Team Issue vs Replica Jerseys: What is the difference?

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Both the replica and team original jersey from Santini
 

Both versions of the same team jersey are shown above with the replica version on the left and team-issue version on the right.    We've featured the team-original version of the Orica/GreenEdge in our collection which you can view here.

One of the earliest  manufacturers to offer two different options was Sportful when they sponsored the mighty MAPEI team.   But more recently, it was Descente that really pushed the concept to the max it when they won the contract for Bjarne Riis's CSC team in 2006 which was rumoured to have cost the company in excess of €1 million!

For reference, the two Santini jerseys in 2012 were priced at £56.95 and £99.95 respectively.

Despite their well-known heavy price-tags, Rapha have also taken a pretty reasonable approach to their Team Sky jersey offerings with a "Supporters" version at £40, a "Replica" version at £75 and finally the "Pro" version available for £140.    They also offer a "Kids Supporter" version at £35.

But Rapha is not the most expensive pro jersey of 2013, that accolade goes to the TeamGB AdiStar jersey which is available from Evans Cycles at £189.99!   Given that the adidas cycling line is made by MOA - who also make for Rapha - I'd imagine a bit more thought has gone into the Team Sky version!

With the introduction over, here's a run down on the differences between the two Santini jerseys:

Different size pattern
Pro riders are a different shape to most amateur cyclists!  If you ever been to a pro race, looking at the guys at the end of the race with their jerseys off, most resemble a bunch of 14 year old kids!  So it should come as no surprise that pro-issue kit is much smaller.   An XL in the pro issue jersey is more like a Medium replica jersey.

More advanced materials
If you take a close look you can see Santini have used three different fabrics in the pro jersey, no doubt influenced by recent trends for jerseys to be super-tight and aerodynamically efficient compared to previous years.   The fabric on the shoulders is the same that they use in the team skinsuits, previously worn by the Australian track team to great effect.

Zip Length
Whilst a replica jersey normally comes with a 14cm length zip, this one has a full length zip which presumably Santini make for the Oz market.  Given the temperatures in Australia, it would make sense to offer a longer zip for better ventilation.

Country of Manufacturer
It's refreshing to see that  both jerseys from Santini are made in Italy.  This is not always the case, often with the cheaper replica jersey being outsourced to the far east to reduce cost of manufacture.