Lusso has been knocking out cycling gear since 1982, and it's made in Manchester, Italian name notwithstanding. Here it's taken the short-sleeved baselayer that impressed Mike recently and added a windproof layer on the front of the torso. It works a treat, offering excellent moisture wicking and a useful amount of protection for fast descents.
A good baselayer wants to sit closely against the skin to maximise its ability to 'wick' – to take sweat from your skin and move it away for evaporation. Various fabrics can do this effectively, including merino wool and some synthetics, and the construction of the fabric can play as significant a role as the raw material itself.
Here Lusso uses Dryarn, made from polypropylene, which it claims is "more breathable than polyester, more insulating than wool and lighter than any other fibre" – bold claims. In use I found it did indeed perform very impressively – the Dryarn is used across the whole baselayer except for the black windproof panel on the front. Even working hard on big Pyrenean climbs I found not a hint of moisture build-up in the usual sweat-trap areas.
Its neatest trick, though, is when you turn around to go back down the mountain – usually time to don the gilet to fend off the high-speed chills. I found that there were often occasions where I could do without a gilet, thanks to the wind protection on the front panel of this base. This wasn't always the case, not least if mist or drizzle came into play – there's no protection from water here – but the extra comfort it offers descending on a dry day is really quite something.
Lusso isn't the first to include wind blocking into a baselayer – see here – and one of the big challenges in doing so is to avoid seriously compromising the primary function of a baselayer, namely the movement of sweat away from the skin. The Polartec Windbloc fabric used here does an excellent job at managing the balance between movement of air and moisture even when you're working hard on a climb. On a really hot day it probably wouldn't be my first choice, but for the rest of the time it does an excellent job.
Downsides? Not many, to be honest. On some of my jerseys, I found the ends of the baselayer sleeves would work their way down and out under those of the jersey, which wasn't a great look. Mike, by contrast, liked the sleeve length when reviewing the non-Windbloc version, feeling that it helped avoid jersey-armwarmer gaps.
Overall though, this is an excellent baselayer. The comfort and wicking performance is on a par with the best that I've tried from the likes of Craft, and the Windbloc layer is a real benefit when the temperature is a little bit lower or you're going really fast. Pricing at £35 makes it reasonable value when measured against other summer baselayers without windblocking, many of which are around the same mark.
Ultra-comfortable baselayer with wind protection – great for riding up and down mountains or cool mornings
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso WindBloc S/S 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: "This Short Sleeve Wind Bloc Base layer features a Wind Bloc front panel keeping your core warm, but keeping maximum breathability so there is no overheating.
"Great for Early morning training/racing. it can be used all year round under both long and Short sleeve Jerseys."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* WindBlock Front panel
* polypropylene Fabric
* MicroFibre breathable back panel
* Long Back
. Light & Soft
* Made in UK
* Machine Washable
Excellent; very comfortable fabrics and flatlock seams.
A really impressive performance – combining wind-blocking on the front with exceptional comfort and wicking.
A little prone to snagging, not unlike quite a lot of baselayers, but this isn't a major aesthetic problem. Lusso decals started peeling after two washes – not a major issue either but other brands have solved this.
Hangs a little loose around the pecs but otherwise torso fit is decent. I found the sleeve length was a bit too long – protruding below the sleeve openings of some of my jerseys.
I'm a medium per Lusso's chart and this felt about right. If I wanted something really figure hugging I could have probably gone down to a S.
I found this really comfortable, keeping me dry on hot days. The Wind Bloc panel is very effective, offering protection on colder descents without becoming a sweat trap.
Some might baulk at £35 for a baselayer but the addition of the windproof panel offers benefits – I found that it would do the job of a gilet if it wasn't too cold (or wet, obviously).
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed – a good choice for going up and down mountains.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The overall comfort is really good and I was particularly impressed at the Wind Bloc layer's ability to provide a measure of protection without overly compromising wicking performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I think the sleeves should be shorter.
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
A near-perfect garment; I'd just like shorter sleeves and perhaps a slightly tighter fit around the chest.
About the tester
I usually ride: On-one Bish Bash Bosh My best bike is: Rose X-Lite CRS
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.