Straightforward base layer at a reasonable price
Polaris BL Lite Tee
7 10

The BL Lite Tee from Polaris is a basic base layer/ technical T-shirt but if you want something simple at a good price, it's a solid buy.

One of the best things about the BL Tee is the slim fit - 'contoured', Polaris say. It's not quite figure-hugging on me, but I'm a bit of a beanpole. Whatever your build, it's going to fit fairly closely and there's enough stretch in the fabric, especially crossways, that it won't cut off your circulation if it's snug.

The rear is cut a little longer than the front so your lower back always stays covered when you're bent forwards on the bike, and raglan shoulders give you good movement up top.

Polaris call the fabric AirBase. It's polyester in a honeycomb weave. Know what I mean by that? A teabag weave, if you like. The outer surface is full of small dimples, basically. It's not quite mesh, but it's getting on that way. You'll have seen similar in loads of other base layers and jerseys.

The fabric wicks sweat well; not spectacularly, but well. It can feel a bit cold on your skin when wet but it dries out fast so you're never uncomfortable for long. I can't say it smells particularly good after a big ride. This is one of those tops you'll want to get into the washing machine pretty soon after you get home.

As well as wearing this as a base layer, you could use this without a jersey over the top on hot days - although you'll have to forego pockets. I've used it like this for running too. The airy weave means it's really good at keeping you cool so if you indulge in such deviant activity yourself, you can get extra use out of the BL Tee.


Straightforward base layer at a reasonable price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Polaris BL Lite tee

Size tested: Red, 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?

Polaris say: "A short sleeved base layer designed in AirBASE™ fabric; perfect for cool conditions

Constructed from 100% brushed Polyester (soft handle)

High wicking and quick drying

Contrast side panels to give a contoured fit"

It's a close-fitting polyester base layer: nothing too fancy but it puts in a solid performance.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

It's fine - good build quality

Rate the product for performance:

It's not spectacular, but it's a good, solid performance

Rate the product for durability:

There's really not a lot to go wrong here.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

I found the inner face colder than some other base layers when wet

Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Solid performance for the money.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good, close cut

Did you enjoy using the product? It's fine

Would you consider buying the product? I'd pay a bit more for a higher level of performance

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.


nbrus [577 posts] 7 years ago

£24.99 for a simple Tee is well over the odds ... especially when you can get similar for £2.99 when Aldi runs one of its numerous sports gear offers.  1

downfader [213 posts] 7 years ago

I bought my baselayers from Millets and Blacks. £10 for 2 offer a few years back.

Polaris stuff is good though, tends to have a nice cut to it compared to the walking stuff

Alan Tullett [1570 posts] 7 years ago

Bought cycle shirt, jersey, shorts and mitts for about £35 in Aldi a few weeks back. Still some available in Cambridge.