The Ashmei Men's T-shirt is a very capable baselayer or technical T-shirt for wider use, but your wallet might shudder at the mere thought of buying one...
Pros: Technical ability, wide-ranging uses, style
Cons: The cost
So what has Ashmei done to justify the £75 price tag? Well, it of course uses merino wool as its base material, but also weaves in 35 per cent carbon too (according to the website – the internal appliqué says it's polyester) for additional breathability. Supposedly, this fabric blend is about as good as it gets in terms of moisture wicking – although Ashmei doesn't quote any figures – while it also provides 50+ SPF protection too.
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Relying on my own subjective opinion – an opinion qualified by the fact that alongside cycling I also row and go to the gym regularly – I have to say that it's incredibly effective. Light to begin with at 138g in this, a medium, it never really gains any tangible weight even when working hard to shift moisture. After a dousing following a particularly grotty Wattbike session, it largely dried after around an hour of doing core exercises. Even my Nike Dri-Fit Knit T-shirts struggle to do that after the same kind of session (they retail at £59.95 normally, for reference).
It remains light and, unless truly soaking, doesn't cling, which makes it very comfortable in pretty much any environment you test it. Also, once dry again it's one of the best technical T-shirts I've ever used at resisting odour. I'd still wash it between uses to remain socially acceptable at the café, but if you went on a weekend gravel adventure with this top either as a baselayer or a second layer, you could easily stretch it for the duration.
> Buyer's Guide: The best casual kit for cycle commuting
Ashmei describes it as a looser cut ideal for lifestyle use, but it remains a relatively slim fit if you buy a size down – so if you're of an athletic build you'll fill it nicely, while thinner cyclists won't get lost in it. The crew neck has a decent amount of space as well, so it really does feel like a T-shirt you can relax in, not restrictive at all.
The seams are very high quality, as you'd expect, with no fraying after plenty of use. As importantly, the shape of the T-shirt has remained the same, and I've been washing it on 40-degree washes along with the rest of my soiled sports kit, despite the recommendations to wash it on a cool 30 cycle. There's no instruction to wash it using a 'delicate' setting, hinting further at the quality of its construction.
Finally, it's available in four standard colours (this blue, navy, black and silver) along with a special edition purple. I think it's a stylish design, with those sublimated vertical tramlines down the back, and the subtly contrasted Ashmei branding on the chest.
So, the bottom line is that Ashmei's technical T-shirt is very good indeed, and versatile too. You can use it as a relaxed baselayer, sports tee or as a stylish lifestyle T-shirt, and it works brilliantly as all three. However, no matter how well it works, it's impossible to ignore that £75 price tag. A quick look in our casual jerseys section – which includes T-shirts – shows you can get technical tees for a lot less, although you can still pay more for technical 'polo' shirts...
This technical tee is a brilliantly versatile piece, but you really have to pay for it
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Make and model: Ashmei Men's T-Shirt
Tell us what the product is for
Ashmei says: "Our regular fit classic T-shirt is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Literally – it has been expertly cut from superfine, comfortable Merino fabric and is as big on performance as it is on looks. We have been able to craft such a jersey using our wealth of fabric expertise, while cutting absolutely no corners when it comes to optimising performance.
"Lightweight, wicking and highly breathable, the T-shirt is designed as an ideal first layer on cooler outings. As you would expect from such an adept temperature-regulating fabric, it can handle insane temperature variation. Crafted from our luxurious lightweight Merino blend, the T-shirt is extremely breathable.
"What's more, the fabric's moisture control capacity excels – key for any first layer – as a result of our signature MERINO+CARBON blend. The Merino blend actively wicks moisture away from the skin to the outer layer of the fabric to keep you dry. In addition, Merino has odour reducing properties, which means you will never face the prospect of your pals complaining about your body odour in the bar."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Highly breathable, fast wicking Merino blend
- Looser lifestyle cut for everyday wear
- Crew neck, set-in sleeves, classic shoulder
- Reflective ashmei logo on front
- Tonal striped signature branding at rear
- Fast drying, easy care
- Super lightweight
- Sun protection of UPF 50+
- 65% Merino Wool, 35% Carbon [polyester]
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Typical high Ashmei quality here.
Rate the product for performance:
It's a great technical T-shirt, and performs as such.
Rate the product for durability:
Its survived thorough testing in a variety of scenarios, and returns from my 40-degree washes looking and fitting as new. The seams are slightly beefier than the normal baselayer too.
Rate the product for fit:
Its a relaxed fit, but slim enough to accommodate those with narrow builds in the right size.
Rate the product for sizing:
A medium fitted me very well, which is about right in a general-use or athletic T-shirt. Sizing is true.
Rate the product for weight:
Very light at 138g, and it stays light even when sweaty.
Rate the product for comfort:
The fabric is super-soft and the overall fit is very comfortable in all situations.
Rate the product for value:
It might be a stylish and great-performing technical T-shirt, but £75 is a huge amount of money to pay.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Really well – 40°C washes never troubled it despite the recommendations to wash it on 30°C cycles.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As well as my Nike Dri-Fit Knit tops – which is to say, brilliantly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Technical ability, wide-ranging uses, style.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, though I'd probably buy a discounted Nike Dri-Fit Kit top instead and use the rest to buy a fashion T-shirt.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For its quality, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great technical top that can triple as a relaxed baselayer or fashion T-shirt, but £75 is a pretty astronomical amount to pay and it loses a point on that.
Age: 28 Height: 188cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
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