Featherweight construction for minimal weight, maximum cooling thanks to the Air Lite ST, UV protection, and full front zip for the hottest days.
- 3 Fabrics
- Air Lite ST – 100% polyester
- Sleek Wick ST – 84% polyester, 16% elastane
- Wick Matrix – 50% polyester, 50% nylon
- Full front zip
- Unidirectional mesh back for pocket support
- 3 back pockets
- SL technology
- Tested US size small
- Weight – 138 g (4.9 oz)
- Pit to pit – 47.3 cm (18.6 in)
- Center back – 69.3 cm (27.3 in)
- Retail – $120
Mavic is an iconic French company that has been a large part of cycling for many years. They have been well known for their wheels and recently branched out into helmets, shoes, and clothing. Over the course of the summer, I was given the opportunity to put some of these to the test. I previously had reviews of the Plasma Helmet and Huez Shoes. This review and the following one will focus on a summer weight jersey and bib shorts. I want to thanks Mavic for giving me the opportunity to test these.
The Mavic Helium Jersey is a lightweight jersey ideally made for warmer temperatures. I, therefore, used it throughout the summer here in Bend as temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees during the summer with only the mornings being on the cool side. I used the jersey with the matching Helium Bib Shorts on rides ranging from 20 to 100 miles. I even used them in a race. I had a little rain but not much, mostly just sunshine.
The Mavic Helium is a very lightweight jersey, made for hot days. The Helium is part of the Hot Ride + collection which is designed for optimal thermo regulation at hot temperatures, above 28 degrees Celsius or 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It is made with a mix of several fabrics with different properties and mapped into strategic locations for performance. The bulk of the jersey is made of Air Lite ST fabric. This fabric is 100% polyester and makes up the back and sides of the jersey. It is a workhorse type fabric that holds shape, breathes, and wicks moisture. In the front of the jersey, Mavic has used their Wick Matrix fabric. This is a composite fabric of 50% polyester and 50% nylon. It has a rougher feel to it with ridges and rings that essentially pull moisture away from the skin. It is a very light and breathable fabric so it has been used on the chest to increase cooling. The final fabric of note is the Sleek Wick ST fabric that is used over the shoulders. This fabric has a smoother feel to it and has more stretch from the 84% polyester and 16% elastane mix. It is also noticeably softer feeling to the skin. It is used over the shoulder to improve comfort and movement.
Some other features of the Helium Jersey are the full-length zipper for easier on and off and venting. The zipper has been reversed for a cleaner appearance, but that puts the zipper against the skin. The seams have not been flat lock stitched, which adds some bulk underneath, but it is minimal. Around the collar, Mavic has lined it with mesh to eliminate seams and help pull moisture away from the neck. The collar itself is of medium height, just under 4 cm tall. At the bottom hem, there is a 2 ½ cm elastic band with some smaller gripper sections around the back. This helps keep the jersey in place as you ride. On the back, there are three pockets with an elastic upper opening. These pockets are of good size and with the elastic top, they hold items well. The mesh used on the back has been designed with a unidirectional stretch so the pockets can better support the weight of the items put inside them. The right pocket of the three has been made with an audio port so you can run your cable up underneath your jersey if you need to wear a radio or listen to music. Mavic is all about a close-fitting jersey with the Helium; they have even finished the sleeve cuffs with elastic to keep it snug and out of the wind. If you do find yourself out in lower light conditions, Mavic has added some reflective elements on each side of the lower back as well the left shoulder. While not huge they are better than nothing.
The Helium Jersey does have a different look to it with the panels. The farther away the more they look uniform but there is one thing about the jersey; the chest panels are see through. Obviously, as a guy this is not a huge deal, but something worth noting. You can see in the picture from the Leadman race that the bib straps are able to be seen. This is mainly due to the thinness of the fabric. So if you want a really lightweight and breathable fabric, you should expect this. As long as your bib shorts are not see through. I also want to comment on the construction of the jersey. Now that I have tested several products from Mavic, I have to say their construction is well done. All the fabrics are high quality, and the finishing is top notch. I have no complaints with their construction.
As with the other items I have reviewed from Mavic, I was not able to find any information about the sustainability of the materials used in the jersey. Looking into the company as a whole, there is not much information about any corporate initiatives either. At least, Mavic is in the industry of endorsing a cleaner and healthier mode of transportation. For these reasons, I gave the jersey a one for sustainability.
