Designed for autumn/spring, the smoothly aero Lusso Leggero Thermal Jacket adds warmth without bulk – and with careful layering, works well into winter too. It's pleasingly comfy and slippery on the bike, staying warm yet highly breathable, and is only restricted by a lack of windproofing.
- Pros: Sleek fit and great breathability
- Cons: Loses heat fast to wind, tiny reflective detail
When combined with a windproof mid-layer, the Lusso stays comfy down to 0°C or even just below. The softly fuzzy flock lining traps heat well enough that on fast, cold descents with short sleeves beneath, your elbows (hidden from the windblast) stay noticeably warmer than your forearms. Without additional windproofing, though, your chest can feel unprotected unless it's 6-7°C or more.
The speed the Leggero loses heat in the wind makes 'Thermal' seem a bit of a stretch, though to be fair it is designed for cool, not cold days. Nevertheless, over a windproof yet short-sleeved base, even a face-sawing 35mph descent through fast-falling snow didn't leave my core chilled. If you use the right layers – and carry a rain jacket, as it's not waterproof – the Leggero provides warmth for three seasons.
Its clinging, aero design means you can't add much beneath before it starts to feel bulky, and though there's nothing stopping you adding layers on top, you then lose out on its excellent breathability. The 100 per cent polyester construction wicks sweat well and never feels clammy.
There's a full-length zip (sealed behind by a flap) for venting on hotter days, but as it never topped 10°C during the test I never came close to unzipping, even on hard climbs. That it copes with both tough climbs and fast, exposed sections without the need for adjustment says a lot about how well it breathes.
It comes in five sizes, and recommended sizing is good. Its natural stretch keeps it snug all over without feeling restrictive, and there's plenty of length in the dropped tail even for those with relatively long bodies and short legs. An elasticated silicone gripper keeps the tail in place well, never riding up more than a couple of centimetres during the test. Despite not all the seams being flatlocked, they're all very comfy against bare skin or over layers.
The sleeves are a great fit no matter how long and low you stretch, plus the neat, slim cuffs slip into gloves easily. A zip garage protects your neck from rubbing, and the collar is high enough to stay warm without strangling you.
It's surprisingly heavy at 344g – surprising because Leggero means 'light' in Italian – but it feels substantial enough to cope with the odd light crash.
Three elasticated pockets and a side-opening zipped one swallow ride essentials securely.
I found the bright colours welcome for visibility, though actual reflective material is limited to a very small flap at the base of the spine, which is disappointing. There's a black option (with crimson panels) if you prefer a little more subtlety, or an eye-curdling lime and pale blue at the opposite extreme.
The white panels wash up as perfectly as the rest, resisting even the legendary staining powers of the red clay smeared over my rural roads.
At a penny below £65 the Lusso Leggero seems pretty good value as a jacket, although in some ways it's more comparable with long-sleeved thermal cycling jerseys. As David says in the guide above, "The line between lightweight jackets and long sleeve jerseys can get a little blurred". In terms of those we've tested on road.cc, the jacket it's most similar to is possibly the Assos iJ.Tiburu Evo, but that's £145.
Some of the latest jerseys feature windproofing and/or water resistance, but you do pay a bit (and sometimes quite a bit) more for them. dhb’s Blok Windproof Softshell is £70 (Jim tested the £55 non-windproof version and was impressed), while the Santini Vega offers water resistance but not windproofing and will set you back £115.
You can also spend £150+ on windproof options such as the Rapha Winter Windblock or Shimano S-Phyre Windresistant Jersey, so even factoring in extra layers leaves the Leggero competitive. And it's made in the UK.
Nicely made, warm-ish jacket for cold-ish days – add windproofing and it copes with much worse
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Leggero Thermal Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Lusso describes this as "a close-fitting aero thermal garment" that's "designed for the Autumn/Spring."
It hits the mark perfectly, and only a lack of windproofing restricts it from winter use in lower temperatures.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Anatomically shaped and officially constructed from "Thermal Italian Fabric," the Leggero is 100 per cent polyester, according to the label. It's lined with a soft flock, seams are flatlocked and the elasticated tail uses silicone for grip. There's no wind- or waterproofing, though it does provide 50+ UV ray protection. The zip is shielded by a flap inside and a neck-friendly garage at the top.
Nails the cool, dry conditions of spring and autumn, while excellent breathability means you won't melt if it gets warmer.
Strong construction feels dependable. Washes well.
Impressively unsweaty, which only helps once you crest the climbs.
Well-shaped, stretchy and pleasingly tight without being restrictive.
Pick it up and 344g is noticeably chunky for a jacket called 'Light' in Italian.
Sleek, comfy fit and a lining that's plush against the skin.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Comes up like new after a cool wash. Has resisted staining even on the pure white sections.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a sleek, warm and comfortable jacket for its intended autumn/spring use, but copes admirably with colder days when layered.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
No windproof panels.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A great stretch fit, excellent breathability and solid construction make this a warm, dependable and comfortable jersey for cool days – just what it sets out to achieve. It's not the lightest, flashiest or most stylish, yet while it's not the cheapest it's not the most expensive either... which is pretty much the Leggero in a nutshell. It doesn't excel, but it does everything very well, and in concert with other layers it's more versatile than you might think.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking