Home » Review: Madison Optimus Short Sleeve Thermal Jersey – Stay warm while cycling, winter or summer!

Review: Madison Optimus Short Sleeve Thermal Jersey – Stay warm while cycling, winter or summer!

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Cycling is a pretty good way to stay fit, whether you do it as a hobby, for commuting, or really just to get some exercise. However, British weather tends to be pretty annoying for the daily cycling commuter, with all the wind and rain we get. It gets worse as the evenings get longer and the weather gets colder. However, be it winter or summer, rain and wind are two constants that one can never avoid. Cycling jackets are great to keep them out, but they always leave one wanting a bit more. For all of those who need that little bit more, there is the Madison Optimus Thermal Short Sleeve Jersey.

It brings the following features:

  • A cross between a short sleeve jersey and a softshell jacket, it works superbly worn directly on top of a base layer or short sleeve jersey
  • The pre-curved shape gives ultra comfort when in the riding position
  • Three rear hand pockets offer enough space for spare tubes, tools, food and a race cape
  • Constructed from a stretch softshell fabric, this short sleeve jersey keeps the chill away from your core without letting you over heat
  • A dropped rear tail stops the worst of any road spray from soaking you through
  • Reflective trims add some night time visibility
  • Elasticated rear hem with silicone gripper keeps the jersey firmly in place
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Size Guidance

Before I go any further into talking about this, I must say that the jersey comes in a pretty skin tight size. For example, I normally wear large, so I went for a large on this too. However, I found the large on this rather tight. While I was able to squeeze into it, and do a few 10 mile cycle rides, it always felt just a bit tight when putting on. I talked to Madison, and they sent me an XL instead, which worked a treat.

So if you’re not super skinny, you might want to order a size up. The XL is still a close tight fit, but in a snug and comfortable way. It isn’t loose, and it isn’t baggy.

Look and Feel

madison optimus journey front

The front of the jacket features a zip that goes all the way up to your neck, though you’re welcome to not use that. The front is quite a snug fit, and when you put this on, you have to stretch it to be able to do the zip up. However, that is part of the design to give you a snug and warm fit.

madison optimus back

The back and sides feature some reflective strips, as well as a rear tail to avoid any splash back when you’re cycling in muddy/wet conditions. There are also three rear pockets, that work rather well to store items such as wallets, extra gloves/hats or other essential spares.


Once you get over the size issue, it is pretty comfortable. It has been designed to be naturally curved, which means that it gives you a very natural fit when you cycle. While you can wear it both over a base layer or without, I found it was rather comfortable just as the lowest layer. It also meant that it gave me the snug possible fit, keeping me warm on cold cycle rides.

During cycling, there are no seams or weird areas that feel uncomfortable, and it definitely gets full marks for comfort.

In fact, while I waited for the XL to be delivered, I tried the L on one of my cycle rides, and while it was tight around the arms, even that didn’t feel overly tight. This is due to the lovely soft stretch fabric that adjusts itself to your body shape.


This works rather well to give you warmth around the chest area. If you ever feel cold around the chest area while cycling, or feel that the wind always finds a way to get in, this is the jersey for you. The fact that it zips up all the way to your neck ensures that you are fully protected on the inside. In fact, almost every single time I wore this, it was a rather sweaty experience.

For this reason, I wouldn’t advise putting your phone in the back pocket, unless you don’t mind it getting very very sweaty!

All in all though, with this jersey, warmth is definitely guaranteed. On days with little rain and wind chill, I wore this, a base layer on top, and my usual cycling jacket on top. On a warmer day, this should be enough on its own.

More information

More information on the Madison Opimus Short Sleeve Thermal Jersey can be found on the Madison website.

The website lists it at £89.99, however cheaper options can be found on online retailers such as Amazon, where it retails for £66.61, including free delivery!


Cycling jerseys have suddenly become a must have for me, thanks to this. Enough said!

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