SPRAYWAY SAUL HALF-ZIP FLEECE
Large 325g Aztec (as tested) £55.00 (Women’s version available)
Sprayway’s Men’s Saul Half-Zip Fleece is not a cycle specific garment, but with better weather on the way there’ll be more ambles with fair weather friends, evenings at the pub or al fresco beer-sipping. So, it may be just up the commuting, leisure or tourers street to have a neat piece of civilian wear. If it is, this has performed very nicely on and off the bike. Women’s versions are available, too.
Materials, Size and Design
Described as a ”100 Fleece”, making it suitable to wear as an outer in warmer weather or as part of a layering system, the Saul is jersey-faced to prevent bobbling and give a smooth, tactile feel. The weave gives an attractive marbling effect, keeping it up-to-date - I am told.
Fundamentally, this is 100% polyester, with relatively small amounts of polyamide and elastane in the trim - the bits where a bit of stretch is necessary. Sticking with the hems, they’re tidily finished. The half-zip feels suitably sturdy. Zipping to the top gives a snug fit just under the chin. Full-zipped versions are available for a fiver more.
Few cycling specific garments have an old-fashioned, whopping, drop-back these days, so you’d not expect anything like it on this fleece. Having said that, my initial feeling that it would be a bit on the short side has proved unfounded off the bike - however, in the saddle my fourteen stone six-foot carcass would have preferred the XL version.
Fit is sleek, without being tight. My preference is generally for looser garments, but as a potential mid-layer, lack of bulk is no bad thing. So, if you are at the top-end of the sizing range, consider the larger size.
A small laminated pocket on the left upper arm stows away a credit card, keys, and such like.
To say that the care advice is extensive is an understatement. However, following it is not difficult and failure to do so could nullify any guarantee.
From a cycling perspective, full-on speedsters or those on long day-rides are likely to opt for rather more cycling-specific gear. Having said that, this garment fits the bill with multi-day tourers who want something functional but not tribal.
Over a good technical base-layer it was sufficient for brief evening jaunts with the mercury around the eight degree mark. when the windchill got up a jacket came into play. With springtime sunshine, it was perfect. Needless to say, the civi-cut suited tourer and hybrid rather than retro-racer. Prolonged spells on the drops chilled the kidneys.
Over a good technical base-layer it was sufficient for brief evening jaunts with the mercury around the eight degree mark. when the windchill got up a jacket came into play. With springtime sunshine, it was perfect. Needless to say, the civi-cut suited tourer and hybrid rather than retro-racer. Prolonged spells on the drops brought a chilly feeling to the kidneys.
On tour, a decent mid-layer can be pretty important, even in summer. Tested mainly during a chilly March, over a technical base-layer (such as this from Altura)and under a waterproof jacket, a steady touring pace caused little in the way of moisture accumulation. Even on moorland ascents there was little unpleasant sweaty build up on a chilly morning. Fast descents remained suitably comfy. In warmer April weather, as an outer layer, I’d have opted for a size larger - for additional arm and back length.
For gentle leisure riding or commuting at a moderate pace, the Saul is fine and will not announce you as a cyclist on arrival.
You’d not expect water-resistance, but a spot of drizzle has not done too much harm and has dried rapidly. Washing requires no special potions, but follow the instructions to maintain appearance. A spin sees it emerge from the washing machine almost dry.
In fairness, this is not a cycling specific garment. It is also in amongst a lot of competitors. However, it could find a place in my touring kit and has performed nicely on commutes, Sunday lunchtime leisure rides to the pub, and as a mid-layer. There’s no doubting that it is well-made (as you’d expect from Sprayway) and has drawn favourable comment in the style stakes, too.