Cost: MSRP $204; $140 online
Source: retail stores, websites
Colors: several combinations available
How obtained: sample from company
RBR advertiser: No
Time tested: 2 months
Super-Stylish Jersey with All the Right Touches
Normally, I don’t go for snug-fitting jerseys. But after wearing the Nalini Menkar short-sleeve jersey several times this summer, I have a newfound appreciation for the virtues of well-tailored, tight-fitting tops. Introduced as part of Nalini’s summer collection, this jersey gets just about everything right.
All Nalini apparel is designed and manufactured in Italy, and Nalini outfits eight European teams in the pro peloton. The company says their work with the most demanding riders in the world helps them craft great cycling apparel for recreational riders and amateur racers. And I agree.
I bought my first Nalini jersey on a trip to Germany several years ago, and it’s still a standout among my closetful of cycling duds. The Menkar jersey is a standout, as well. Its striking styling won raves from my riding buddies the first time they saw it. And while I agree that its looks are top-notch, it’s the details of the jersey that really won me over.
The Details are Right On
Made with Nalini’s MantoDry moisture-wicking fabric, it features thinner mesh material on the front and back (the black areas) to provide additional ventilation.
The full zipper is itself a reflective strip from top to bottom and resembles a taped seam on a waterproof jacket. Reflective material runs up the middle of the back of the jersey as well. Together, they are nice safety features perfectly incorporated into the design.
A couple of times during the testing period, I reached for this jersey on rides when rainy weather threatened, or when I knew I might be heading home in the twilight. Knowing the jersey had built-in reflection, I felt more comfortable than I would have wearing another jersey.
Even the Sleeves Say “Quality”
The sleeves are made out of yet another material and stretch to fit perfectly over the upper arm, with the “heat-tapered seamless cuff” holding the sleeve perfectly in the same place for the entire ride. I have a number of jerseys that slowly slide up my arms during a ride. It’s a little thing, but it bugs me. This one doesn’t move a millimeter.
In fact, while the jersey feels a little tight sometimes when I first put it on, a few minutes into a ride it feels like a second skin. It’s just there, doing its job.
The snug fit is responsible for about the only (minor) quibble I have with the jersey. Namely, that I sometimes have a little trouble getting into the back pockets to remove or replace food while riding. I think it’s a combination of the snugness, and the fact that the outside pockets angle down toward the sides of the jersey. The middle pocket is especially made for a mobile phone, and it features a Velcro tab at the top to “lock in” the contents.
With an MSRP of $204, there’s no question this is an expensive jersey. (However, all the online prices for the jersey I saw were less than $140.) But pretty much every detail, from the styling to the perfectly fitting sleeves to the reflective material to the overall great fit are the epitome of quality. If you’re looking for a nice summer jersey, and you like Italian styling, this jersey is Bellisimo!
John Marsh is the editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of “less than podium” talent, he sees himself as RBR’s Ringmaster, guiding the real talent (RBR’s great coaches, contributors and authors) in bringing our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That’s what we’re all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John’s full bio.