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Le Col Pro Summer shorts and jersey 2019 review

17 May 2019

Le Col’s newest Pro range of summer kit promises performance but without sacrifices to style or comfort

Cyclist Rating: 
Very slick, yet technically advanced and practical kit, with Le Col's typically elastic and breathable feel
A little pricey, and weak grippers on the shorts will irritate some riders

Le Col has been on the warpath. In 2017 it raised over £1m in crowdfunding, and has since signed Bradley Wiggins as its major brand ambassador. Where Le Col was once a side-project for ex-pro cyclists Yanto Barker, it’s now a truly international brand.

It’s no surprise, then, that the range has expanded hugely. The Pro collection sitting in the middle of the range between the entry-level Sport and the highest tier Hors Categorie collections.

This year’s collection stays true to the fundamentals of Le Col’s design, which seeks to bring together performance, comfort and aesthetics. While it looks like slick and comfortable kit from a distance, up close there are some impressive nods to performance.

Buy the jersey from Wiggle and the shorts from Wiggle 

The Pro jersey has been through wind tunnel testing to verify its aero fit, and Le Col claims that this season it uses a new fabric construction to help the material’s strength and fit.

The shorts have employed a new fibre to improve the grip, fit and breathability of the shorts’ upper, and mesh bib straps. The comfort focus is also apparent lower on the shorts, where flat-locked seams have been carefully positioned to prevent irritation.

It all seems encouraging on the surface, but as with any clothing, the comfort and performance on the bike far outweigh any design features or engineering claims. So we put the Pro collection through its paces in Mallorca and in the chilly lanes of the New Forest.

Le Col Pro Jersey

On first impressions I worried the Pro jersey would prove a little too warm for the summer months, being personally prone to overheating. It’s black and the material feels a little thicker than the likes of Pro Air jersey, but on first use, I was pleasantly surprised.

The jersey was cool to the touch and had a nice wicking and heat conduction quality, that meant I didn’t feel overheated in the Mallorcan spring. At the same time, coupled with a good base layer and arm warmers it was protective enough from the elements to suit cooler temperatures of around 12-15°C.

Technically, the jersey strikes me as more suited to eager sportive or club riders than hardcore racers. The fit is slim enough to be aero, but ultimately quite roomy compared to super aero offerings. Similarly, the pockets are quite spacious and the grippers fairly effective but with a degree of movement.

For my part, with a relatively long body, I found the fit highly agreeable. The sleeves don’t cut into my armpits, the bottom of the jersey doesn’t ride up beyond the bibs (as some racier fits do) and I don’t find any bunching of excess material.

Crucially, the jersey does the simple things well. There are some more complex features that I also enjoyed – the valuables zip pocket, the reflective tab that served as a nice aesthetic flourish and even the slightly beefed up lycra flap to cover the top of the zip.

As a combo, the pro jersey also matched the attributes of the shorts nicely.

Le Col Pro bibshorts

Le Col’s shorts have always had a distinctive quality to their fit and material. Where some shorts can be tight, long, and highly supportive to the point of almost being constrictive, Le Col bib shorts represent a more flexible, elastic set of shorts.

Perhaps that’s down to the ratio of lycra to polyester, perhaps it’s to do with the weave of the material. I’ve always found it a big appeal of the shorts.

That sense of elasticity and movement extends to the leg grippers and bib strap mesh. For me, the upper mesh offers a very nice spread of pressure and a huge amount of breathability. The Hors Categorie shorts are distinguishable by having no seams, which makes for a slightly more premium feel.

The leg grippers, while offering a nice level of pressure on the quad, and a nice cool texture can prove a little weak in retention, and I often found the short hem creeping up the leg. For me, that’s no issue, but some people may find it frustrating over time.

Buy the jersey from Wiggle and the shorts from Wiggle 

Along with being elastic and breathable, Le Col shorts are also distinguishable by what I’d consider a fairly thick chamois. These shorts specifically use a Pro Dolomiti Chamois. Again, this very much suits my riding style, being quite active on the saddle, whereas others prefer a thinner chamois (Sportful’s chamois represent the other side of the spectrum, in my experience).

Ultimately, bib shorts are the most intimate of clothing choices and so each rider will have different tastes. For me, the Le Col Pro shorts certainly work well, and are a pair of shorts I find myself reverting to often for long tough rides throughout the summer.

On the whole, the Pro collection represents a subtle but encouraging evolution of Le Col’s range. While Le Col has scaled up from a small cult brand to an international one, it’s good to see that it’s lost none of its identity.

The Pro range isn’t cheap, but it is tuned extremely well to the needs and tastes of eager weekend, chain gang and sportive riders.

Jersey - £120, Shorts - £150

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