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Le Col Pro Mesh baselayer review

25 Mar 2020
Verdict:

Highly breathable under-layer for high-tempo riding

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Hugely comfortable • Clever design • Incredibly breathable • Washes well
Against 
Over-vented for very cold rides • Some may baulk at the price

The Le Col Pro Mesh baselayer avoids many traps that similar garments I’ve worn have fallen into. Granted, it’s not for display – given that it’s a baselayer – but so many close-to-the-body, string-vest-alike layers lend you the appearance of a disturbingly sexy Rab C Nesbitt. Just me? I’ll have a long, hard word with myself…

But, beyond the borderline-fetishistic connotations, these are purely functional tops, and as such need to fulfil the brief perfectly: wicking sweat, insulating the arms and core; they also need to fit tightly without constriction.

The Le Col Pro Mesh long-sleeved baselayer has nailed that brief.

 

Fit and comfort

Le Col says the Pro Mesh baselayer is 'woven in one piece to avoid seaming, meaning it sits superbly under jerseys and jackets without causing irritation.'

The torso is utterly devoid of stitching, and provides the sort of comfort you might expect – it’s like a second skin, the stretch fit of my size S/M layer being supportive with no restriction to movement on the bike.

Buy the Le Col Pro Mesh baselayer now from Wiggle for £65

There are seams on the sleeves, however, although they run along the outside of the arms. You’d have to be wearing an exceptionally form-fitting jersey over the top to notice them when riding.

Massive bonus: it doesn’t pong too much after a few uses, thanks to the material’s hydrophobic qualities.

 

Breathability

Here’s where the Le Col Pro Mesh long-sleeved baselayer really shines. I can assure you that the likelihood of overheating whilst wearing this top is incredibly slim. Not only are there sizeable perforations around the hem and at the core, but also the rear section of the one-piece body is as loosely knitted as a chainlink fence.

So, cooling air enters through the front, while exertion-related hot air is swiftly vented out the back. Factor in that the entire construction is already highly wicking, keeping sweat away from the body, and I’m wearing the most breathable baselayer I’ve ever worn. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the best I’ve ever worn…

 

Versatility

Don’t be fooled by the long sleeves into thinking this baselayer will see you through winter; it’s very much a spring and autumn garment. Le Col pitches it as 'a breathable layer for use on intense inter-season rides,' and that amply explains its MO.

Up the tempo and the extreme venting under the arms and across the core and back of the Pro Mesh baselayer ensure that heat doesn’t build up under frantic riding conditions. Wear it on a frosty morning without a very well insulated jacket or thermal jersey over the top, and you’ll be shivering with each gust of wind that strikes your torso.

Buy the Le Col Pro Mesh baselayer now from Wiggle for £65

The long sleeves do give a sense of being bolted on in order to transform the brand’s short-sleeved summer layer into something with greater versatility. To a degree, this achieves the aim, but retaining the same fabric construction at the torso means you need to ride with purpose to appreciate the effect.

A word on washing

I’ve had baselayers shrink in the wash before, to the point where they became crop tops, but after three machine washes (Le Col recommends 30°C), and drying the Le Col Pro Mesh baselayer flat (rather than tumbling it – you’ve only got to do that to a baselayer once to realise the error of your ways!), it’s retained its shape and fit perfectly.

I’ve no reason to believe this situation will change, unless my wife is in charge of the washing. Seriously, she put a cashmere cardigan of mine through a machine wash and tumble once, and it came out looking like it would be a tight fit on a toddler…

Price: 
£65

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