Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Jon Anthony and AJ Barlas
Royal Racing has hit the trails with more new apparel for 2014, and a number of these items are targeted specifically at Enduro. Input from Enduro racers around the world, including Justin Leov, Neil "the Don” Donoghue and Steve Peat, has resulted in the birth of items like the Stage jersey. But don't worry if you're not racing Enduro, this collection is really well suited to general mountain biking use, or trail riding as it was commonly referred to prior to the Enduro craze. We've spent the winter riding in some of this gear and have had more than enough wash cycles to give you our thoughts on the jersey.
Stage Jersey Highlights
- Active moisture management T-Dot fabric
- Large micro mesh vents
- Zip neck
- Lycra edged push up cuffs
- MSRP: $59.95
The Stage jersey is a pretty good looking number! The cut is simple, but the off axis split in colors on the body and the sleeves gives it a dynamic look that has its own identity among the other lines available from Royal. We found the fit to be quite good, with just the right length in the arms and body, without being overly baggy. We did mention in our review of theStage jacket that the overall length on this jersey was longer than the jacket, and we feel that it's the jersey that is bang on (the jacket could be longer).
The jersey features mesh venting down each side and under the sleeves, keeping the weight down and the airflow high on those warmer days. Materials are fairly standard, and in a similar fashion to the Stage jacket, the jersey is a no frills item focused on value. Taking some stylistic cues from the XC trail riding scene, it includes a zip down the front, enabling it to be opened right up when overheating - useful on those long transfer stages. One point we found interesting was the lack of pockets on the back, and while it isn't something we would personally look for, jerseys with a front zip do commonly include this. Maybe it's not deemed “Enduro?” Either way, some trail riders may find the lack of rear pockets a problem on a jersey such as this.
On The Trail
The jersey's sizing and cut strike a good balance. The fit allowed us to move around freely when riding while still being tight enough for the jersey to remain in place even when things got a little wild and exaggerated body language was required to pull the reigns back in. The somewhat tighter fit also reduces the risk of tagging a passing tree branch, something we have experienced in the past, unfortunately with pretty new items as well.
The back panel of the jersey is a tad longer than the front, providing perfect coverage when hunched up over your bars during those painful climbs, but is not so long that you end up with a beaver tail flapping away behind you as you blast your way down your favorite trail. Dialed!
Things That Could Be Improved
We don't see any real need for improvements when considering the price point Royal Racing targeted with the Stage jersey. Sure, some more technical materials could be utilized, but they would only increase the price while potentially still going unnoticed in the performance category. The lack of a pocket of any sort on the rear panel is a little bit of a surprise considering the overall styling of the jersey, but while some may find it frustrating that it is not there, we actually enjoyed the clean look sans pockets.
Long Term Durability
After a full winter of riding almost exclusively in this jersey, we can quite confidently report that there have been no issues. It has been washed a lot, with the mucky conditions resulting in a filthy jersey almost every time we were out on the bike. It has taken it all in stride and still looks as good as the day we pulled it out of the packaging, ready for more of the same.
What's The Bottom Line?
The Royal Stage jersey is a fresh take on a common trail riding garment from Royal. The comfortable fit, edgy graphics, and good choice of colors should appeal to most riders. The zippered front may throw some riders off, but you really don't notice it once in the saddle and riding, and it's a welcome addition when you get hot under the collar. For the money, you can't go wrong with the Stage jersey, and you will stand out from the rest of the pack too - unless they're wearing the same kit.
For more details visit www.royalracing.com.
About The Reviewer
AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.