Every piece of kit I own has to pass the visibility test. It’s that mental checklist I go through before every ride. Am I visible enough? Do I have enough bright colors? Will I be seen from a distance? Louis Garneau has made some of those decisions easier with their new RTR line. I’ve had the Elite M2 RTR Jersey for a while, so it’s time to give it the run-down.
Louis Garneau Elite M2 RTR Jersey Features:
- Extra-reflective inserts “glow” when hit by light
- Low-profile collar
- Five total pockets, including a lined pocket for valuables and a stash pocket for empty wrappers
- Coldblack coating to block summer’s UV rays
- MSRP: $179
Be seen — especially in the dark
Visibility is the new black. Well, it’s been the “new” black for quite some time, but it’s just now becoming even more prominent in everything from helmets to shoes. Louis Garneau has now even created a collection of apparel that revolves around being seen out on the road. This modest line is called RTR and consists of a jersey, vest, jacket and a helmet — all in men’s and women’s flavors.
The Elite M2 RTR Jersey starts with a full-featured jersey that’s typical of Louis Garneau and adds elements to add visibility — particularly at night. Reflective beads are built into the fabric and literally glow when light hits the fabric. And, during the day, the bright yellow highlights can be seen from a distance (thought I’d like to see more blocks of this color).
With elite-level jerseys from Garneau, I’ve typically sized up to a large (5’11” – 170 lbs) and had a great fit. This one fits just as expected — not race-tight, but not loose either. No question, the folks at Louis Garneau know how to make an excellent kit. Time and time again, every Garneau piece I own gets more than its fair share of use. This one is no exception as I keep reaching for it on every ride.
Speaking of reaching, the Elite M2 RTR has plenty of pocket options to reach into. Technically, it has five pockets to be exact: three traditional jersey pockets, one water-resistant zippered pocket for phones/wallets and another small stash pocket on the right hip. This variety of pockets has proven useful overall, but I did have trouble keeping gel packets in place inside the hip pocket. As it turns out, I was using it for more than it was intended to carry. It’s technically built to stash empty wrappers from gels, bars, etc. It certainly works well for that purpose, but don’t try to carry anything of substance as it will work its way out.
Something that I did notice about the load carrying ability of this jersey is that if the pockets are empty with just an iPhone in the right-rear pocket, it has a tendency to twist the jersey to the right. I typically ride with my phone in that pocket, but as the weather has warmed and I’m not carrying a vest or jacket back there in addition to the phone, I’ve had to move it to the left side where it stays put better. The angle on the pockets makes access a breeze.
The hem of the jersey doesn’t feature the typical gel backing, but instead features a rubberized elastic mesh that does a decent job of keeping everything in place. It creeps a little, but on par with most jerseys that lack aggressive gel grippers. Also, the laser-cut sleeves offer excellent comfort due to their minimalistic design, but some may consider them “unfinished”. They are a little longer than typical, so you might end up with double tan lines, but they are very comfortable.
Something else that adds to the comfort is the low-profile collar. I’m a fan and because of it, the zipper is easier to pull up or down. The ease of zipping is also enabled by a nifty zipper pull that’s perfect to grab and pull.
Although my test jersey is very dark, the Coldblack finish keeps heat at bay. I’ll have to follow up on that later this summer after some scorching-hot rides, but so far it seems to work.
While this jersey is super-soft overall and way comfortable, I was let down by the lack of flat lock seams. I think at this price, that’s something I’d expect. It just makes things that much more comfortable when the seams can’t be felt.
- Soft material feels awesome next-to-skin
- Excellent breathability and Coldblack reduces heat
- Day and night visibility with accents and highly-reflective material
- Tons of pockets
- Angled pockets make for easy access
- Low-profile collar and easy-to-use zipper
- Lacks flat lock seams — something I’d expect at this price
- Heavier objects in right-rear pocket tend to twist the jersey
- Hip pocket couldn’t keep gel packets in place
- Could use more daytime visibility accents
The Bottom Line: Louis Garneau Elite M2 RTR
As expected, Louis Garneau has delivered a top-notch jersey once again. It fits well and feels extra comfortable next-to-skin, but I wish it had a touch more daytime visibility to match the nighttime reflectivity. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com
As mentioned, Garneau knows a thing or two about making kits and the Elite M2 RTR jersey is a great example of that. If you ride early or late, the reflectivity is fantastic -- I just wish it had a little better daytime visibility. That said, it remains one comfortable jersey.