That sounds pretty petty to write out though, so it’s definitely not a biggie. 

Specialized Trail Jersey

The shoulder cut includes a very clever extra strip to help with shaping and 'hang' (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

There are tons of jerseys out there to choose from and most riders will just go with what suits their personal style or a particular weight or venting performance. The Trail Jersey gets serious props for sauntering in looking like subtly stylish casual merch but then outperforming a lot of try hard teabags on the trail. It’s lasting well and proving versatile value from bereavement buffets to the Atlas Mountains too which is a pretty broad resume. 

Tech specs: Specialized Trail Long Sleeve Jersey

  • Price: $70 / £55 
  • Sizes: S-XXL men XS-XL women
  • Color options: Harvest Gold, Tropical Teal

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg