Sometimes simple is best. The Lusso Windbloc T-shirt has a simple brief: keep the wind off your front. This it does, and does so well it's almost to a fault.
These days many cycling products are trying to be everything to everyone, for every ride - which can lead to paralysis in the bedroom as you try to work out *which* of the multifunctional garments you'll need for *this* particular ride, give the forecast *right now*. Which one will deliver the best performance with the least compromise?
Background: Lusso have been around since 1982, and the kit's designed and made in Manchester. Yep, you get a little Union flag on your arm. The husband and wife founders come from pro racing and M&S (yes, that M&S) clothing skunkworks backgrounds, so they know what nippy riders want and how to build it. To stay in the bike biz for 33 years is no mean feat, so they're doing something right.
From the back/sides the Windbloc T-shirt looks like any one of a hundred white slightly-meshy baselayers, now all the rage as people realise that more layers can actually mean cooler/dryer, as well as warmer. Whilst you'd think this is a New Thing that Sky discovered in their marginal gains crusade, the Norwegians have known this for decades. With their native experience of working very hard in cold weather they know a thing or ten about wicking and breathability, and the rest of the world is catching on. So around the back and arms the Lusso Windblock is so far, so normal. It's a close-ish mesh, that does the job of both trapping a layer of air against the skin when it's cool whilst allowing moisture to wick and evaporate as you or the weather hots up. It's not a tight fit, but the slightly-short elasticated arms stay put when putting on and moving about inside a jersey. Across the bottom of the front is a normal mesh panel that allows you to tuck the shirt in whilst also allowing breathability for what will be underneath a layer of bibshort.
The big story here is the front panel. It's WindTex. Or witchcraft. Probably both. The fabric slips between your fingers feeling like it's two layers, but it's only one. You can see through it to a degree, but it's completely windproof.
The sensation when riding is slightly strange at first. It's like your chest and stomach are somehow in a different climate to the rest of you - which to an extent they are.
So the Lusso Windblock T-Shirt does one thing - keeps the wind off - and does it very well indeed. Where does this make it useful? Most likely in situations where you'd normally wear a base layer, jersey and pack a gilet for that cold, fast descent. Most gilets are the same fabric all the way around so back breathability is restricted. Plus you have the bulk of the zip and any pockets, which usually adds up to a pocket-full to tout about and haul out/pack away as needed.
Opting for the Lusso Windblock T-Shirt frees up space for more kit in the pockets, but be aware that if the temperature climbs your options for getting more air on the front are limited to a roadside strip-tease. The relatively loose fit means if you unzip your jersey there's some breeze works its way down the neck, but not much. Again, when you have one job and do it very well, any attempt to bring in different objectives will usually end in tears. Or, in this case, sweat.
I found the Windblock shirt to be good for temps from 8-15*C - the sort of ride where I'd normally pack a gilet and not consider taking a proper jacket. If the sun came out and a hillclimb was encountered things could begin to get a bit warm, but not overly get-me-out-of-this-kit so. Of course there's nothing to stop you from taking a gilet as well for an extra layer of insulation, but this would seem a bit belt & braces given the Windblock does such a great job of blocking the wind.
The seams around the front panel are flatlocked but not around the shoulder and under the arm. That said, if you go for a looser fit (as is best) they weren't uncomfortable. The back is cut just long enough to be right when on the bike.
Size-wise with a 38' chest the Large was more comfortable than the Medium, which felt a bit restricted around the armpits. The Large gave an extra inch of length in the arms - in a garment like this arms are pretty superfluous but the fit was better. If you pack guns like Arnie you'll definitely need to go larger. Lusso's sizing chart says a 38' chest is borderline Small-Medium, in my opinion that's going to feel too tight for many.
A top end lightweight gilet can set you back a hundred quid or more. For £35 the Lusso Windblock T-Shirt does the same job of protecting your core from high-speed cooling, frees up a jersey pocket and gives you the white baselayer pro look.
It's ideal for going fast on cooler days. Just be aware that if it gets warm so will you, and if you need to layer up in warm weather - for example, in the event of heavy rain - your venting options will be limited.
It's ideal for going fast on cooler days. Just be aware that if it gets warm so will you
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Make and model: Lusso Wind Block T Shirt
Size tested: White
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?
It's for people who don't want to purchase or carry a gilet, for riding quickly where it's not too warm.
Windspeed T-Shirt features a WindBlock front panel keeping your core warm.
* WindBlock Front panel
* Carbon Side and base panels
* MicroFibre breathable back panel
* Long Back
* Made in UK
* Machine Washable
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WindTex front panel totally stops all wind. The rest of it's pretty standard baselayer stuff.
It's well put-together. Would be nicer if all the seams were flatlocked.
It stops the wind, dead.
After a dozen or so washes, it still looks great. No concerns
It weigh almost nothing.well, 131g to be exact, in Large.
When on, in cooler weather, it's only noticeable because of the wind it's stopping. Once it warms up or you slow down, it's noticeable because it's not letting air through. For £35, possibly saving you buying a gilet, it's good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed. It Blocks the wind.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The overall function and styling is subtle, and effective
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If anything, the arms. A tad tight.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you know what you want it for, it's a good addition to any cyclist's wardrobe.
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 71KG
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, MTB, singlespeed and Dutch bike pootling