The Lusso Belgian Hat is ideal for riding in wintry weather (even in spring) especially when things are really extreme: the colder and wetter, the better it performs.
- Pros: Very warm, great coverage
- Cons: Not that breathable, you'll need plenty of helmet space
The Belgian cap design is a tried and tested one so you'll find most manufacturers have one in their range, but the Lusso is definitely one of the better ones that I've used.
Riding in temperatures as low as -7°C during the recent snowy weather, the Lusso has been my go-to piece of headwear. It is just so warm and the soft material gives you a really cosy, snug feeling.
I'd say the top end temperature you'd want to be wearing this hat in would be around 5-6°C – any higher and your head can start to get a little clammy and the Lusso isn't massively breathable, especially if your effort level is high. For a short commute on cold mornings it could be just what you need.
It feels completely windproof, and being part of Lusso's Repel range, rain water beads off as you are riding. I've washed the hat a couple of times over the test period and the water repellent coating is still doing the business.
The main section of the hat is made up of four segments which all meet at the top centre and these give a great fit as the cap stretches evenly all around your head. There is plenty of give in the fabric too, so you can get a nice close fit without it being restrictive in any way.
The bottom section of the cap covers the ears easily and it also doesn't ride up and reveal your lobes to the elements as you go about your training – like some I've worn.
The peak sits almost vertical when the cap is on, and does a really great job of keeping rain, snow, grit and so on out of your eyes, but it does take a little bit of getting used to if you've been wearing a hat with a more horizontal peak. It can feel like it is obstructing your field of vision a bit and you have to move your head a lot more when negotiating busy junctions or roundabouts. You soon adapt, though.
This Belgian cap can be worn on its own or it'll fit under a helmet without obstructing straps or buckles. All you need to do is adjust the cradle to accommodate the cap. It's quite thick, though, so you'll need a decent amount of adjustment available and if you are right at the top end of your helmet's sizing you might struggle.
When it comes to value, the Lusso is well priced against the competition – especially when you take quality and performance into account.
We haven't actually tested any caps of this style for a good two or three years, hats like the Prendas Sublimated Pro Winter hat or the Pactimo Alpine Thermal Cap. Both were similarly priced to the Lusso, and a look around various internet stores sees prices range between £20 and £30 for this style of hat.
Overall, I think the Lusso Belgian hat is great despite a few little niggles, and definitely worth the investment if you ride or commute no matter what the weather.
Excellent Belgian hat for keeping the weather off your bonce
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Repel Belgium Hat
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says, "The Belgium Hat has a peak which is handy to keep the elements at bay, can be used as a Hat or underneath your helmet."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Traditional Belgium Hat
* Repel Roubaix fabric
* Water repellent
* Reflective Lusso logos
There is no sizing guide for headwear on Lusso's site but the medium we have here fitted absolutely fine.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
There are no washing instructions on the hat but a 30 degree machine wash worked fine in keeping the hat clean.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great for keeping out the cold and wet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How warm it keeps your head.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Peak can be a little obtrusive until you get used to it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you spend a lot of time outside cycling in the toughest conditions then the Lusso hat is perfect for the job. Great at insulating your head against the rain and cold wind plus it's well made and all for a very sensible price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.