Chromag Recluse Wool Jersey

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Mar 7, 2019

The only jerseys in my closet that I value are made of merino wool. Short or long sleeve, base layer or mid, full zip or pull-on - the only time I'm not wearing a merino wool layer when on the bike is when it's hotter than 20ºC. Even then I have several merino t-shirts that are perfect even when it's warm out.

Chromag took a step into the merino wool pile this year with two pieces: the Recluse long sleeve jersey, and the Roam t-shirt, which I also have been wearing.


The colour of the lower portion looks khaki here, but it's really more of a natural wool colour.


A low profile collar makes the Recluse good for outer or mid layer use.

Chromag Recluse Jersey

The Recluse jersey (as well as the Roam t-shirt) has a 70/30 merino wool blend, which smells like 'wool' - my litmus test for a layer's ability to ward off body odour for multiple wearings. I wore the Recluse for 8-10 rides before needing to launder it - and even then it was because it got dirty, not because it smelled. Less laundry is always a good thing: it benefits convenience, time, money and yes, there's even an ecological impact.

It has a full-length locking zipper in the front and three pockets at the back with two zippers that slide across for convenient access. I haven't used the rear pockets, but I suppose I would if I wore this jersey for an XC or road bike ride. Otherwise I usually have a hip bag or pack on, so the pockets back there are mostly superfluous for me, although the SWAT compartment of the Stumpjumper EVO I just started testing means that hip pack won't be as necessary, so I may give the pockets a go after all.


Two zippers keep the contents of the three rear pockets safe.


Full length front zip with garage means it's comfortable to ride in if you have to zip it all the way up.

Chromag Roam t-shirt

Where the Recluse is a warmer, long sleeved jersey meant as an outer layer in the shoulder season or a mid layer when it's cold out, the Roam t-shirt - at half the price - is an even more versatile piece. Wear it on its own (or with a very thin undershirt) when it's warmer out, or as a base layer as it gets cooler. It looks just like a t-shirt, because it is, which means it isn't just a riding shirt, you can also wear it with jeans. As much as I love merino wool layering pieces, simple t-shirts are at least as useful, because you can pack one for a weekend trip (or even a week), wear it every day for casual use, and it saves bag space and the need to wash it very often. Well worth the money, even at twice the cost of other t-shirts.

Chromag Roam jersey

The Chromag Roam t-shirt is great as a riding shirt, base layer, or worn like a casual shirt off the bike.

Chromag Recluse jersey

The shots of the Recluse jersey in this article make it look khaki (thanks to golden light and the orange-hued graffiti in the background), while Chromag's shots make it look grey. In truth it's somewhere in the middle like a natural wool colour.

An added benefit of wool layers is that they tend to have understated graphics, since wool can't be sublimated, so you're more likely to get subtle tones and a dash of embroidery rather than wild graphics that belong on a motocross track. Chromag always has nicely designed soft goods & apparel, and the Recluse jersey fits into the line well. The rear zip pockets may give you away, but you could otherwise wear it on the street and no one would know you were a degenerate mountain biker that hadn't laundered their shirt in weeks - except for the unfortunate knee pads around your ankles and dirt flecks on your cheeks.

Both of these pieces are highly recommended additions to your gear closet. The Roam t-shirt may be slightly more versatile across four seasons, but the Recluse is a three-season piece that can easily also be worn for other high-output sports like running, ski touring, hiking, etc.

If you're interested in picking up any of Chromag's merino wool gear, use this link and the corresponding discount code, and they'll give you 20% off your order. (this is not an affiliate link - NSMB does not receive any proceeds from Chromag sales).

Chromag Recluse Jersey - $170 CAD.

Chromag Roam t-shirt - $96 CAD.

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Jitensha Kun  - March 7, 2019, 12:08 p.m.

How does the t-shirt fit?  I'm a large in every t-shirt I try - except Chromag.  I've got a branded cotton T that fits like a sausage casing.


Nouseforaname  - March 7, 2019, 1:11 p.m.


Measure your body measurements, then choose your jersey size.


CHEST 38.5 40 40.5 44.5 47

LENGTH 27 27.5 28.25 30 31.5

SLEEVE 8.25 8.5 8.75 9.75 10 

Sizing on the Chromag website, along with how to apply tape measure.


UFO  - March 7, 2019, 10:28 p.m.

I've got a few casual Chromag T shirts in medium like most everything else I wear, really wish I bought the large though

+1 Jitensha Kun
Pete Roggeman  - March 7, 2019, 3:46 p.m.

I'm 6'1, 195 and the L fits me well - not loose, not tight. I can't comment on a comparison to other Chromag tees since I don't own any, but I do have one of their jerseys in L and it also fits well.


RNAYEL  - March 7, 2019, 1:23 p.m.

How is the pilling?

Only cycling wool that I've found not to pill is IO Merino but they no longer have any Canadian stockists, everything is online now so I can no longer test fit.


Shoreboy  - March 7, 2019, 2:09 p.m.

Judging from the pictures, it appears to be pilling around the shoulders and upper chest.  How long Pete has been wearing it for and approx. how many washes might give some insight.

-1 Andy Eunson
Pete Roggeman  - March 7, 2019, 3:50 p.m.

I can see from the photos what you're referring to, but can assure you there is no pilling at all. What you see instead is just AJ's tack sharp photos showing a bit of wool texture.

You guys probably know this, but you'll reduce pilling by washing minimally and never putting your merino in the dryer. High abrasion areas are more susceptible, of course.


IslandLife  - March 8, 2019, 11:51 p.m.

As long as it’s a sufficient blend (as this is), should be fine.


+1 Paul Burbidge
Scott Eakin  - March 7, 2019, 4:52 p.m.

Attempted to purchase the Recluse just now, NSMB20 code is invalid. 



+1 Paul Burbidge
dan_l  - March 9, 2019, 4:46 p.m.

Same issue here.


mike  - March 7, 2019, 6:09 p.m.

The wool Jacket they have as well looks decent. Are you going to test it as well ?? Merino is $$ well spent, wear it digging a lot. I like the look of the Cromag it,s on the radar now, especially the t shirt.


Tadpoledancer  - March 8, 2019, 12:35 p.m.

My favourite kit for cool but dry conditions is a thin merino jersey (i use the one from Sweet), below a more wind resistant jersey (love the compound jersey from 7mesh). 

Keeps me warm enough and breathes really well. And it doesn't feel as constricting as a shell jacket.


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