Arm Sizing (15%)
Ease of Movement (20%)
Torso Sizing (25%)
Since Mavic is a French company it is important to look at the label when you size your jersey. For instance, I tested a US size small which is a Japanese large and International medium. To determine the size I needed I just used the Mavic size chart and found that it was right on. I have a 38-inch chest, so I opted for the International medium which covers up to a 37.7-inch chest and I wanted it to be on the tighter side. This is exactly what I got. The Helium jersey fits tight against my skin with a race fit. There is no extra material to flap in the wind, and this is exactly what I expected. For a fabric to wick moisture away from the skin it has to come in contact with the skin so it needs to be tight. The US size small contours to my body well without feeling like I am stretching the jersey.
Each of the different fabrics used has a different feel to them. The back and shoulder fabrics are definitely softer than the chest fabric is but once on the bike, I never noticed it again. Yes, it is a bit rougher but this did not cause any discomfort. Once on the bike I did not have to think about the jersey which is the point. The length of the arms and the torso were both right on. Couple that with elastic hems on both and they stayed in place well and felt comfortable. The neck is also sized well; some jerseys tend to be too tight at the neck, but this was not the case with the Helium. The jersey does not have flat locked seams and the zipper is against the skin, both of these I thought could be issues, but that was not the case. Like the rougher fabric, once on the move I did not notice anything except that the jersey performed well. I would be nervous about wearing this jersey with a pack as the harsher fabric on the chest may rub, but it also makes no sense to do so with this jersey, so I never tried it. I have been really happy with the fit of the jersey and continue to grab for it when the heat rises up.
Moisture Transport (25%)
The Helium was my go to jersey for many of my long rides leading up to the Leadman 250 in Bend. As my rides got progressively longer over the summer, it was a perfect opportunity to test the jersey. The weather typically would be cool in the morning and would warm up into the 90’s so having a lightweight jersey was key. I really appreciated the breathability of the jersey when the heat came on. I could see why they rated this for warmer temperature as it does not provide much protection from the wind so in cold temperatures you will likely be cold. Many of my rides were in the mountains and forests here around Bend and with the increased effort of going uphill I also felt like the fabrics moved moisture well. Whenever starting a descent after a long climb it would only take a short time, and the jersey would be completely dry again and ready for the next climb. You could tell it was doing its job when I would get home and have salt stains across the black fabrics. I liked the Helium so much that I decided to use it during the race as well.
I have put in close to 700 miles with the jersey on, and it is still holding up like a champ. I have not had any issues or problems with it. The zipper has been smooth and easy to use. I even appreciate the added reflectivity on the jersey. While they are not the biggest spots, at least they are there. I am surprised when some jerseys are totally devoid of reflectivity. It seems so easy to add at least a little for added safety.
The pockets are fairly straightforward on the Helium. They are big enough to adequately store items in there but not so big that things get lost. I had no issues getting things in an out while riding. I even carried an extra bottle in the center pocket, and it did so comfortably. I worry about this stretching the jersey down or making it too uncomfortable, but the jersey did well with the extra bottle. I know it is bad but I really like having the audio port out of the jersey pocket. I like to listen to music when I ride, especially on harder rides when I know the roads have a good shoulder. Before anyone gets on my case, I can hear the traffic and have been also testing a single earphone option. Being able to route the cord up underneath is a huge plus. I think every jersey should do this. They are easy to add and since smart phones now can also track your workouts it makes sense that some people will also want to listen to music.
Overall, the Mavic Helium Jersey has been a fun jersey to test. The true question when I test something is whether I would be willing to buy it, and if I would recommend it to friends. I would say yes on both. The Helium is an excellent hot weather jersey. The material mix was strategically chosen, placed, and seem to live up to their objectives. I am glad I went with the US size small. The size chart is right on so size accordingly. Just remember that if you want the jersey to maximize cooling and moisture management, you will need to have it tight against the skin.
The Helium does have a different look to it with the fabric on the chest and the zipper. The design is not my first choice, but it does not look bad either. At least, it is made with more generic colors as these would really stand out if it was another color. The chest fabric is very thin and see through to an extent, to be expected with such a light fabric. The jersey has been an excellent test. I think it could be made even more comfortable with flat locked seams and not having the zipper against the chest, but I still found it to be comfortable. If you ride in a place where it is often hot, take a look at the Mavic Helium Jersey. It retails for $120, and they offer the Helium Bib Shorts that I am also reviewing to complete the kit. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Very breathable
- Audio port in pocket
- Good fabric mix
- Moves moisture away from the body well
- Seams are not flat locked
- Zipper is against the skin
- See through chest fabric
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