Like many other tops of its kind, the Lusso Race Base Mesh Base Layer works really well in warm conditions, wicking away sweat and keeping you cool, but it's the overall design and fit that makes the Lusso stand out.
The cut is more like a race jersey than an undergarment, and you certainly feel ready for your ride when you put it on.
As with all of Lusso's kit, the Race Base is made here in the UK and it's good to see that homegrown goods can still compete on price: at £24.99 it's a good tenner cheaper than the recently tested Castelli Pro Issue and even less than the Hackney GT Bang.
Lusso hasn't achieved that price by scrimping on quality either. The overall construction is very neat and tidy – the whole thing just screams a top notch jersey, and it feels impressively durable too.
I've quite a collection of these mesh baselayers, from the likes of One-ten, Castelli, Craft, to name but a few, all at varying prices, but the Lusso trumps them all in the way it feels when you are wearing it. The Race Base is made from a synthetic fibre – an Italian multi-filament yarn is how Lusso describes it – and boy is it soft against the skin.
Lusso has designed the Race Base to fit close by using multiple panels and the stretch of the fabric. It cinches in at the waist too so there is no bunching of fabric underneath a tight fitting race jersey, the same at the sleeves. While I mention the sleeves, I'm also a fan of how short they are – you won't find them poking out under the arms of your jersey.
The cuffs, waistband and neck all use a more stretchy material than the main body to keep everything in place, and the hem has a significant drop to the rear to stop any gaps when crouched low in the saddle.
Size-wise, the baselayer is available in small through to XXL, a spread of 36-48in chest, and the sizing in the charts seems to be pretty spot on; this medium is the size I'd order and it fitted a treat.
As far as breathability goes, the mesh design works very well. If you work really hard or it's a very hot day it can get damp but you never notice it when you are riding. I always wear a baselayer regardless of the weather, and even if the Lusso does get overwhelmed it's still a nicer garment to have next to the skin than a race jersey.
The UK brand has really delivered here right across the board, and even though the Race Base scored well when we reviewed it last year, for 2017 Lusso really does seem to have added some impressive tweaks, it's lighter and seems to have an even better fit. Well worth the price increase of a few quid.
Nothing groundbreaking in terms of fabric but attention to detail and the fit makes it one of the best
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Race Base Mesh Base Layer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Lusso says: "After 12 months testing and working with Italy's leading Fabric supplier Lusso's task was to create something super lightweight, high moisture transfer and important 4 way stretch for the perfect body fit and achieving the most breathable base layer possible in todays market."
I have a lot of mesh baselayers but the Lusso is definitely one of the best, especially when it comes to fit.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* High Breathability
* 4 Way Stretch
. Soft Touch
* Quick Drying
. Anatomically Shaped
* Italian Multi-Filament Yarns
* White Only
* Made in UK
* Machine Washable
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It's early days but there doesn't seem to be any staining from sweat after being washed at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
One of the best all-round mesh baselayers I've used at a sensible price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There isn't anything to really dislike.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Lusso doesn't necessarily wick better or is more breathable than other mesh baselayers on the market, but its shape, fit and softness against the skin makes it the one I'd choose. It's cheaper than most too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.